Video and Classroom Activities Makes the Learning in Blended Classes Stick
Kate Bradford, an assistant professor in Criminal Justice at Indian River State College has come to rely heavily on Echo360 for the 7-8 classes she teaches each semester. For her online classes, Bradford creates video content in Echo360 to develop a deeper connection with her students.
In her on-campus classes, Bradford uses a blended approach, which combines online and face-to-face learning. She creates video or other presentations that her students view prior to class. Once in class, she uses Echo360’s student engagement features, to create questions and activities where students work in groups to apply what they have learned.
In both her online and traditional classes, Bradford creates short videos using Echo360 Universal Capture. Bradford says that watching video comes naturally to her students and she believes video is more effective than reading assignments alone.
Video Helps Students Come to Class Prepared
“In one class, I noticed from the conversation on one of our discussion boards that students seemed to miss some of the key points,” says Bradford. “Instead of writing out a response, I created a short, 5-minute video. Students watched the video and I feel it was a more effective way of communicating with them.”
Bradford also believes that video helps students better prepare for class. Many of her students work full-time and balancing work-school-life can be challenging.
“For blended or hybrid classes to be successful, students need to complete their assignments and come to class ready to work. For a lot of our students that can be challenging since they have many demands on their lives. But video is easy for them to digest. They can watch a video assignment from anywhere and they are more likely to be ready to apply what they have learned in class, answering questions and participating in group work,” says Bradford.
Encouraging Students to Participate
According to Bradford, the activities she creates also encourages students to attend class regularly, despite having video lectures and presentations available to them. To help with this, she assigns credit for students who come to class and participate.
“Having videos available on Echo360 has not affected my classroom attendance,” says Bradford. “We do a lot of active learning in class. If you’re in class and do those activities, you’ll receive credit. Even when students miss a class, they will watch the video and then ask me if they can participate in an activity. So, if they turn in a response, I will definitely accept it. That is after all, the whole point. I want students to dig into the material and apply what they are learning,” says Bradford.
Activities in Class Promote Deeper Learning
Students do not sit passively in Bradford’s classes. Since students receive credit for participation, they are expected to respond to questions individually and participate in group work.
During class, Bradford uses Echo360 engagement tools to scaffold questions in order to promote deeper learning and understanding. Simple polling questions allow her to quickly assess student understanding and stimulate additional classroom discussion.
“The engagement tools in Echo360 let me display responses from students,” says Bradford. “It’s especially helpful when there is a wide range of responses. First, that helps me to clear up any misunderstanding. Second, it gives us the opportunity to discuss the nuances of the law and why one student answered one way and second answered the question differently.”
Other questions require that students use that information to solve problems, which are done as group assignments.
“I set up tables in class where four students work together in a group,” says Bradford. “I will pose a specific scenario and the group has to work together, discuss the scenario among themselves, and come up with an answer. For example, in our Criminal Law class, they may have to determine whether the scenario is a case of kidnapping or false imprisonment. The law is clear, and students have to work through the scenario to determine the correct answer. The groups present their answer to the class and the ensuing discussion helps solidify the learning and understanding.”
Creating Opportunities for Student Success
Bradford says the combination of video and classroom activities creates an environment for student success.
“Having the video is very important. I’ve been able to say to students, ‘make sure you go back and watch these videos before the next test,’” she says. “Combined with the classroom activities, I feel that the students have the opportunity and resources they need to be successful. The rest is up to them, of course. But at least we’ve given them a good chance.”
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