Having given up on the blindfolds, I’ve now moved to some less radical activities in my class this semester.
Part of that includes making more use of media in sessions.
A big part of that took place before we started teaching, when I recorded some more videos to upload to our virtual learning environment.
This is Flipping 101: giving a lecture online, then using class contact time for more interactive activities. Given that I’m teaching negotiation, that seems particularly sensible and I’ve been doing that for some years now, but this time around I’ve embraced it more fully.
So this week’s class on negotiation theory, which I used to deliver in a conventional manner, now has an online lecture, plus the reading.
In class, I got students into groups, to draw up a list of their questions about what they’d seen/read, got them to put them up on the whiteboards, then we talked about big themes that emerged. Once we’d done that, we could move on to an activity that explored some of that in an active way.
Feedback seemed very positive about the format and I meant I’ve been able to communicate the same amount of material in roughly half the class time, leaving more space in later weeks for other stuff I’d like them to do.
But I’ve also gone further still.
Given the number of questions the students had, we couldn’t sensibly go through all of them, there and then.
So instead, I’ve offered to record a podcast to work through each one individually, which I’ll then upload.
Again, this seems like a good pay-off for us all.
Students get answers to their questions, plus everyone gets to hear those answers, in a resource that they can come back to whenever.
I get to reinforce some key messages from the session and demonstrate more fully how elements interact (this was a key theme from our conversations), plus it’ll make me reflect some more about how the original materials might be adapted to work better next time around.
Of course, this is no free lunch.
I’ve had to spend more time preparing these elements than I would have just a ‘normal’ lecture, especially as my use of our video capturing software is still limited enough that I’m having to sit with the manual next to me.
In particular, video requires effort, since you’ve got to think about both audio and visual elements (even if the latter is just a set of slides).
As with most things, this’ll come down to practice. Certainly my podcasting ‘skills’ are much improved from 3 years of regular activity (here) and I’m also now trying out mini video pieces for the University. However, a big part of me considers that I have a face for audio.
The key take home so far, though, has to be the usual one of: try it, you might like it.
The technical barriers are minimal: there’s nothing you can’t manage using just your webcam or smart phone and the basic editing functions they come with. Start small and with something where you see most value in trying and then work from there.