Students have become more active in their own learning, and experts at sourcing their own information.

Students all over the country are looking for a classroom experience where their work is more meaningful and more connected to the world they live in. Information comes at students constantly, and in multiple media. More often than not, their preferred choice of receiving information is through video. According to a Comscore study, 91 percent of 18-24 year olds watch online videos every month (Source: Comscore, Dec 2013). Moreover, students are not merely searching for and watching videos. They’re forwarding them on to their friends, adding ratings, and sharing comments.

What does this mean for education? Students have become more active in their own learning, and experts at sourcing their own information. These are skills which naturally translate to a classroom environment. A recent Acclaim post: “The Possibilities of Online Learning,” suggested that one great way for instructors to use video was to ask students to “curate their own video archives, which they can reference easily and share with others.” Let’s consider another possible use-case for a video library — one which is crowd-sourced, or built by the whole entire class. According to Jisc Digital Media, the UK experts on digital media, “Community content is online digital content, submitted by individuals or groups. The participants can upload their materials, describe them, and make them available. Content can be in a variety of formats, but it needs to be discoverable and accessible for it to be useful.”Asking students to contribute to the class in this way not only gives them a sense of responsibility for their own learning, but teaches them how to be “

[VIDEO via Jisc Digital Media: Theo Kuechel, Independent Consultant, on the Value of Sharing Video]

A crowd-sourced online content library functions best when:

  1. The instructor offers an initial list of resources to students. Pick a few YouTube Education Channels, or consider similar projects at other universities. This not only provides students with parameters and guidance, but also helps to demonstrate what is quality and scholarly video content.
  2. It is oriented around a specific topic with sub-topics. For example, if your students are sourcing a library on the Enlightenment, it would be effective to assign sub-units around philosophy, music, art, political developments, and science.
  3. It includes subject tags and short one sentence summaries of videos.
  4. There are features such as commenting fields or group email lists.
  5. Each person has clear responsibilities and objectives for their contributions — for example, being in charge of a particular sub-topic, or delivering questions for weekly discussion.
  6. The group has an aspirational model. For example, National Geographic’s YourShot blog is a online community of photographers, contributing to a photoblog that aspires to mimic the style of National Geographic photography.
  7. Students are committed to building a group identity.
  8. The class sets big goals. The more instructors can incentivize student engagement, the more students will want to be involved.
  9. The instructor continuously contributes to the community — either by offering students resources, contributing his/her own videos, or providing students with feedback on their choice of videos.
  10. The instructor addresses questions and conversations that have come up in the online discussion forums in weekly lectures.

The following are fantastic sources of information for creating and sourcing videos for collaborative student digital libraries. I’ve included descriptions and summaries, so that you can easily figure out what is most helpful to you:

– Developing Community Collections by Jisc Digital Media
A comprehensive guide to developing and curating crowd sourced online content. It includes tips on engaging participants, as well as links to successful projects that it has sponsored. The lists of projects showcases an array of projects focusing on subjects from local history to language learning, health, and STEM education. The tips are based on the results of 20 projects.

– The Media Scholarship Project: Strategic Thinking about Media and Multimodal Assignments in the Liberal Arts by Educause
This resource considers the challenges of drafting and collaborating on multimodal projects on all levels – the need for faculty, students, librarians and institutional technologists to communicate and organize effectively. It also provides tips for assignment structuring, and both peer and faculty review. Produced in a collaboration between Hamilton College, St. Lawrence University, and Colgate University.

– Direct Measurement Videos: Discovering Physics… One Frame at a Time by Carelton College
A fantastic example of a student produced video library on a confined class subject

– The Best 100 Video Sites for Educators,” by Edudemic
A list of video channels for educators, grouped by subject matter and education level.