This blog post and associated video presentation explores and evidences the use of teaching videos creatively yet consistently across a large Faculty in a post 92 Institution to both enhance the student experience and help improve educational outcomes. Our project is centred on a major initiative in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University running since 2017, which has led to the creation of over 2000 videos and screencasts to support students across the full range of STEM disciplines. Student feedback on the videos via comments to staff, or through NSS, and internal surveys has been consistently positive. Students say that they like the videos as they enable them to better prepare for examinations, clarify coursework requirements and familiarise themselves more quickly with “hard to understand” or threshold concepts.
Click here and the mp4 version of the presentation will download
There is an emerging consensus across the Faculty that the widespread provision of videos has made a significant contribution to recent improvements in student performance and in retention across all levels of UG study. What is innovative about this work is that we do not rely on anecdotal evidence of the impact of teaching videos on student performance, but that we have been able to measure it in a quantitative study of 1248 first year and second year undergraduates out of a Faculty of 6000 students. Whilst controlling for demographic factors, entry qualifications and level of engagement with the institutional Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), regression analysis revealed that viewing more videos positively correlated with final unit mark. Although effect size was small, video view was the only significant contributor to improved unit performance besides entry qualification and ethnicity. When repeating the analysis to measure the probability of passing the unit, getting a 2:1 or getting a 1st, videos significantly improved the chance of getting a 2:1 or a First, but did not predict pass rates significantly. These are important findings, given the importance of retention, transition and good honours outcomes to the landscape of HE today.
The what and why of video support for Teaching and Learning
Short videos/screencasts (aim for 5 minutes max) are really helpful for students and staff alike in terms of raising teaching quality, reducing staff workload (as all students have access to your one best explanation), and students really like them.
They don’t need to be professionally produced or edited or take a long time to make – especially if you use pre-prepared powerpoints/pdfs/images rather than writing or drawing live. And ask for help from your Faculty TELA to get you started
The types of topics that are particularly suitable for video are
Exam paper explanations
Resit paper explanations
Coursework guidance and tips
All class coursework feedback
Solutions to tutorial problems
Core concept videos (short explanations of the key concepts that students must grasp to succeed on your unit)
At The University of Manchester there are main ways of doing this: TechSmith Relay, Camtasia and Explain Everything. Each of these is a pretty straight forward and, more importantly, a low budget way of producing short video explainers, tutorial solutions and explanations of core concepts. If more funds are available, the University’s media services team can produce some very professional looking short videos – see here and here for examples of what they can do. Continue reading Resources and tools for producing video for T&L→
My colleague Dr Susie Riley at The University of Manchester has deepened students’ understanding of some of the core concepts within aerospace engineering by getting 1st year students to produce short videos of the four main forces that act on an aircraft – lift, thrust, drag and gravity- and how they interact to get and keep an aricraft airborne. The results are impressive, especially when some of the students hadn’t heard of elevators before the course.
Another colleague Dr Martin Gillie (@martin_gillie) teaching Structures to 1st year civil engineering students at The University of Manchester was pleased to receive this particularly creative coursework submission .
It came in response to a coursework brief that asked students to ” identify study and research the behaviour and design of an existing structure. Present your findings on a maximum of two sides of A4 or equivalent (e.g. 1 side of A3, or a short video or any other means of communication)…”
Such student generated content can be a powerful tool for learning, and the content created can be reused or repurposed for future cohorts.
Additional Material posted 3rd April 2017
Dr Keith Brown at The University of Bath posted these instructions on a quick and simple method of generating short videos armed with nothing more than powerpoint, a storyboard, a USB microphone and a mobile phone camera. Its well worth a read and I will definitely be doing a bit of experimenting with this over the summer. My thanks go to Keith (@KeithBrownBath) for allowing me to share his work.
Further to my earlier study of students’ use of rich media materials , I have recently been collaborating with my colleagues Martin Gillie and Andy Gibson on a project which looks at how students use a variety of “rich-media”, such as key-concept videos and tutorial solution videos. Our aim was to investigate how students on first year technical courses used media-rich material and the findings were fascinating. You can read a summarised version here on Martin Gillie’s blog.
Dr Fiona Saunders: Project Management Academic and Educator