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1) Framing Questions
When developing a new project, the team doesn’t work from the syllabus, preferring to start with the lecture. “Oftentimes when faculty start writing their scripts, it’s not the most engaging piece of video. We approach it as a scripting process. And framing questions is one of the [structural] devices we use for that,” said Bowman, associate director of the Learning Science group.
One practice they encourage, according to Justice: dumping questions with “black and white” answers and shifting to subversion of expectations by making the questions a “little more complicated” or presenting an example “that was counter-intuitive.”
For example, when working with an instructor new to video, Justice realized that the faculty member was using the Socratic method in her lecture. “So we decided to keep that,” she said. “We wanted to keep these questions in the video script but also make sure they were questions that didn’t have obvious answers. The idea is that we’re setting these students to have their expectations subverted. Maybe they could watch these videos and not feel like it was a very passive experience or that the lecture itself didn’t have a lot of structure to it.”
2) Use of Animation
Animation is already common in education videos, Justice suggested. “It’s a great way to get around copyright issues,”
she said. Likewise, animations are totally customizable and talented grad students can be pressed into service during the summer to create them.
Justice and her team put the technique into practice with a five-video set about process flow in general and business process flow specifically. They wanted to take animation “to another level and use imagery and animation together to show processes — and then build upon that to show how that process can be applied to many different contexts and examples,” explained Sosulski, director of the Learning Science group and a clinical associate professor of information, operations and management sciences within Stern.
Because the concepts in the videos tended to be complex, the goal was to come up with animations for the series that were “icon-based”: the image of a building into which different kinds of raw materials entered and a variety of goods came out again, for example. By doing that, said Justice, the student facing a midterm could go back to this simple illustration that had been shown multiple times during those animations as a visual cue that would stick in the learner’s mind. While the same metaphor was used throughout, the examples varied, enabling students to “look around in their real world and in their head put anything they can think of through that process — and think about an object becoming inventory and then going through some kind of process in the business.”
3) Quizzing
Video quizzing, like animation, isn’t new, acknowledged Sosulski. But the Learning Science group has pushed itself by thinking about creating “feedback loops” with that quizzing, not so much to make sure the students watch the video and answer the questions as to “use that information to make us better teachers.”
The baseline for in-video quizzing is to edit the videos to add pauses and a “nice fade,” said Justice, “so it felt like we were purposefully using these questions.”
One tool the university licenses is Kaltura, a video lecture capture, production and distribution platform, which now includes a quizzing feature. Instructors can pop a quiz into the middle of a video, then continue the video after the student has answered it. The problem, Justice said, is that there are limitations with the feature, such as a ceiling of 140 characters. “Try writing a multiple- choice question that’s meaningful for an accounting class in 140 characters,” she mused. “It’s difficult.”
To overcome restrictions, the team has added its own layer to the quizzing functionality. For example, a slide pops up after a quiz question with a Kaltura-like design that mirrors what the answer should be. Some of the questions are “thoughtful,” added Justice, to make sure the student doesn’t simply “breeze past it if they got it right or wrong.” The idea is to make sure students really “dive into the video quiz.” The
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | January/February 2018

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