Investigation the Effect of Short Videos on Student Learning in BISC 333

Grant recipient: Sherryl Bisgrove, Department of Biological Sciences

Project team: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Department of Biological Sciences, Kyle Simpson and Sophia Tsai, research assistants

Timeframe: July 2018 to August 2019

Funding: $6000

Course addressed: BISC 333 – Developmental Biology

Description: We have noticed that over about 10 years of teaching, the ability of students to read for information is declining.

A pair of enterprising teaching assistants made a series of short videos on a variety of foundational topics in biology, as a means of trying to help their undergraduate students grasp some essential concepts. We provided links to the videos on Canvas during our respective offerings of BISC 333. The students appeared to appreciate and utilize these videos in their studies. BISC 333 is a very challenging course, with a great deal of content, and an emphasis on comprehension and application rather than memorization.

We want to commission (from the graduate students) a series of short videos on key topics in developmental biology and assess their effectiveness in helping students learn these key concepts. If the videos are deemed to be effective, we would commission additional videos and incorporate them into our teaching.

We’d like to use both exam achievement and student perception data to assess the value of the videos.

Questions addressed:

  • What features of the videos we already have are important to students?
  • How interesting/helpful do students find the videos?
  • Do the short videos appear to enhance student understanding of the selected topics in BISC 333?

Dissemination: We could make a presentation on our findings and could certainly mention to interested colleagues over coffee. We might also distribute our report to interested colleagues or make a poster presentation for a conference (highly dependent on time availability), or perhaps the students involved could make a presentation.