Using Video in learning and teaching – 2. Educational Contexts

Considering these different affordances of video, it is possible to look at educational contexts in which these can be used.

Providing resources to aid transition to University, and more general study skills
A host of non subject-specific guides to help students in their orientation to University life can be provided, and these might include a number of the different approaches outlined above. In our first example, Discover Study Skills Online, recent graduate Kieren Bentley guides prospective and new students through some basic orientation, to teach them how learning at University may differ. This example is broken down into discrete units, and supporting worksheets are made available to the viewer.

Discover Study Skills online

Providing an introduction to a module.
A number of the above techniques could be combined to provide an introduction to a module. This might typically provide the viewer with a summary of the key learning outcomes as well as other important information. This is a scenario in which the module leader might want to address the viewers directly as presenter, so as to make a personal connection with them. In this example, Professor Tim Birkhead provides and overview of a module studying animal behaviour in Animal and Plant sciences. In this module, as well as providing this introduction, there are also a series of podcasts provided to brief the students prior to each lecture, made available via MOLE.

Preparing for specific classes in a module.
Again a number of the above techniques can be used to do this. A specific type of this approach is used in flipped learning. In flipped learning, specific resources are provided for the students to engage with before the class. This then has the potential to use the time spent in class for working on specific problems and exploring topics in more depth, rather than providing basic instruction. In this example, Dr Anthony Rossiter has created over 250 screencasts for his students to use before their lectures. These are created very simply, by recording Powerpoint presentations that Anthony then annotates as he is explaining the solution to a wide range of engineering maths, using freely available software and a sympodium monitor. Anthony’s extensive collection of resources are freely available on his YouTube channel, and the University’s iTunes U site

For more information on creating flipped learning resources, see this guide, produced by colleagues from the Technology Enhanced Learning Team, Online Learning Team, and Krirsten Bartlett from Psychology.

Explaining difficult concepts using animations

There are many cases in which we teach complex concepts which our students may find difficult. This might be because the concepts are abstract, or because we are looking at underlying data that is complex. In this example, animations are used to explain some of the abstract “Zeno’s Paradoxes”, along with explanations from Angie Hobbs, our very own Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy.

Preparing students for laboratory or practical classes and field trips.

Laboratory classes, field trip and other forms of practical work can bring tremendous value to the learning experience, and provide real world practical skills that students may need to work in professional life after graduation. Often there may be a need for students to learn some basic practical skills to facilitate this learning. Instructional videos can be used to great effect, to prepare students by practically demonstrating how key procedures and techniques should be performed. In the case of computer based techniques, these can also be easily produced by creating screencasts. In the iDig example below, archaeology students are taught key practical techniques employed during archaeological excavations. These videos can be downloaded by the students and taken into the field with them, so the resources are available to them at the time and place when they most need them.
iDig – Mobile Field Training for Archaeologists

In this example, engineering students are provided with vital health and safety orientation prior to  their project work work in the workshops in the Diamond.

Essential Training for Engineering Students in the Diamond

Using video to trigger discussion or other activities.

By bringing alternative perspectives into the classroom using video, a wide range of discussion, reflection and other activities can be prompted. Equally, different scenarios could be presented, and students invited to evaluate these. This example could be used to trigger a discussion around a range of topics relating to this most important of contemporary humanitarian issues:

The Refugee Crisis – why should we help?

Increasing the reach of public engagement events.

Engaging wider audiences with our work is a very important component of academic life, and core to our mission here at Sheffield.  At Sheffield there are many opportunities to engage the public and present your subjects to them in innovative ways, supported by our Public Engagement and Impact  team. In this example, The Sounds of the Cosmos,  our  headline event from the 2014  Festival of the Mind 2014, was captured and made available via iTunes U, in which it became an item of featured content by Apple, attracting over 60,000 visitors world wide.

The Sounds of the Cosmos

Solar System example

Excellence in learning and teaching case studies

Documenting and sharing excellence in learning and teaching is fundamental pillar of our learning and teaching strategy. Video can provide a rich and diverse narrative via which we can convey what we believe to be excellence in teaching. These case studies, which are normally documentary in nature, focus on why we believe our learning and teaching is innovative, and feature interviews with staff and students about their experiences, along with footage of learning and teaching taking place. The sorts of examples chosen normally demonstrate where innovative practice takes place beyond a conventional classroom setting, or where there has been some other unique form of teaching and or assessment. In this example, students of Politics study the workings of Parliament, have guest lectures from visitors such as John Bercow and david Blunkett, and get to to directly contribute to parliamentary processes by writing evidence for select committees.

Parliamentary Studies

Student generated Media for assessment
Getting students to create their own videos as part of their assessments is probably the single largest development we have seen in the use of educational video in the last 10 years. Rather than just being passive consumers of content, students can become active creators of video, and in doing so, become active creators of their own knowledge. Students can receive training by the Creative Media Team, in all aspects of video production. In producing videos, students can typically

  • Develop new digital literacy skills
  • Gain new understandings of their subjects by having to articulate their knowledge in new ways, using new technologies
  • Employ the power of their own creativity to pursue subjects further
  • Gain important team working and time management skills

In this example, we have combined an excellence in learning and teaching case study, along with some excellent student created videos, as part of the module in Animal and Plant Sciences – APS279 Getting Science on Film.

Next – More Examples and using video within the Kaltura Digital Media Hub