“Students live in a digital age and have an immediacy expectation. Waiting a day is too much. With a webcam, students can watch themselves immediately.” – Brent Sleasman

Brent Sleasman is an Associate Professor of Communication at Gannon University in Erie Pennsylvania. He teaches courses in Public Speaking and Human Communication and Society.

In the Spring of 2014, Brent included two Acclaim-based activities in his Human Communication Skills and Society class.

The first activity was a reaction to a speech given by Mary Fisher, an outspoken advocate for HIV research, at the 1982 Republican National Convention. The second activity included comprehensive self-evaluation as well as peer-evaluation. Professor Sleasman first recorded his students practicing their speeches  in class with a webcam. After the speeches, students were assigned to assess their own performance through a series of prompts. These prompts asked students to reflect on their growth and progress, on remaining areas needing improvement, and on course concepts that helped them to build their skills as a speaker. A final question asked them what course of action they would need to become a perfect public speaker.

“I was able to see how a successful presentation is conducted, and to recognize proper stance, eye contact, and voice projection. It was great to be able to reflect on what works well and what doesn’t not only from watching myself, but also from reviewing other student speeches” – Student from class survey

For peer evaluations, students were assigned to provide constructive feedback to one other peer within the class. Commenting points included 1) if the speaker effectively conveyed his main idea 2) areas of strength and 3) a suggestion for improvement.

At the end of the course, Professor Sleasman conducted a voluntary survey surrounding his students’ experience with Acclaim. Fourteen out of twenty students in the course completed the survey.

“More assignments on Acclaim would benefit the class discussions even more” – Student from class survey

Professor Sleasman was also very satisfied with his experience. In previous semesters, he explained that after recording student speeches, it took several hours to upload the videos online. He liked that Acclaim provides a webcam feature, which allows him to upload the videos directly to the site as he was recording. He explains that this benefits the students as well. “Students,” Professor Sleasman said, “live in a digital age and have an immediacy expectations. Waiting a day is too much. With a webcam, students can watch themselves immediately.” Students also come to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses with more realism. When it came to grading, Sleasman stated, “Students were prepared for exactly how I would evaluate them.”

Here’s more data from the class survey: