Dr Léon Van Ommen, School of Divinity, History & Philosophy, Dr Joy Perkins, Centre for Academic Development, Dr Chloe Alexander, Student Learning Service and Abigail Harding, eLearning Team
Dr Léon Van Ommen, School of Divinity, History & Philosophy, Dr Joy Perkins, Centre for Academic Development, Dr Chloe Alexander, Student Learning Service and Abigail Harding, eLearning Team outline the benefits of video-assisted learning to help staff prepare students for assessments.
Video-Assisted Learning (VAL) enables students to develop their knowledge and skills by incorporating visually rich resources in teaching sessions, and/or assessments to engage students. There is a growing diversity of video resources through platforms such as YouTube, or staff also have the option to devise their own video. We have developed three, short animated videos, using the VideoScribe software created by Sparkol:
The video content is transferable across subject areas and are designed to support students in their course assessments. Staff interested in using the VideoScribe software can request a free software licence by contacting the Toolkit Team.
The Avoiding Plagiarism video has been implemented in several undergraduate and taught postgraduate divinity courses. The video has been shared with students via their course, MyAberdeen sites as part of the assessment brief. We feel it is important for Course Co-ordinators to be explicit in the assessment guidance given to students, so the video was designed to offer an engaging, inclusive way for students to understand what is required and expected in their course assessments across degree programmes. It has also been made available to other students via Achieve (for undergraduates) and Achieve+ (for taught postgraduates) in MyAberdeen and has formed part of the orientation materials available for new students.
The videos on online discussion boards and presenting online form part of a wider range of resources (both videos and short written guides) on various study skills topics, such as academic writing. All are important to support students in both a blended learning context and for on-campus learning. The resources highlighted in this case study are available via the Toolkit, the Achieve site (undergraduates) and the Achieve+ site (taught postgraduates) in MyAberdeen. Raising student awareness of these study skill resources at induction events and course introductory sessions is also important to support students’ learning as they transition into courses.
We feel it is important to measure the impact of video-assisted learning in academic courses. However, given the resources are newly developed, it is early days for impact measurement. Finding out more about the impact on student learning and their academic performance would be valuable next step.
There are many benefits of using video resources: they are engaging, motivating and freely available for students on demand. Given the resources are visual, it is anticipated that students will be able to retain the key information for longer. The resources will also help to establish a common knowledge base throughout the University of Aberdeen’s student population.
One way to evaluate the videos and measure the success of the video content is to monitor the number of views. Feedback will also be gained informally through our contact and interaction with students at Staff Student Liaison Committees and Course Feedback Forms. Our focus will be to gather students’ perceptions and use of the videos to support their course assessments. That said, we also feel that collaborative working across the School of Divinity, History & Philosophy, the Student Learning Service and the Centre for Academic Development has enabled creativity and expertise to be shared in video production.
We plan to share our practice across the University via a poster at the Annual Academic Development Symposium in April. When creating videos, we had a strong focus on resources, which can be shared and disseminated across academic subject areas and disciplines. There are often common issues faced by students in online and on-campus courses. Blended learning will also be a new experience for many of our students this coming academic year. Having centralised study skill resources to be used to support students across disciplines through their independent study can be helpful – we hope you find these three videos are!