HealthApril 14, 2020

Lights, camera, action...using digital video to engage students

By Lisa Shustack

Engaging students in distance learning continues to be a challenge for nurse educators, especially for those who may have been thrust into the digital world unexpectedly. 

Transitioning to online learning involves a learning curve for both the student and the faculty. Understanding that online learning is more than just posting a PowerPoint presentation and a discussion question is of the utmost importance for educators to ensure students are staying engaged and motivated in the online classroom. Students who are not motivated to sit at the computer, log-in to class and participate in a synchronous or asynchronous digital lecture will quickly fall behind, putting them in academic jeopardy. It is therefore, the responsibility of the educator to think outside the box, utilize their academic creativity skills and develop innovative teaching strategies that will entice students into your online classroom.

Digital videos

One-way educators can utilize their academic creativity through the creation of exciting content videos. For many years, video has been one of the most dynamic mediums in which stories can be told or important content shared. The idea of creating an exciting video can be daunting for educators who are already feeling the time constraints of adjusting to online learning. However, with the numerous internet applications available, creating a content video that is well-designed, exciting and professional is as simple as a tap on an app!

A digital video can be used in multiple ways within the classroom as a great way to break the monotony of reading online content or replying with text to discussion boards. Since digital videos are simple to create, they can be used as both a teaching and learning tool. Students in an online classroom need to be active and reactive viewers, comprehending and critiquing, reading and reacting, getting and giving knowledge. Creating multiple avenues for students to actively participate in an online class other than simply writing responses and listening to lectures differentiates the online class in order to meet the needs of diverse learning styles. Educators want their students to be active learners but also critical thinkers. Here are some great ideas for using digital video to engage students and increase content comprehension.

Movie trailers

What is a movie trailer and what does it have to do with online learning? A movie trailer is a short preview of a piece of content, which demonstrates scenes and the general plot and mood of a piece of media, in order to garner interest. In general, trailers are a way to promote and entice viewers to watch the film or tune in for the next episode in a series. Consider these motives and how that can be applied to your online class. Creating a short movie trailer clip of an upcoming online lecture or weekly content is an unexpected and lighthearted way to grab your student’s attention when they are not in your face-to-face classroom. Movie trailers of your weekly content can be sent out in an announcement with the upcoming weekly learning objectives or added to the beginning of a recorded lecture. When creating a movie trailer for your class, the most important material can be highlighted in a way that students easily remember. Hollywood producers understand the importance of a trailer to draw in an audience, now it is time for educators to do the same! So, where do you start?

Movie video trailers can be made right from the palm of your hand with your smartphone. The iMovie application on IOS devices has ready-made templates that can be configured to include individualized content. By saving pictures or video clips to your smartphone photos, you can simply tap in the app to upload images and add titles specific to your weekly content. The iMovie application does all the rest. Take a look

Video discussion boards

Anyone who has taken an online class can attest to the mundane work of reading and posting replies to numerous, faceless students in online discussion boards. Videos created by students can be a great way to break the monotony and personalize classroom discussions. The Clips app is another easy tool for making fun videos that students can easily create and upload to online discussion boards. With a few taps, everyone in the discussion board can create and send messages or tell a quick story using video, animated text, music, emojis and fun stickers. Unleashing a student’s creativity while posting a discussion board response will not only lure students into the discussion to see everyone’s video but also allow them to showcase their individuality and create a more personal online learning experience.

Video role play to stimulate clinical judgment

Fostering clinical judgment is at the foundation of every nursing course. In a distance learning course, it becomes a challenge for students to demonstrate their ability to synthesize content. It also presents an evaluation obstacle for faculty. The use of video media presents opportunities for students to demonstrate their ability to apply content into real world situations. Having students create videos where they role play a patient with a particular diagnosis experiencing appropriate symptoms and asking the nurse questions is a great method for internalizing content. A fellow classmate can then create a nurse response video that includes patient teaching. Creating these videos can stimulate peer interaction, help students develop priority interventions and perform patient teaching. Capturing these elements in a video helps to exercise the student’s clinical judgment muscles while providing insight to the faculty on the student’s comprehension of course content.

...and action!

The opportunities for using digital video in an online classroom are endless and presents great opportunities to personalize the classroom while engaging students that may not be very familiar with distance learning. There are also numerous internet applications that are intuitive and user-friendly making video production look very professional even for the novice producer. At a time when many students are faced with the unexpected challenge to complete the academic year in a distance learning environment, it becomes significantly important for the faculty to find alternative and nontraditional pedagogical methods that facilitates learning, engagement and clinical judgement in students whose academic year has been turned upside down.

It is time to take a chance, free your creative teaching mind and discover new methods for content delivery.

Explore on nurse educators, explore on…and cut!

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