Dr. Patricia Kim-Rajal

Department of Chicano and Latino Studies

Microlecture Project Evaluation

Impact of Microlectures on Teaching

I participated in this project because I wanted to enhance the Moodle content for CALS 393: Chicano/Latino Cinema, an upper-division, general education course that attracts students with little to no experience in either ethnic studies or visual analysis. In particular, I wanted to create brief lectures about theoretical concepts students in this class have struggled with in the past. My goal was to highlight and review key elements distilled from our in class discussion that students could use as a resource when reviewing the material.

After meeting with Faculty Center staff and reviewing the microlecture planning form I realized that microlectures can also be used to introduce and structure a course, introduce particularly challenging readings ahead of a face-to-face meeting, review student assessments, and clarify course assignments. I wanted to see how effective the microlecture format was in relation to each of these tasks. During the spring 2015 semester I created the following lectures for CALS 393:

  • Discourse, Knowledge, and Power: An overview of Foucault's concepts of discourse, discursive formations, and power/knowledge designed to help students understand the relationship between discourse and discursive formations
  • Review of Semiotics Midterm Question: Review of a midterm question; highlights elements needed to perform both a first-order and second-order semiotic analysis using the same image that students were shown during the exam
  • Queer Theory 101: A brief introduction to the logic of "queer" readings of media texts. Includes a discussion of heteronormativity as the standard against which queerness is defined
  • Overview of Response Essay Assignment: An explanation of an assignment that included a screencast showing students how to view the rubric associated with the assignment

I will also be creating a fifth microlecture during finals week. This last microlecture will offer an overview and tour of the course’s Moodle page and will be used in a hybrid version of the class to be taught this June.

Impact of Learning Technologies (Camtasia)

I really valued the opportunity to learn how to use Camtasia. It is a very flexible and incredibly useful tool and I really appreciated how it could incorporate different media forms. I particularly liked using Camtasia to make screencasts. I think this is probably due to my own discomfort in front of the camera. Working with Tim Hensel on taping and editing the microlectures was a highlight of this experience. He was helpful, supportive, informative, and always able to troubleshoot any issues I experienced while taping on my own. I feel confident enough after this semester to attempt creating screencast-only microlectures on my own. However, I think I will continue to make use of the Faculty Center’s green room facilities for videotaping.

Implementation Data and Student Feedback

 

I created and posted four microlectures during the spring 2015 semester. The microlectures were made available to the 40 students enrolled in CALS 393: Chicano/Latino cinema through Moodle page. The links were posted between February and April of 2015.

Title of Microlecture Date Posted Views
Discourse, Knowledge, and Power 2/10/15 27
Review of semiotics midterm question 4/2/15 6
Queer Theory 101 4/2/15 15
Overview of Response Essay Assignment 4/9/15 46 4/9/15 46

The data log for the course indicates that the last microlecture posted received the mostviews. I believe this is because students started to become more cognizant of the fact that there were microlectures in the course as the semester went on. While I did make announcements in class each time a new microlecture was posted, it appears that some students did not process the fact right away. Perhaps this was due to the fact that the microlectures were included as optional (not required) course resources.

While the data log was useful in seeing which microlectures were of interest to students (clearly NOT the midterm question review), it really didn’t give me a sense of whether students were finding the content helpful. I created a survey in order to generate student feedback regarding the usefulness of the microlectures:http://goo.gl/forms/GZAYkwsPve. Participation in this survey was voluntary and anonymous. I shared the survey link with all the students in the class electronically in early April and sent them a reminder in mid-April. About 25% of students in the course completed the survey.

Approximately 33% of students who participated had not actually watched any of the microlectures. Most of these students responded that they had been unaware that the microlectures were available although one student explained that he/she had “[c]omprehended the material well enough the way it was presented in class and through reviewing notes that I did not feel watching the microlectures was necessary.”

66% of respondents had watched at least one of the microlectures; about half of them had watched more than one. The survey asked students who had only viewed one microlecture to describe what they found most/least helpful about it. Students who had viewed more than one were asked to identify which one was most helpful to them and why. Student responses to the three most viewed microlectures follow:

  • Students found the “Discourse, Knowledge, and Power” microlecture useful because “[i]t refreshed what we went over in class in a more compact way” and because “it showed me more about what discourse was in a historical context.” Students also found it useful when revisiting course material prior to the midterm: “I found the microlecture on discourse to be the most helpful. It had been a while since I had given the topic any serious consideration, so the lecture was very helpful as a review.”
  • The microlecture that introduced the response essay assignment was also singled out as being helpful. A student explained: “I like that it had the steps for the response essay and it showed us how to find how is going to be grade it.”
  • Students also responded positively to the microlecture introducing queer theory, a concept that was central to one of their reading assignments. I posted the link prior to the class meeting where we discussed the reading to give them some context for the assigned material. A student rated this microlecture as “the most helpful” of all the ones he/she had viewed. Another student also reported finding it “useful.”

I am glad that I was able to participate in this project. Creating microlectures allowed me to reflect upon the structure of the class, think about which learning objectives I wanted to emphasize in different lectures and assignments, and gave me access to a flexible and powerful multimedia tool. I would strongly recommend that this become an ongoing program.