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Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

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Our study focused on the effectiveness of the student-generated content in facilitating learning in a Construction Estimating course over four semesters of implementation. It is expected that similar results could be achieved in any course.


The posting below looks at the use of student-generated videos in creating course content. It is by Kimberly G. Talley and Shaunna F. Smith* and is from the February 2018 issue of Prism, Volume 27, No. 6, the magazine of the American Society for Engineering Education. [] 1818 N Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036-2479. © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


Rick Reis

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Tomorrow’s Teaching and Learning

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Lights, Camera, Learning!

Student-created videos improve engagement and learning while providing content for use in future courses— including flipped ones.

For instructors interested in flipping their classes or otherwise incorporating video into their courses, the creation of a semester’s worth of custom video content can be a daunting task. Faculty at Texas State University began using student term projects to generate this custom content. In addition, these videos created an opportunity to engage students in asynchronous peer-to-peer learning. Our study focused on the effectiveness of the student-generated content in facilitating learning in a Construction Estimating course over four semesters of implementation. It is expected that similar results could be achieved in any course.

The driving mechanism behind using student projects for course content was the project itself. Teams of three or four students were assigned to produce a two-to-four-minute video on a course topic. The students selected their topics from a list provided by the instructor through a first-come, first-served policy. This arrangement allowed students to choose a project that was meaningful to them while also developing the range of videos needed for the course. The project prompt was purposefully open-ended to encourage student creativity. The resulting video formats ranged widely, including scripted acting, voices (e.g., human and text-to-talk versions) overlaid on presentation slides, interviews with professionals, and even a silent film starring a student’s dogs as the actors. Links to many exemplary videos are included in our AEE paper. While some student projects were ready for future class use after some small edits, others missed the mark. The instructor might opt to simply put the topic back on the list for next semester’s projects.

Students also were asked to write three multiple-choice quiz questions that could be answered from watching their videos. Of course, undergraduates are not usually experienced at writing assessments, so the instructor would edit the questions as needed. In addition to creating an assessment tool for measuring the video’s impact on student learning, the real motivation behind the quiz question development process was to encourage students to be mindful of their content. Three questions were chosen for this quiz-writing requirement to be sure students covered at least three points in their videos that their peers could then use to answer the questions. To encourage students to take the task seriously, the improvement between the pre- and post-video quizzes was a portion of the project grade—although this area was judged generously.

During this stage of our research study, the previous semesters’ projects were shown in class on the day that new topics were being introduced, along with the associated quizzes being administered immediately before and after the video screenings. Based upon the typically statistically significant improvement in student quiz scores from watching the student-produced videos, our study provides support for the hypothesis that these student projects can enable asynchronous peer-to-peer learning. This evidence of increased student learning is in line with similar studies that used pre- and post-test measures to evaluate the effectiveness of flipped instruction models. Further, when surveyed about their enjoyment and informational value of the projects, students indicated that they viewed the projects favorably (only 6 percent expressed dislike) and overwhelmingly found the projects were informative (none disagreed). This evidence of engagement is in line with many studies that found positive student perceptions of the flipped instruction model. The impact of these videos goes beyond student perceptions and impact on learning by also creating course content for the instructor to use in future courses.

While this study remains ongoing, the authors hope the results from the first four semesters are useful and inspire other instructors interested in generating student- produced video content for their courses. Based upon the positive results on student learning revealed during this initial phase of our study, the authors plan to flip the course in future semesters by creating online modules featuring these videos and quizzes for students to complete prior to class.

* Kimberly G. Talley is an assistant professor of construction science and management and codirector of the Maker Space at the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research at Texas State University, where Shaunna F. Smith is an assistant professor of educational technology and operator of the MAKE Lab, a free mobile makerspace for K-12 students and teachers. This article is excerpted from “Asynchronous Peer-to-Peer Learning: Putting Student Projects to Work in Future Classes” in the Spring 2018 issue of Advances in Engineering Education.