Pedagogy First: Preserving Core Experiences in the Online Learning Environment
Concurrent Session 9
We were tasked with creating an online introduction to entrepreneurship class for undergraduates to explore their interest. One key element of the course that needed to be replicated was impromptu speaking – an essential part of being an entrepreneur – and how we would accomplish a true impromptu experience asynchronously. Our proposed solution is an application that will pull randomly from a bank of pre-populated prompts or topics for each student, allow us to set the preparation time and time limit for the response, automatically submit the video and display the submissions in a gallery-type space that also allows for commenting and feedback.
Cookie-cutter technology solutions are an issue many instructional designers, technologists, and faculty face as they work to provide technology-enhanced learning experiences for 21st century students. Too often, settling for the available tool set means adapting learning experiences to fit the chosen solution.
Our challenge is to create an impromptu speaking tool that maintains the integrity of the experience: a randomly assigned topic, limited time to prepare, and only one chance to give the speech. In the face-to-face class, students would typically draw a slip from a hat, take their 30 seconds of prep time, get up in front of the class and give their speech. Classmates and the instructor offer feedback immediately afterward, and then it’s on to the next student.
Our solution needs to not only replicate but improve on the feedback portion of this experience to provide students with a real opportunity to practice and reflect on this essential entrepreneurial skill. The tool also needs to move the technology out of the student’s way, allowing them to focus on completing the task. And it has to work within all the parameters that other technology applications must comply with, such as working with our CMS.
There are definitely workarounds and tools that would produce a similar experience, but that would mean settling for what’s available and changing the assignment as a result. Our team is striving to change that formula. Rather than letting technology drive instructional decisions, our proposed solution puts pedagogy first.
Our app will allow us to build various impromptu speaking-style assignments and give the students a seamless experience from start to finish. It will randomly assign them a topic, start a countdown for their preparation time, and automatically turn on their webcam when it’s time to record. Once the time is up, the video will automatically process and upload to the course gallery, where students can offer feedback and suggestions on each other’s speeches. In addition, our app will give students an opportunity to test and troubleshoot their technology before they begin the experience. This app will provide online students a chance to sit down, engage with and apply a core course objective in a way that meets the needs of online students.