“Online live lecture watch parties are amazing because it feels a lot more engaging than just having to watch the already recorded lecture alone.” (Student) 

In 2020, Senior Psychology Lecturer, Emily Nordmann and her colleagues were trying to  address a new challenge; supporting first and second year students who had opted for a traditional on-campus university experience who suddenly found themselves learning in lockdown. These students wanted a face-to-face lecture that offered similar benefits to being on-campus and were hoping for the engagement and sense of belonging that comes with peer interaction.

Nordmann also found that, especially among first year students, being launched into the independence and self-efficacy expectations of university education without the safety net of scheduled classes and lecturer guidance, was putting some students at risk.

Their Safety Net for Students? Watch Parties!

During the Covid19 lockdown, friends and families got together in groups as large as 100 to synchronously watch movies and chat online via popular streaming services. These are called Watch Parties. At first, the team at the University of Glasgow decided to offer remote social activities to bring students together. This involved watching psychology-related movies and using the chat box to communicate their thoughts with each other.

From the success of these activities, a decision was made to run classes as Watch Party Lectures to offer students the content and community they required. This would offer both a solution and an opportunity.

While they wanted to bring students together for classes, lecturers were also concerned about maintaining technology connections for 600 students in one hour live lectures, and so the psychology team pre-recorded their lectures, broke them into 15-minute segments and invited students to watch them with the lecturer in a regular class timeslot. By offering pre-recordings, students could also download them beforehand if necessary.

Lectures were scheduled as usual for one hour where the lecturers played the videos interspersed with quizzes and discussion. As students watch the recorded lecture segments, they use the integrated chat box to comment and ask questions.

By watching with the students, the lecturers found they had also created a great opportunity for themselves. They were getting a front row seat to the students’ reactions to their lectures through the live discussion threads and they had the time and cognitive space to interact with students, respond to comments and answer questions in a way that is impossible when actively lecturing.

One of the most challenging aspects of Covid19 lockdowns was connecting with students to ensure they get the teaching experience they needed. Anywhere, anytime education includes the choice for synchronous interaction with a lecturer. By using a Watch Party format, the lecturers at the University of Glasgow’s School of Psychology and Neuroscience were able to blend synchronous and asynchronous instruction in a way that kept the students at the centre of their teaching.

Keep an eye out for a paper by Emily Nordmann and Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel accepted for the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education about their experience with Watch Party Lectures.

From campus video management, lecture capture, online and hybrid learning, and more, contact us to discover how Echo360 can help transform the teaching and learning experience at your institution.

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