“We are not just prolific, scientific researchers, but we are also excellent teachers and so as a college our faculty shine in different ways,” said Ms. Alison Oberne, faculty instructor for the bachelor of science in public health and USF College of Public Health alumna.
For the past year and a half, Ms. Oberne has been focusing on publishing three different research papers relating to teaching methods.
Her third publication, “I can see you! Using videos in online courses to promote student engagement,” was accepted in March by the Journal of Teaching and Learning with Technology.
The publication details a way for online classes to be more innovative when using discussion boards. Rather than having students just write their discussion posts, students record video posts so that they get to see one another and have a more personal connection to the class.
Ms. Oberne had the idea to start using videos to facilitate discussion in her online courses about three semesters ago when she started to post weekly video announcement for her students.
“I feel like a lot of the time students don’t really connect with their instructors in online courses. Typically they don’t know my name or what I look like. I felt like there wasn’t that much of a personal connection so I started to record weekly announcements,” Ms. Oberne said. “It got me thinking, they can see me so why can’t I see them? Why can’t they see each other? That’s what really sparked the idea for developing the video discussion posts.”
During her research into how to promote student success in online learning, she found that millennial learners thrive with interactivity in a community format. This set the foundation for her online video teaching method.
She currently has video posts implemented in her Public Health Seminar: Public Health Film online course. Students watch different movies related to public health themes and then post a 3-5 minute video discussion on the movie along with a research paper describing how the movie is concerned to public health using research and real-life applications.
Her classes of about 40 are split into small groups. Only members within the group see each other’s video posts. After they all post their videos, the group members comment on one another’s videos and provide in-depth reasoning on why they either agree or disagree with their group member’s video response.
Students are allowed to use their computer, tablet, or phone to record their assignments.