As the use of technology grows, meeting your students’ learning needs becomes more feasible. This month, we’re shining a spotlight on instructors Shaun Sarcona (MACA), Sam Sarkissian (BIOL), and Mark Champagne (CHEM) who create videos and post them online for their students. Although the three instructors represent different concentrations in the college, their stories all followed similar narratives.
1) “I began recording videos…due to the demand and the nature of the [course] material.” (Shaun Sarcona)
College courses are not meant to be completely comprehended within a 90 minute lecture. Students are expected to pour over their textbook and notes afterwards in order to gain a better understanding of the lesson. Video provides students with the opportunity to review a lecture and revisit concepts they may have missed during class.
- Professor Sarcona offered to film a short video answering this question. Click on the image below to view his response:
- Professor Sarkissian recognized that not enough time was offered for his students to fully study and comprehend their BIOL-2710 (Anatomy and Physiology) lab objectives, and thought that adding video might extend the classroom.
- Professor Champagne discovered that his hybrid chemistry courses needed more than lecture notes in order for his students to fully comprehend the material. Video helped fill this need.
As vital as video lectures can be for students, it sounds like it requires a lot of extra work for the instructor, right? Well…
2) “It didn’t take as much time as I thought it would.” (Sam Sarkissian)
According to these instructors, filming, editing, and uploading videos is not the time-consuming task it sounds like it is. Essentially, it became just another part of preparing for a course.
- In the past, Professor Sarcona spent several hours developing PDF guides for each MACA assignment, updating them alongside the technology. He tried guiding students in person during lectures. “In the end,” he recalled, “recording videos was the best alternative to traditional learning methods.”
- Using props from his Anatomy lab room, Professor Sarkissian was able to film reviews for each subject and recycle them for his future classes. He summed up his decision concisely, and said, “It was definitely worth it both for me and my students.”
- Professor Champagne minimized unnecessary work by rehearsing his video lectures before hitting the record button and completing the video in one complete shot, eliminating the editing process. He also kept the content below 10-15 minutes. “The big thing I’ve found is not to worry about being perfect. As long as I correct the mistakes, the students are fine. ”
Delivering useful content is the key, perhaps proving…
3) “The videos don’t have to be fancy or complex.” (Mark Champagne)
Although the technology is readily available, editing and stylizing your video does not necessarily enhance the student’s experience.
- Mark Champagne explained the feedback he’s received on his videos: “I’m complimented on the quality of the videos by my students every semester, but not because the videos are well done from a technical point of view – I know I make many technical errors; things that a professional video editor would cringe at – but because when my students watch my videos I [solve] every problem thoroughly and explain everything to the best of my ability. That’s all they want or need.”
Providing supplemental and alternative access to content seems to align with their students’ interests, because…
4) “[The students] value the videos as an indispensable learning tool.” (Sam Sarkissian)
Effective supplemental videos give students control over the lecture.
- Professor Sarcona describes his student audience as eclectic; some move quickly through the lectures while others take more time. “By having the videos, the students can work at their own pace while working towards the same goals.”
- Other students need watch a concept multiple times before they understand it – something that can’t be replicated in the classroom. “Students have told me,” said Professor Champagne, “that they’ve re-watched certain problems in the videos seven or eight times before they got it. But they got it!” Not only that, but if students have questions, they can refer to specific timestamps in the videos.
If you’re interested in creating videos for your classes and would like help getting started, contact the CTL!