I Didn't Know That Animals Did That!! Student-Produced Zoology Vodcasts

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Amongst the courses I have had the honor to work with this semester is Associate Professor Sehoya Cotner's Zoology class (BIOLOGY 2012).  In this class, students are producing vodcasts that describe a recent study in the field.  This assignment is part of Sehoya's work through the OIT Fellows program to redesign Zoology curriculum, and the student support piece came as a referral to us from Lauren Marsh (OIT) - thanks Lauren!

This collaboration is notable for Library Media Services on multiple levels:
  • it represents our first foray into the natural sciences
  • it is completely based on scholarly research (students have to select a recent article in the field and communicate the content through video with grading criteria on producing content that is accessible and engaging to non-Biologists)
  • it is an innovative pedagogical approach (students asking each other questions)
  • it is content born open (anyone can view)
  • it is large scale (at least 25 groups of 3-4), but structured in a way so as not to overwhelm support resources (2-3 group vodcasts due a week throughout the semester)

What students are learning beyond Zoology..
  • that they can demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate complex issues such as animal research in an accessible manner to multiple audiences...
  • that they can demonstrate this communication through video production (multimedia) and within a social media context (Posterous) assists in the development of digital media literacy skill sets on multiple levels...
  • that they can also demonstrate the ability to work in groups collaboratively, ability to diversify responsibilities, and meet project deadlines in order to deliver a quality product in a limited time frame. 

Aside from the subject knowledge acquisition, I think most folks would agree that all of these are skill sets that are invaluable (and frankly, marketable in this competitive job environment), further reasons why these opportunities should be encouraged in undergraduate education.

Why other faculty should consider student vodcasts...
This kind of project is easily applicable across disciplines, has a low barrier for students without extensive media production experience, and moderately easy to support from a campus resource perspective.  As such, I would encourage more faculty to consider integrating this type of assignment into their courses.  Media use in the type of presentation genre is also slowly taking shape in academic scholarship as well.   I look forward to seeing all the student projects as the semester progresses and continuing our dialogue with Sehoya!

Check out the project site!! http://zoologyvods.posterous.com/

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This page contains a single entry by Scott Spicer published on March 9, 2011 1:12 PM.

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