Once again, it’s time to review student feedback, and student still indicate a desire (not huge, but present) to have a formal lecture. It’s an interesting dilemma to consider as a course developer – students appear to want what they do not then appear to use.
We have moved away from formal one/two hour lectures for a range of reasons. These include:
- research continues to indicate long class-based lectures are less effective ways to teach concepts, and they are very ‘teacher-centric’;
- on-campus students don’t turn up, so you can be teaching for an hour to a couple of students if class numbers aren’t huge;
- recording of long lectures for distance students takes up bandwidth and includes lead-in issues with technology;
- recording of long lectures creates a ‘dip in and out’ mentality for on-campus students who don’t come to class but then don’t fully engage as a distance student and don’t read associated resources (effectively only getting part of ‘the story’); and
- general technology issues, such as sound and vision quality associated with recording a class-based lecture.
Our university has developed a wonderful analytic system that allows us to view the popularity of resources. In my recent class (Term 2, 2014) of 188 media writing students, 73 of whom studied online, the statistics speak for themselves.
During term I held six online lecture sessions (one per fortnight) whereby students could log in online. Each lecture focused on core concepts covered during the course of the fortnight, with attention to what we were looking for in assessment. Numbers included:
- Session 1 (Week 2) – seven attended, 75 viewed
- Session 2 (Week 4) – five attended, 46 viewed
- Session 3 (Week 6) – six attended, 50 viewed
- Session 4 (Week 8) – four attended, 18 viewed
- Session 5 (Week 10) – two attended, 11 viewed
- Session 6 (Week 12) – one attended, 10 viewed
In addition to these video lectures, there were nine video-based sessions throughout the course. Two of these were associated with orientation, and four with assessment. Three were related to course content, response to one of of which was assessed. Details are below:
|Intro||About Kate||57||Intro to the Course Coordinator|
|Into||How to search the forum||10|
|Assessment||Overview of Assessment 1 – Criteria||267||Guidance to Assessment 1|
|Overview of Assessment 2 – Criteria||159||Guidance to Assessment 2|
|Overview of Assessment 3 – Criteria||139||Guidance to Assessment 3|
|Assessment Resources||An example of how to use Storify||19|
|Week 4||Why you need a plan||158||Overview of plan. [Students required to summarise for assessment]|
|Video – Miliband Loop||51|
|Video Lecture – Miliband Loop||42||CC summary of the Miliband Loop video|
Course content is supplemented with the use of PDF files, weblinks, and storify collations.
As expected, there is a clear alignment of access to supplementary materials with assessment. In contrast, PDF files that provided core context throughout term were accessed consistently. For example, Week 1 Study Guide Lesson (448 clicks), Week 2 Study Guide Lesson (338 clicks), down to Week 12 Study Guide Lesson (71 clicks – the lowest).
It was therefore interesting to read Ljubojevic et. al’s research into using supplementary video material in teaching (2014). Their research examined the use of supplementary videos within lectures and involved testing acquired knowledge and quality of experience with supplementary videos. Some key points of their research included:
- Continual presence of lecture content (ie. long lecture with no video inserts) resulted in the least number of correct answers;
- Inserting video resulted in a higher number of correct answers regardless of the position or context of supplementary videos; and
- Memory and better understanding in the learning process may be increased by inserting video clips throughout the learning journey;
- The biggest influence on efficiency of learning is a method based on inserting videos in the middle of the lecture presentation;
- The attention of participants was maintained at the highest level during the session with the use of educational supplementary videos, especially if they were inserted in the
middle of the presentation.
- Better efficiency is achieved if educational content congruent with the lecture was displayed;
- Entertainment videos aren’t as efficient, but can be used to engage and motivate student learning.
There are no surprises here.
What’s important to consider, however, is how to convert these to distance education-based practice.
Inserting videos while already ‘online’ for a video lecture is a challenge for both instructors and in Australia, marred by poor-bandwidth as a general concern. Finding critical points to insert video, and then articulate their relevance in learning to students as part of course design is the key.
It can be very time consuming and demanding to prepare and deliver online lectures to a small group of students, especially when you accept that they don’t pre-prepare for class, and generally are attending as passive recipients of ‘how-to’ information. My course design drives student action through assessment, so I’ve actually learned to accept a more passive approach to lecture attendance rather than fight it. My days of spending hours preparing for an interactive and interesting lecture and then having to re-think when only a couple of students turn up are long gone. My video lectures focus on practical problems with walk-throughs of how to do/think/approach something.
My reflection based on this past term is to reduce the number of video lectures, and think about how to create shorter concept-based videos for students. I will perhaps hold two to three longer lectures that pull together ideas or simply allow students to generate questions and topics based around assessment.
Ljubojevic, M., Vaskovic, V., Stankovic, S., & Vaskovic, J. (2014). Using Supplementary Video in Multimedia Instruction as a Teaching Tool to Increase Efficiency of Learning and Quality of Experience. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(3).