Drumming Up Magic: Using Mobile-Based Video Journals for Skill Assessment in a Flipped Music Ensemble Class

Workshop Session 1
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Brief Abstract

This workshop will teach participants how to build a flipped classroom hybrid model for mastery of physical skills that uses video journals for content delivery and assessment. Through partner activities and group discussion, participants leave with tangible tools that are transferable across any content, subject, or discipline.

Presenters

Dr. Karen Rege currently serves as the Director for eLearning and Instructional Resources for Harford Community College in Bel Air, MD. Dr. Rege is an alumnus of the Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning (IELOL), serves on the boards of directors for both Maryland Online and Quality Matters. She is also a trained musicologist and professional musician who released an album of original compositions in 2014. Dr. Rege plays both piano and African drums.
Robin Armstrong has a PhD in musicology from The University of Michigan. She teaches general music, world music, and making music in face to face, online, and hybrid classrooms.

Extended Abstract

What do you do when an adjunct instructor leaves in the middle of the semester for medical reasons and the replacement instructor lives an hour and a half away?  You reinvent the way class is delivered using a flipped classroom hybrid model supported with the use of video for content delivery and assessment created using readily available technologies.
 
This workshop will not only show participants how the design works, but will provide knowledge and tangible tools, e.g. assessment rubrics, sample parameters for video submission, etc. for participants to take to easily implement in any content, subject, discipline that includes mastery of physical skills.
 
The flipped class model has been used and discussed thoughtfully for years and has been found to be a productive way of engaging students (McLean et al 2016).  While content and process have been well-studied, what makes this workshop and our design project unique is that it focuses on the use of video not just for presenting the content, but for assessment.  And while the types of content most commonly flipped have been academic and informative in nature, this workshop is unique in that it uses the flipped model for physical, practical skill sets rather than the consumption of information.  In this case, the design was for an African drumming ensemble class and assessment of the mastery of physical skills is rarely completed online, particularly in music which has been a discipline slow to develop in online learning. In fact, few music courses feature the hybrid model, and none that we know of use the flipped classroom for performance ensembles.
 
The presenters, a music faculty member and an eLearning director with a music background, teamed up to create a course design that facilitates engaging learning activities in a hybrid classroom where there were some sticky time management issues to resolve. The skill sets taught in West African drumming are grounded in activities that can only be practiced in groups, so class time had to be reserved for group-based activities, leaving no time for individual assessment. And, logistically, the face-to-face ensemble practice could only be held once per week.
 
This scheme of using student-created videos for assessment of skill mastery, arose from a need to evaluate a practical, physical skill from afar. It worked so well, that by the end of the term it was apparent it would serve this purpose for any physical skill-based, experiential learning activities.  Qualitative data initially gathered from the students through discussion board postings and self-reflection papers indicated an increase in engagement in the course and more time on task, as opposed to when the course was taught completely face-to-face.
 
At the end of initial course, when students were asked to reflect on what they learned during their class, many discussed how much the video assignments helped them by holding them accountable for practicing the skill sets both individually and in small groups.  We used the anecdotal information to purposefully revise the course from an emergency midterm solution to a full hybrid entity of its own.
 
For the design work of the new course, we used the Learning Environment Model (LEM) to build in further instructor feedback, teamwork, and both formative and summative assessment with grading rubrics. We also used the LEM model to help us determine how to place and assess mastery of content related to African culture into the course as required by the course learning objectives which was then assessed through quizzes and discussion boards in Blackboard.
The newly designed course uses simple, ubiquitous technologies like the video function on smartphones and the Blackboard learning management system.  Students were asked to download the Blackboard mobile app so that they could have the content videos readily available when practicing. Most traditional age students are quite comfortable viewing and creating videos using their smartphone, and current technologies allow for high enough video quality that no editing is required before submission.  Students only needed to videotape themselves, load it to a free commonly used video storage platform like YouTube or Vimeo, and place the link in the assignment in Blackboard. Instructor feedback was provided to each  through Blackboard with follow up face-to-face in class or office hours as necessary.
 
 
We will begin the workshop contextualizing our use of video logs as assessment tools with the tales of our experiences and through interactive exercises that actively demonstrate the problems we needed to solve. Through dialog with participants, we will discuss the relevance of the course design to other fields and disciplines. We will share anecdotal results of our new design, planned improvements, grading rubrics, and the gathered data about the efficacy of the videos as an assessment tool.  
The workshop will continue with hands-on paired experimentation. Participants will be asked to bring their mobile devices with video and internet capabilities, and to have created an account in an easily accessible, free video storage platform such as YouTube, Vimeo, or similar site. Participants will also be asked to bring their ideas for short, manageable, practical skills in their field which they will teach and assess.
During the interactive section of the workshop, participants will pair off, share skill sets, and collaborate on assessment videos for the skills taught.  Both will practice the skill individually, and then assist each other in using their smartphones to make short (15-30 second) videos of their newly-acquired skill, and send them to their choice of an online video platform.
 
When all participants have completed and uploaded their videos, we will facilitate a large-group discussion by sharing and viewing the videos made in the session.  Participants can share their reactions to making videos, ask questions they have on the process, and brainstorm ideas of how this might help their own class work.  
We will end this workshop by sharing our own grading rubrics, tips and best practices documents, and opening the discussion to all to brainstorm ideas of how to modify the rubrics to fit other fields, disciplines, and skill sets.
 
In conclusion, this workshop will present new methodologies for using student-centered activities through mobile video tools for not only content distribution, but assessment as well.  Participants will leave with concrete models and experience to design flipped classrooms that focus class time on skill building and teamwork in any discipline.