7- Do Online Lectures Work?

It can take some serious momentum to motivate the filming of your own video lectures to flip a class.  But once the commitment is made, I think it is important to periodically monitor the student experience with the online lectures. There are two important questions to ask about the student experience with the video lectures. Do students enjoy watching them?  And are they learning anything?  I assessed these questions by conducting an anonymous online survey about halfway through the semester in Spring 2013.  I had 100% student participation in the survey (n=54).

Do students enjoy watching the lectures?
Graphic results of a survey question asking how students FEEL while watching an online lecture.To address this question, I asked students, “How do you FEEL about watching the online lectures?”  65% of my students reported enjoying the lectures.  30% said that the lectures were “ok”.  Only 3 students (5%) said they really didn’t like watching the lectures.  While there is always room for improvement, these results are satisfactory.  I don’t expect students to be having a party while watching the lectures (though I did hear rumors of a drinking game that took place around my sometimes liberal use of the word “FOCUS”…), but the lectures do need to be palatable.  Otherwise, students won’t partake.

Are students learning anything?
If students do not feel they are learning from the online lectures, then the whole flippin‘ thing is pointless.  So I asked students how much they learn from the online lecture. I did not corroborate their opinions with exam scores or course grades, but I still feel this question lends insight into an important measure of success.  If my students feel like they are learning less from my online lectures, their buy-in will falter and my goal of helping them master the material will not be reached.    According to the results of this question, 89% of my students felt like they learned as much or more than they would from a traditional lecture. This leaves 11% of the students who feel like they are learning less…and while this is certainly an issue that deserves more attention (what exactly is going on with this 11%?), I do believe it is a satisfactory result.

Unconventional content delivery is just one half of the flipped equation.  In the next post, I will talk about what we DO during class time.

2 thoughts on “7- Do Online Lectures Work?

  1. The best and the brightest students will learn using any mode of instruction provided to them. (Example – “Hello students. Take your textbook home and read all the chapters. We’ll have a final exam in 15 weeks. See you then.”) On line lectures, and on-line learning in general, work well for the best and brightest, and for the highly motivated. For others (less motivated) I’ve found that requiring homework / worksheets associated with on line materials work well. “Lectures,” of course, can now be put on the Internet — but some students (and MOST of my students) need to be kicked a bit to watch / learn from them.

    Murray Jensen

    • Hey Murray–
      I’ve often wondered if my student population (community college, mostly pre-nursing) is exceptional. They are, for the most part, incredibly motivated to truly learn the content, which is a very luxurious kind of student to teach. I do a lot of motivational work with them—I call it “rah rah” because I feel like a coach, or cheerleader, but they really seem to respond well. But I also think I throw in a “kick” too…they get points for their prep work (small points, but they often don’t seem to care about this), so if they don’t prepare for class (and watching the lectures is usually the easiest way to prep), they get a “you lose your points” kick. Is your kick similar? Or do you have other ideas? I’d love to hear!

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