Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Teaching via Film

Here is the beginning of an interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Sometimes Edward J. Berger leaves class with the nagging feeling that some of his engineering students at the University of Virginia just aren't getting it. Maybe the concept he was trying to get across was too abstract. So he heads back to his office, films himself working through an actual problem, and posts the video to the course blog.

Most of the students tune in, even though watching is optional and the cinematic style is not the kind of thing that fills seats at the multiplex.

Mr. Berger, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has been experimenting with several new Web technologies as part of a project called HigherEd 2.0, which is supported by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. He uses a blog, he has tried wikis (communal programs that let students edit one another's work), and he records his lectures and offers the recordings online for review. But he says the most effective aspect of the experimental teaching project so far has been his "video solutions."

Instead of a talking head, these videos show a talking pen. In most of them, Mr. Berger writes out the answers to problems on the screen of his tablet PC, while screen-capture software records the action. As he writes, he narrates his thought process, and a microphone attached to his computer picks it up to provide the video's soundtrack.

JEFFREY R. YOUNG, "Film School: To Spice Up Course Work, Professors Make Their Own Videos," Volume 54, Issue 34, Page A13, available at http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i34/34a01301.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

No comments: