Sunday, February 26, 2012

Motivation to do Homework is Increasing

Week of February 20th to 25th
On February 14th, my students were assigned a 7 minute video lecture on protein synthesis.  The due date for their modified Cornell notes was February 24th giving students 10 days (which included a four day weekend) to complete the assignment.  I have decided to give my students a week’s notice for their homework videos so those without computer access will have time to use a school computer or go to the public library.  So far only three students have checked out a USB drive in order to watch the videos.

The chart below is comparing the completion rate of the first assignment to the completion rate of the second assignment.  You'll notice there's been a big improvement, but we still have a ways to go.  None of my Practical Biology students completed their first assignment, but this time 37% did!  This is very close to the 39% completion rate I had from my General Biology students.  This means I had a completion rate of 38% from all of my classes, quite an improvement from the 13% completion rate I had last time.  Student motivation to do their homework has increased this week and I'm interested to find out why.
Students that had completed their homework were put into peer teaching groups to discuss their notes and answer each other’s questions. During their discussions I had each group draw a picture story of the key concept (protein synthesis) on the back of their worksheets. As I walked around to each group I had them explain their story which allowed me to assess their level of understanding. I could then clarify misunderstandings within their small groups or with specific individuals.  The students that did not have their notes done had to watch the video and take notes during this peer teaching time.
I had prepared a brief nine question quiz over the content that was covered in the video, but not as an assessment of understanding.  I allowed students to use their notes on the quiz so they could see the importance of detailed notes and how sharing what they’ve learned with others can increase comprehension. 

Here is an example of the modified Cornell notes sheet I have my students fill out.  They have the option of submitting them online via Edmodo or hand writing the notes and turning them in during class.
Students will now be assigned one video lecture a week.  I will focus these lectures on the Biology content students often have difficulty understanding.  So far I have been impressed at the level of comprehension my students are demonstrating after their peer discussion groups and one on one teacher assistance.  I’m anxious to get some student feedback from another Google survey this week. 
What do you think motivates, or would motivate, students to watch video lectures as homework?


  1. Question for you - if students only have one video lecture to watch each week, what does their other hw look like throughout the week? Do you have to cover any material in class that isn't talked about on the single video?

    One question I consider as far as motivation goes is in terms of class time... do the students who watch the video/do my "WSQ" feel better off/more successful than the students who didn't? Do they feel like when they come to class and participate that spending the time watching the video was worth their time?

  2. My students do not have any homework unless they need more time to complete a project that we worked on in class.

    I am keeping the "traditional" lecture, discussion, practice, project model on the days we do not have a video lecture to work through. I am providing both styles of teaching so students can get a feel for how they are different and for what they ultimately prefer and learn better from. I am hoping this will also provide me with insight into whether there is an increase in intrinsic motivation for the Flip model.

    I'm trying to limit the videos to the more difficult concepts so students have the option of rewatching the content that was presented. It’s also so I don't get too overwhelmed all at once! As you know, it is very time consuming to plan, shoot and upload the videos.

    Thanks for the thoughts!


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