Videotaped lectures explored as way to improve student engagement
A Queen’s research team is studying the impact of using online lectures and smaller group activities instead of large, first-year lectures.
“Excellent teaching is fundamental to providing a first-class education,” says Andy Leger, educational developer at the Centre for Teaching and Learning. “Providing more time for professors to meet individually and in small groups with students will help them to engage more fully in the learning process.”
The study will look specifically at redeveloping Geography 101 using videotaped lectures. Anne Godlewska is videotaping her lectures this semester and making them available online to the 450 students registered in the course.
For the winter semester, Dr. Godlewska will replace the in-class lecture with smaller group sessions by asking the 180 students to watch lectures she taped during the fall semester. Groups of 60 students will then have a 90-minute interactive session each week with Dr. Godlewska and a small team of teaching assistants. In fall 2011, she will offer Geography 101 to 300 students using the videotaped lectures and small group sessions.
“Nothing replaces face-to-face engaged teaching. I am hopeful the lecture capture technology will allow me to interact with students in new and exciting ways,” she says.
All three cohorts will be studied and compared using several research tools:
• A survey to determine student engagement;
• A questionnaire to gauge students’ approach to learning the material;
• Surveys and focus groups to solicit the opinions of students.
The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) is funding the research and assessment of the Queen’s project, one of 13 teaching/learning research projects HEQCO will support over the next two years.
“The positive feedback from HEQCO has legitimized our attempts to change large classes in order to improve engagement,” says Dr. Leger. “And other universities are interested to see what we are doing because they are thinking about lecture capture and they are certainly struggling with first-year classes and engagement.”
Dr. Godlewska is one of several Queen’s professors using videotaped lectures. Currently, Brian Frank (Engineering and Applied Science) is capturing his lectures. The technology was used last year in two Arts and Sciences courses and the response from faculty and students was positive.