My research specifically involves multimedia technologies, especially shared video, as tools for the enhancement of teaching and learning in STEM fields.
Typical projects involve giving students (in Calculus 1 and 2 courses) the opportunity to make up for points lost on quiz/test questions by having them create YouTube videos of themselves completing similar problems and ‘teaching’ the underlying topics. To analyze the effects of the videos, we would look at how the students performed on the same concepts when tested on them during the Final exam. That is, the scores of students who ‘failed’ at various concepts during the term but submitted an appropriate video would be compared with scores of those who failed but did not submit a video.
In addition to the audio/visual content produced, students would be encouraged to make the video segments ‘information dense’ using some of the features currently available. For instance, step-by-step problem instructions could be displayed at the bottom of the screen, using YouTube’s annotation feature, and viewers would be able to leave their questions in the comments area as well as within the video itself, thereby encouraging updates to the annotation and/or further videos.
The videos themselves, once determined to be acceptable, would be maintained on a website for use by future students. This will allow us to capture further data concerning those students who watch the videos and the corresponding benefits, if any. The main motivations for this study are the assumptions that having to ‘teach’ the material encourages/requires a much deeper understanding and also that there is educative value to be gained by the peer perspective with respect to teaching and learning in STEM fields.
Expanding on these topics, further research involves teacher-developed videos, and I’ve been working with Dr. Damon Williams at CETL on several workshops and with his Summer Learning Community (http://www.cetl.gatech.edu/events/event.php?id=6568). Planned research also involves online tutoring systems (including video-chat, wimba tools, etc.).
Benefits of the [interactive video] research would include:
1. Diverse perspective: Peer-developed videos allow students to approach the material from different avenues. Having a concept explained by the professor is one thing, but having it dissected and explained by someone who just learned it could be quite powerful, I would suggest.
2. Depth of review: Students viewing both instructor and peer-led videos will be able to rewind, pause, and skip-through the videos as they seek out the most salient points and those which caused them the most confusion.
3. Interactivity: Students will see each others questions and comments. This will also result in the placement of updated annotations throughout the video, allowing it to ‘grow’ with each piece of feedback received.
4. Availability: The videos will be available 24/7, unlike most other academic support resources.
5. Variable Formats: It is interesting to note some students state they ‘learn’ better when they can see the ‘teacher’s’ face. Some presenters, however, may be hesitant to have their face published on the internet, and would prefer to ‘pen-cast’ their presentation of the material. Diverse teaching/learning styles also play a large role. The varying format allows for beneficial flexibility.
6. Breadth of subjects: I’m focusing on Math and Computer Science now, but am currently communicating with several departments at Tech. The ideas here would be relevant to all STEM fields.
7. Privacy/Data Tracking: Videos would be coded as private and only be viewable after authentication. This will allow us to better track the data corresponding to who is watching the videos, so as to determine the impact on different populations.
8. Legacy: As we continue to suggest and require the videos, the corresponding Video Library will become more diverse in its subjects, formats, and presenters. Since the concepts are not substantially changing, students taking Math Math 1501 in Fall 2013 could conceivably benefit from videos made in 2010.
9. Assessment: The videos could be used as tools for assessment for the tutor, teaching assistant and other student assistant positions on campus. For example, a portion of the interview process could involve the submission of some videos showing the person explaining some complex concept to an imaginary ‘tutee.’ Using the videos instead of personal meetings allows assessors much more flexibility, as they correspond with larger numbers of and more geographically diverse groups.
There are also benefits specific to my role as Academic Support Manager at OMED, as I to focus on methods of engagement of and providing academic support for under-represented populations in STEM:
10. Identity impact: There are a growing number of YouTube videos available covering various Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts, but the presenters are mostly white males. Diversity could be very beneficial here. It is beneficial for Black male students, for example, to see Black males handling high-level concepts in a different courses.
11. Active Learning: The process of creating the videos (and, thereby ‘teaching’ the material) allows the students a deeper interaction with the concepts involved. With respect to our target populations, this can be used both to promote and socially reward those members of the community who have a particular proficiency and to identify areas where academic support is most
12. As has been noted for years (http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/prensky%20-%20digital%20natives,%20digital%20immigrants %20-%20part1.pdf) the extent to which young people (students in particular) are being raised as natural consumers of digital information is constantly increasing. The recent trends show that African-Americans and Latinos are the main users of social networking sites (http://pewinternet.org/Media-Mentions/2011/For-minorities-new-digital-divide-seen.aspx http://pewinternet.org/%20Reports/2011/Twitter-Update-2011.aspx). This research looks into ways we can continue to engage the populations in ways that are relevant to how they live and learn today.
CCDC Feedback is appreciated! I think this should fall within the realm of Creativity… what do you think?