My goal for year one of the Faculty Technology Fellowship involved expanding the ways that I have promoted visual communication with my online students. Some specific activities that I wanted to implement included using video messages to provide feedback and information to students rather than inserting a text box or forum message. Other ideas to overall enhance the visual communication with students involved the use of images/photos in the Moodle shell, the use of a standard Panopto Welcome message to be placed in all courses being taught by me, and uploading a personal profile photo in Outlook.
Since the curriculum is set for all programs in Nursing and the assignments are also prescribed, my goal was to focus on the student experience and likability of the courses. I found that some of the tools already available to us as part of Moodle can be cumbersome and not always quick and easy to use. I wanted to find a solution that can be done with little notice, planning or effort. I also wanted to be able to grab my iPhone or iPad when I thought of something I wanted to tell my students. By videotaping a message in this way, I was able to substitute it for a written message. This provided a different means in which to quickly communicate with students. Ease of accessibility and convenience were most important when searching for a solution.
With the help of Lauren and Becky, I identified “Capture” as an application on my handheld device that could be downloaded for free. Using my handheld device (mostly iPhone), I was able to record and store a video message wherever I was at the time. After the Capture app was downloaded, all I had to do was open the app and search for the video I created for my students using my iPhone video recording function. I selected to “upload” it and after a few minutes, a URL was created for private use. For step-by-step instructions on using Capture, please read these directions. Finally, I emailed this URL to my Chatham email, and then coped and pasted it in a Moodle Course shell into the applicable block (week). By posting the URL as a Label in Moodle, the video box displayed in the course rather than just a link.
The assessment was informal and based on student and faculty feedback. Students seemed to like the informality of the message and the ability to see and hear me. A faculty member who first saw the video message in my course said she was surprised to see the video and thought it was a friendly way in which to communicate the students. Some faculty didn’t like the “close up” effect of the video if you held your own hand held device in your hand while you were recording (kind of like a selfie). A way around that would be to rest it someplace at a suitable, desirable distance for recording. Some faculty thought this seemed much more convenient than Panopto whereas other faculty found Panopto to be just as convenient.
Reflections and Next Steps
Being an online educator for the past 9 years, my courses/programs were already developed to adequately capture formative and summative assessments. All content and assessment methods in each course were designed well to capture the accreditation requirements for the various nursing degrees. My goal as a tech fellow is to find easy, convenient solutions to use technology as a tool for student and faculty workflow, promote student satisfaction, and foster faculty and student relationships. A future project will involve the use of technology to help further explain content or projects that are found to be more difficult for students to grasp. By using technology to aid in student learning of a particular component of the curriculum, student work flow and satisfaction should improve.