Transform Passive Video Watching into Engaged Interactive learning

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

Recorded lectures have become the new normal in teaching and learning, whether online or “offline” in traditional face-to-face classrooms.  Further transformation of recorded lectures into active learning experiences can be done by using PlayPosit, a tool for designing and sharing interactive video lessons.


Dr. Zhang taught her first class at the age of eleven. Since then, her passion for teaching has continued to grow. After eight years of medical school in China (Shandong University School of Medicine), she came to the United States and got her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Dr. Zhang has taught a wide range of basic medical science and clinical laboratory courses including anatomy, physiology, cell and molecular biology, molecular diagnostics, microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, pathophysiology, pathology, pharmacology and reproductive medicine at both the undergraduate and graduate level before joining the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. Dr. Zhang has been the recipient of many awards in speech competitions, presentations, and teaching during her school years, both in China and the United States. Since she began teaching online in 2004, Dr. Zhang has been interested in new technologies that bring teaching and learning to a new and higher level. She has been invited to host several national and international workshops in online teaching since 2009. Dr. Zhang enjoys reading, writing, painting, cooking, and nature in her free time.

Extended Abstract

As more and more college students juggle work and school, recorded lectures have helped many students keep up with their school work which otherwise can be a mission impossible.  Even for traditional face-to-face classes, students often find recorded lectures a convenient tool to catch up the difficult concepts, to acquire accurate notes, and to review past information.  Besides offering maximum flexibility to students, recorded lectures also provide new opportunities for teachers to improve their teaching.  Teachers use recorded lectures to develop online or hybrid courses or to flip the lecture-based classes. 

Have you ever wondered if your students watch the videos that you spend days and nights to make and edit?  If they watch them, have you wondered if they truly grasp the concepts you want them to master?  If you do not record your own lectures, do you know how to make the best use of online videos, transforming them into meaningful teaching and learning experiences for both you and your students?  In this session, the presenter will showcase how to transform recorded lectures or any online teaching videos into active learning by using PlayPosit, a tool for designing and sharing interactive video lessons.  Evidence of improvement in students’ learning will also be presented.

Using PlayPosit, the recorded lecture or any original videos published to YouTube, Vimeo, TeacherTube and others for school licenses can be easily cropped and edited based on specific learning objectives of the lesson.  Eight different assessment activities including multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, multiple answer or polling questions can be embedded anywhere within the recorded lecture.  Students’ understanding of the information is tested as they play the video and their performance on the activities is recorded in the grade book, which can be exported or integrated with the school’s LMS grading system.  No more wondering and no more guessing. The instructor can easily monitor the progress of each individual student and the whole class from the data analysis of students’ activities. 

PlayPosit values interaction and assessment, the two key components of teaching and learning.  The interactive recorded video lessons are not static but quite dynamic instead.  A variety of activities embedded within the video not only engage students better but also ensure that they master the knowledge and skills of the learning objectives.  The data collected by the program on students’ performance in those activities not only gives student immediate feedback on their learning but also offers insights to the instructor how well the students understand the information.  For example, the instructor can easily pinpoint the learning objective that is missed by specific number of the students from the “monitor” screen of the program.  Besides enabling students to interact with the course material in different ways from different perspectives, PlayPosit also promotes interactions between the teacher and the students by allowing students to evaluate the interactive recordings and provide feedback.  The instructor then learns from the students what needs to be changed or improved for the lessons.  The instant feedback on teaching from students provides a useful tool for teachers to optimize their teaching on a constant basis. 

            Data from a comparison study illustrates how PlayPosit can improve students’ learning.  During the session, students’ performances on the same set of exams from the two classes are compared side by side.  One class uses traditional static recorded lectures with no interactive activities embedded; the other class uses the interactive video lessons that are converted from the same set of static recordings using PlayPosit.  The class using the interactive video lessons scored significantly higher than the class that used traditional static recordings.

Play with PlayPosit, transform passive video watching into engaged interactive learning.  This fun and easy to use tool can surely make your flipped, online, or blended teaching more effective.