So for my FEP (Faculty Evaluation Plan) this year, I decided to work on improving instruction in my online courses. It seemed appropriate and easy to measure, so I went for it. You can learn more about the FEP in future posts, as it is due June 30th, and I’ll be posting it all here. For now, I just want to jump to the end and talk briefly about the results.
The plan involves creating more podcasts (video and audio) and screencasts to provide additional instruction for students in the online course. I had a few of each in the past, but I didn’t have something for every assignment. This semester I committed to at least one visual/audio aide per lesson and a weekly podcast. I wanted to see if students found them helpful to their success in the class. The screencasts usually walk students through the process of doing the week’s assignment. An example of this is when students are assigned to search the databases in the library for periodical articles, I created a screencast that shows them how to access the databases, log in from home and search successfully using the advanced search tool. Other instructional videos included how to write opposing views and counter arguments and other such skills needed to write an argumentative essay.
The weekly podcasts were weekly updates and guidance announcements that let students know where they should be in the process, as well as updates about upcoming assignments and due dates. Here is an example of a weekly podcast from my ENG102 online class.
Students were exposed to these podcasts and screencasts all semester long, so at the end of the class I surveyed them to see how useful they found them to be. The results were not surprising, as you can see below.When asked if the weekly podcasts in the course were helpful, 56% strongly agree and 37% agree that they were helpful. Only 6% responded that they neither agreed or disagreed with that statement. When asked if the screencasts in the course were helpful, 62% said they strongly agreed and 18% agreed that the screencasts were helpful. Six percent didn’t feel the need to watch them and 12% neither agreed or disagreed that they were helpful.
Nintey-three percent also stated that they preferred Canvas over Blackboard.
I was fascinated with Utterli the moment I saw it. I just thought it was coolest thing to be able to send text, pictures, audio and video from your cellphone to a blog on the web. It’s a true example of mobile blogging. But what was most exciting to me was the way it lets people add multi-media to blog posts and invites a conversation or discussion around it. I have many ideas for how I want to use this in my classes, but for now I’m using it as a way to leave some valuable tips for students to help them be successful in my classes.