Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quiz as a Motivating Factor?

March 27, 2012

In the student survey I posted about last week, one of my students mentioned having a difficult time accessing the homework videos through YouTube on her Smart Phone.  I had the videos set to semi-private (only accessible with a link) since I embedded them onto our class web-site, Edmodo.  As much as I dislike the idea of my video lectures being public on YouTube, I did it for my students!   

This past week students were assigned a homework lecture on Human Heredity.  They were informed that there would be a quiz over the information on the day their notes were due and that they could use their notes on the quiz.  Students were given the usual one week time frame to complete the assignment. 

My General Biology students had a participation rate of 34% (34 out of 99) and my Practical Biology students only had a return rate of .04% (1 out of 28).  This averages out to a 28% participation rate for the week.  It does appear that a quiz over the video seems to be a motivating factor for about 34% of my General Biology students but not much of one for my Practical Biology students.

I find it interesting that in the 5 weeks I’ve been assigning video lectures, I have yet to get a higher than 39% participation rate.  It’s frustrating because I can see the benefits for the students that do participate.  I also hear so much about the many teachers having success with this Flipped Classroom model, but in my classes the students just don’t want to put in the time to watch a 6 to 8 minute video lecture as homework.  I wonder if it’s because I am only semi-flipping?  Perhaps if students had videos to watch everyday rather than only once a week my results would be different.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Participation Wanes / Interesting Survey Results

Weeks of February 27th and March 5th, 2012

During the past two weeks students have not been as motivated to complete their video homework assignments as they were in week two.  So far, week two was the most motivating for students (see previous post), perhaps because I offered them the opportunity to use their notes on a quiz the next class period.  I will extend the same offer again this week to see if the number of completed video notes will increase, perhaps there is a correlation.
As usual, students were given one week’s notice about the homework videos and they were reminded about them each class period (A/B block).  Students were assigned a Genetic Code video lecture due on March 1st and a second video lecture on Selective Breeding which was due on March 6th.   As you can see from the graph, student participation dropped for both of the video lectures.  Return rates for Practical Biology were 14% for both assignments and for General Biology the return rates were 31% and 28% respectively. 
I also created a voluntary survey which 59 students completed (45%).  Below I have included some of the more interesting responses for you to review.  After each question students were asked to explain their answers but I thought for the sake of this blog I could let the numbers speak for themselves.  Please let me know if you’d like more details about the student's input on any of the selected items.

What do you think of the video lectures when compared to classroom lectures?
I learn better from the short video lectures that I can watch at my own pace.           20   34%
Both ways of learning work equally for me. No preference.                                       19   32%
I learn better from the longer, more in depth, classroom lectures.                             20   34%

If you HAVE watched a video lecture as homework, please mark the reasons why.

It's the only way I can get credit for the assignment.                                                 23      53%
So I can work in peer review groups during class.                                                    15      35%
So I can participate in the activity stations during the next class period.                   28      65%
So I can take my time and learn the material at my own pace.                                  23     53%
I want to do well in this class.                                                                                     29     67%
To get good grades.                                                                                                   31     72%
So I don't have to make up the activity stations on my own time.                              29     67% 
So I can do well on the quiz over the lecture video notes.                                         30     70%
People may select more than one check box, so percentages may add up to more than 100%

If you HAVE NOT watched a video lecture as homework please mark the reasons why.
I never do homework.                                                                                                                                6     20%
One week isn't enough time to complete the assignment.                                                                        5     17%
I don't have access to YouTube, a DVD player, a computer, the computer lab or the public library.       10    33%
I forget.                                                                                                                                                      24    80% 
I don't know how to access the homework videos.                                                                                     0      0%
I don't care about learning.                                                                                                                          0      0% 
I would rather get no credit and do it during class time.                                                                              1      3%
People may select more than one check box, so percentages may add up to more than 100%..

So far I have been unable to really experience a true flip due to lack of student participation.  I have noticed that students who are watching the videos and participating in the activity stations seem to have a much deeper understanding of the material which was my goal with the flip, but how do I get everyone on board?