Q: Why did you decide to use Acclaim? What were you doing before?
JM: We decided to use Acclaim because we needed a platform to support our student speeches, which are typically 3 to 7 minutes in length. Our own servers or other services frankly couldn’t support the volume of speech videos since approximately 1,100 students are enrolled in our course per semester. We went with Acclaim because it could support this volume and facilitate the uploading of videos through its batch upload feature.
Prior to Acclaim, we were using VHS tapes and VCRs to review, but students quickly forgot what those were so we had to go digital! Through the use of hand held cameras or flip cams, we’re able to record speeches and then upload the files to Acclaim.
Q: How is Acclaim being used in the classroom and as part of the curriculum?
JM: There are three different formats for our public speaking courses:
1) Face to face classes
2) Hybrid classes
3) Strictly online classes
Acclaim is used differently in each one of those formats. In our face-to-face classes, instructors record in-class speeches and make sure to stop between each speech to separate students’ video files. Then, instructors can use the batch upload feature on Acclaim to upload multiple videos at once, which happens very quickly.
For our hybrid courses, we do a mix of self recording, that is, students recording themselves and uploading videos to Acclaim, and in-class recording as mentioned above.
For our online formatted courses, students are recording themselves and then uploading the files to Acclaim. Students typically use their own recording devices for this (smartphone, webcam, etc.). A nice feature of Acclaim is that students can also simply login to the program and begin recording with their webcam. When they are finished, they just submit the video and it uploads.
Once videos are uploaded, the critiquing happens not only instructor-to-student but also student-to-student, or within “peer groups”. Peer-to-peer comments tend to be more thorough when completed through Acclaim than when only written in the classroom; we help students through this process by providing instructions on how to critique others.
Lastly, students also take part in self-critiques. The ability to watch videos on Acclaim in the comfort of your own home helps quite a bit with this. Students can use comments from the instructor and peers to craft their self-critique.
Q: What are/were the outcomes, lessons learned, benefits and continued applications of Acclaim in your course(s)?
JM: We see several benefits, one being the accessibility of the video content and the other being the ability to archive for future assessment, much like a video library. Professors and TA’s alike can go back to older content and review overall progress, which works very well as an accountability and back up tool.
Additionally, we have learned the value of the batch upload system and the stellar Acclaim trouble shooting staff. When rare glitches do occur, the staff is quick to solve the problem and help both instructor and student move forward.
Q: Any concluding thoughts or comments?
JM: Our experience with Acclaim has been excellent. They have been able to support our technological needs and provide ideal customer service!