Video Lectures in Courses

When I was teaching at NAU in an online graduate degree program, I found that short video lectures for my courses helped students engage with the material. As an instructor of introductory theory courses (aka too much reading, too much new information, too valuable to the entire degree, too many brand new students) I found these videos became longer, and also provided ways for students to determine how to read for graduate school (specifically how to read for a rhetoric program). Creating videos can be time consuming, so I was slow to develop these videos, then ended up developing videos for specific semesters.

Today I read a blog on 6 ways to develop videos for longevity (found here at Faculty Focus). I appreciate that the author mentioned having made these mistakes previously as I’ve made them numerous times!!!  I list due dates in videos, I refer to other videos, I refer to pop culture. Oh my…..If you’re interested in my mistakes you can find them here.

As I work through finalizing my Spring 2017 curriculum I’m teaching a hybrid composition course and I’m continuing to focus class time on a flipped classroom approach – no lectures more hands on group assignments. But, I want to fulfill the expectations of students and departments for an advanced composition course – what non-compositionists call ‘grammar’. After spending a week at Camp IDEA (the Center for Academic Excellence week long technology and pedagogy ‘camp’), I’m finding that the video approaches matter – but integration into the course shell is so much more important.

In my new curriculum I’m trying out mini-lessons. These approaches to learning are common in most courses – let’s quickly review X before we move on to Y is a great example in a f2f course. Here are the questions I’m working through:

  • Why should a student watch the video?
  • What should a student do with the information?
  • How should a student integrate these ideas into your course?
  • How do these ideas relate to your course goals, activities, assignments?

As I work through these questions I’m looking for ways to integrate these ideas and make the material meaningful to the course (without lecturing!). My goal is to highlight composition concepts with importance to disciplinary writing, AND relevance within the course (not just points and quizzes). I’ve scheduled the mini-lessons based on their relevance to larger course projects to scaffold relevance.

So, after reading the what not to do in videos (again, really important) I’m also tying those ideas into how to integrate these videos so the students find them meaningful and learn more! It can’t be just about using good video, good video practices, I also want to focus on where the video lives in the course map so I can try to understand how and when students learn. When disciplinary faculty ask “what exactly do you teach because my students can’t write” I want to have better answers!

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