ALOR Project: Bringing Course Concepts into Focus using Video

In this video, senior undergraduate students who have demonstrated mastery in the topic work together under the supervision of the instructor to create a resource for their fellow students.

The students target the Great English Vowel Shift, a systematic series of sound changes that have an important impact on the way many Modern English vowels are pronounced. Understanding the change also sheds light on certain mismatches between English orthography and pronunciation.

The Great English Vowel Shift is only briefly mentioned in the course textbook and thus requires supplementary explanation. Further, the concept of a vowel shift is one that students don’t easily grasp. The video animates the shift, provides examples, and extends the concept to a current chain shift, all in under five minutes.

By posting the video on YouTube, we were able to track student engagement by the number of views. This particular video received 270 views.

Qualitative student feedback was gathered in the form of a satisfaction survey. The appreciation of the videos was overwhelmingly positive. Most students specifically mentioned that the videos supported their learning.

What made this approach work

  • The topics targeted fundamental, but difficult concepts.
  • The videos were easily accessible, being embedded into Blackboard’s Course Materials.
  • The videos were always available and could be watched as many times as a student would need in order to solidify the concept and its application or in order to provide review for a quiz or exam.
  • The videos were created by senior undergraduate linguistics students, giving the effect of a peer-led tutorial. In turn, these senior students gained valuable experience working with the instructor to create the videos.
  • The instructor highlighted the potential usefulness of the videos during the lecture.
  • The videos contributed to the sense that the instructor wished to provide many ways for the students to master the core course concepts.

What this approach requires

  • Funding. Each video required about 20 hours to create (this includes the time required to learn how to use the software). Funds could potentially be obtained via an ROP, GEF, or the ITIF.
  • Faculty supervision. It was necessary for the instructor to check the lesson for accuracy and relevance and to vet the narration. This was very time consuming and the videos still contain small errors, not so significant, but annoying nonetheless.
  • Competent students. The four students who produced these videos were keen, smart, and creative. Undergraduate students can have a good understanding of where misconceptions can occur as they have most recently learned the material. Graduate students, who have more experience with the material, also can provide a rich and deep perspective on the concepts being highlighted.

Faculty Showcase