WebOption Lecture-Cast at UTSC
Coordinator: Centre for Teaching & Learning, UTSC
The WebOption Lecturecast program was initiated at UT Scarborough in 2002 by Psychology professor John Bassili. It was subsequently coordinated by Steve Joordens, also from the Psychology department at UTSC. Demand for its services continued to grow, and in summer 2009 the WebOption was transferred to Centre for Teaching and Learning, where its first full-time Coordinator was hired.
The WebOption Lecturecast service video-tapes course lectures and provides them online to students enrolled in those courses. There are 2 versions of this: LEC60 Lectures where students attend lectures by logging into the WebOption Lecturecast website; and the Augmented Classroom where students can choose to attend a live lecture, view the lecture online, or both.
Weboption is only one type of implementation of online learning and utilizes web video as its primary method of lecture delivery. It can also be integrated into a course, as a part of a broad suite of academic activities that an instructor can employ to enhance the learning experiences for her/his students.
Number of courses supported Fall 2010 semester: 29; and number of students: 12,000. The WebOption program initially concentrated delivery on first-year Psychology courses. In Academic year 2010/2011 almost every discipline is participating in the WebOption Lecturecast program. Many of the courses currently offered are high-enrolment first-year courses.
Professors Bassili and Joordens have done research on various aspects of student use of the WebOption program. See a selected list of their work below.
PLEASE DESCRIBE THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS. WHAT WAS INVOLVED?
It was started as a small-scale project by John Bassili but has since become a robust fully integrated feature of the campus’s academic offerings. One possible key to its success is that it requires very little additional work for an instructor; he/she simply lectures as usual with all the work being done on the Weboption administrative side.
WERE THERE ANY OBSTACLES THAT NEEDED TO BE OVERCOME?
As the program has grown, there have been various challenges requiring adaptation, including embracing the Blackboard environment for presenting video, balancing audio/video quality with bandwith optimization, and instructor questions regarding student learning through video versus their in-class presence. Ongoing changes to the technology and educational environments means that these issues will require continuing discussion.
WHAT WERE THE BENEFITS FOR THE LEARNERS IN THIS PROGRAM?
Students benefit in various ways – he/she can view lecture multiple times, pause to absorb information and make notes, replay a section, check words, go at his/her own pace. The Weboption benefits many students, not just those who miss a lecture. Anecdotally, we know that international students with language challenges, student with accessibility needs, commuting students, and non-traditional students all benefit in individual ways. Close-captioning has also been integrated into the delivery of several courses and can be provided on an as-needed basis.
Instructors embrace the WebOption for various reasons. For example, by students’ request, to help accommodate early/late class start times, to provide flexibility for their students’ varied learning styles, and to expand classes in over-enrolled courses.
WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES OR UNEXPECTED OUTCOMES?
It has been somewhat of a surprise that demand for WebOptioning has continued to grow. However, demand could plateau as campus enrolment plateaus, and if/when we cover all large first year courses.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS FOR THIS PROJECT IN THE FUTURE?
We are tackling a variety of issues including: gathering data on student usage and learning outcomes, fine-tuning technical efficiencies, and further integration of video into Blackboard. More specialized opportunities for the WebOption emerge on occasion, for example, working with an instructor who wants to tape modules on course fundamentals that students can view on their own time, freeing up classtime for discussion/interaction.
A. Current research – Professor Steve Joordens and Ada Le (Ph.D. Candidate in Psychology) are performing a study examining the effects of WebOption use on student satisfaction and course performance. The study will include an examination of which features students utilize and whether doing so enhances learning and/or satisfaction. It will also examine the extent to which the way they watch online lectures (i.e., whether they watch several together, spread things out, leave them to the last minute) affect both satisfaction and performance.
B. Previous research
Bassili, John. Media Richness and Social Norms in the Choice to Attend Lectures or to Watch Them Online. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 17(4), 2008.
Bassili, John. Motivation and Cognitive Strategies in the Choice to Attend Lectures or Watch Them Online. Journal of Distance Education, 22(3), 2008.
Bassili, John, Steve Joordens. Media Player Tool Use, Satisfaction with Online Lectures and Examination Performance. Journal of Distance Education, 22(2), 2008.
Joordens, Steve, Ada Le, Raymond Grinnell, Sophie Chrysostomou. Eating Your Lectures and Having Them Too: is Online Lecture Availability Especially Helpful in “Skills-Based” Courses? Electronic Journal of E-Learning, 7(3), 2009.
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