Classroom discussion and interaction can be very effective in building students’ understanding of a subject, but also in understanding the experiences of others.
Engaging and interactive activities are particularly essential for the overall success of online students.
Sharon, Caitlin and Daniel presented their co-designed interactive video activity at the NPI Conference. Sharon Walker is a lecturer in the School of Counselling in the Australian College of Applied Psychology; Caitlin Hall is a student there in the Masters of Counselling and Psychotherapy, and; Daniel Moon coordinates the delivery of Online and Blended units in the School of Counselling.
Their interactive video activity is designed to increase student engagement and achieve learning goals around building cultural competence, empathy, awareness of diversity and the shared experiences of peers.
In addition to being a student in the Masters of Counselling and Psychotherapy, Caitlin Hall is an advocate, therapist and group therapist in the Trans community. She crossed paths with Sharon Walker as a student in Counselling in a Diverse World, where Caitlin’s contributions to class discussions were highly valued by her lecturer and peers.
Recognising the broader value of these contributions, Sharon and Caitlin discussed how current students and students in other campuses would benefit from hearing about Caitlin’s personal transgender experiences.
An interactive dialogue: making video work harder
To facilitate greater understanding of the transgender journey and share Caitlin’s insights with students dispersed across the country, Sharon and Caitlin recorded and edited a video interview. They uploaded the video to the Echo360 Active Learning Platform (ALP) which was being piloted inside the college’s Moodle learning management system.
Sharon and Caitlin designed questions to insert at timed points in the video. With Daniel, they embedded questions and discussion threads and launched the activity in Term 2, 2016. Embedded, time-stamped questions prompted students to analyse and provide their input to the video under the guidance of the teacher in a similar manner to the open, discursive approach that can happen in a classroom.
Here’s what the video with embedded questions and discussions looked like:
Students watched, engaged and understood
In Term 3, 2016 over 91% of students reported positive experiences with the learning activity. Built-in video analytics tracked students’ progression through the activity and monitored engagement levels within the video. More than 83% of students were watching the entire 23-minute video – an incredible feat given the increasing popularity of much shorter video content!
Beyond knowing they engaged with the video, were students achieving intended learning outcomes? Students completed survey feedback with qualitative elements such as open questions. Responses were turned into Word Clouds to visualise the most common words or concepts students were taking from the activity. Common words indicated they were engaging with intended concepts, including: understanding, experiences, isolation, journey, transgender, lack, validation, and awareness.
Caitlin’s thoughts on being involved in the learning design
Caitlin Hall told those assembled at the NPI Conference she found the process rewarding in many ways.
“For me, there were lots of things that came out of this experience. I’ve had a passion to really help the transgender community since transitioning so this was a real opportunity for me to actually make a difference.”
“It also gave me this really excellent opportunity to see what it’s like to actually put together a learning experience. Now, I’ve got a corporate job so I do some of this [kind of work], but in terms of counsellor and mental health practitioner education it was really fascinating to do that part of it.”
“It really fitted in with who I want to be – as a counsellor, as a therapist, in terms of making a difference not only for clients but also for students and educating other professionals as well.”
“What I’ve found out along the way is that retelling my story in different ways actually helps me. It gives me more insight into my own journey and I think it can help make me be a more effective practitioner.”
Watch their presentation
Dive deeper into this fascinating case study! The video below was taken from their presentation at the Navitas Professional Institute Conference in Melbourne in November 2016.