How video has been used to enhance engagement and the student learning experience on a blended learning programme
The Mathematics Specialist Teacher (MaST) Programme is a blended course for serving primary maths teachers aimed at improving subject knowledge, pedagogy and collaborating with colleagues in school. It includes Conference Days with nationally recognised speakers, Local Meetings led by maths consultants and online learning materials, all of which are linked via the VLE. As online materials can too often be very dry, we have included a variety of approaches to provide students with a positive experience, including the use of videos in various contexts.
Within the learning materials, links to video clips on sites like YouTube help exemplify both the theoretical and practical ideas the students cover. For example, how to use practical resources and visualisation techniques to support the understanding of difficult concepts such as “3 divided by a half” (The answer is NOT 1 ½ … Click to ‘Watch and Learn’!).
Via discussion boards, students are also encouraged to share links to useful videos. They are using these resources within their practice on a daily basis, so it seems natural to get them to share examples of good practice. For example, this idea of a ‘Fraction museum’ was posted by a student – here’s the link to the YouTube video: Fraction Lesson: teach your class fractions with Math Man.
One of the key requests in the recent Edge Hill survey into Students’ ideal VLEs was for the opportunity to be able to watch the lecture again later. Throughout the programme, we ask for permission to film our keynote speakers, and now have many of their sessions available within Blackboard. This means not only can students revisit lectures at a later time, students who were unable to attend or missed a speaker who delivered at an alternative geographical location, can still have access (although we do stress that this is not quite the same as attending in person…!) The agreement with the speakers though, is that these are only available to the students registered on the programme.
As well as using video to enhance the experiences of current students, the MaST Team, in association with the Media Team, has produced a Recruitment / Marketing Video. This link is now being sent out to prospective students and is included on our own website as well as via other channels like the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).
We are always looking for ways to improve the student experience, and as a result of some of the feedback we received from students, following our submission for the Blackboard Exemplary Course Programme* award (ECP) and having seen other courses that we reviewed with the LTD team, we are now looking to include short video clips of various members of the team (Academic, admin, ATs etc.) in a ‘Welcome’ area so that students can immediately put faces to names, thus giving the course a more ‘personal’ or ‘human’ face in what some students may see, at first, as a rather intimidating online environment.