Fall 2017 was my first semester teaching at CI. Prior to joining the faculty here, my teaching experience was mostly in the online environment with graduate students. I thought that I was well prepared to teach an online upper division Health Science program course.
I was wrong.
Though the class was online, it was different teaching students who, while taking an online class, were part of a broader traditional university campus. They were accustomed to having face-to-face contact with their faculty. Most lacked any industry experience to aid in mastering the course objectives. The students needed more from me than I was accustomed to providing to my previous students who came to my classes with years, or decades, of on-the-job knowledge of the U.S. healthcare system and how it operates.
I had the knowledge to help the students but lacked the teaching resources to bring it to the online environment. This is where the FIT Studio and the staff there came in to help me bring the benefits of the traditional classroom to the convenience of the online one. The studio is well-equipped with a variety of recording equipment to create lectures for students to view at their leisure.
With guidance from the staff at the FIT Studio, I was able to create a comprehensive series of short videos for each corresponding unit of the course. These allowed me to bridge the gap between the students’ current knowledge state and where they needed to be…intentionally using short video lengths to provide students with an easily digestible amount of content that complemented the other course resources before moving on to the next concept.
The technology allowed me to use PowerPoint as well as a camera for students to be able to see me, though the option exists to use only one of these at a time. When using the PowerPoint, the software displays the speaker notes for ease of presenting. With this flexibility, I could create a video of myself offering to review rough drafts of their research papers, use only the PowerPoint slides so I did not have to worry about glances at my notes being distracting, or use both together to offer a humanized touch to the presentation. The video clips are easily editable as well, so those inevitable bloopers can be removed seamlessly without having to rerecord the entire clip.
The feedback from the students after I added these videos to the Canvas course was very positive. Several students reached out to me directly to thank me for adding these to the course material. One student share that “the videos help [her] to understand the concepts because they provide further examples” while another student appreciated the “real life examples making the coursework relevant.” Students also found it valuable to have the ability to pause, repeat specific segments, or watch the videos multiple times.
The services available through the FIT Studio were a wonderful asset to both me and my students. They benefitted the students in helping to achieve the learning objectives of the course and me by facilitating my teaching of the course content. If you have not yet used the FIT Studio to enhance your online classes, I highly recommend giving it a try.