Using DVDs in lectures

This morning’s lecture was a bit of a hotch-potch of various things.  It started with student module feedback questionnaires, a fairly short process if all the students are there, but with latecomers and people not coming with pens, not understanding the difference between a tick and a cross, it became drawn out.  Apparantly though we have one of the highest return rates of all modules, which has to be good – we get the statistics much later in the year.

Then it was housekeeping, informing them of hand in dates, details of next lecture again, which then had to be repeated for those still coming in.

The ‘main feature’ was a DVD about the Data Protection Act.  Now I’ve had to sit through this more times than I care to imagine, but it’s fairly good at putting what can be very dry legislation in an approachable way.  The students did sit through it OK, and I’m pleased that the technology worked fine – I did have concerns so was in the lecture theatre an hour earlier checking the player and speakers all worked OK.

I learned very early on in my lecturing career that after students have sat and watched a video, they will not be sparkling with energy and enthusiasm.  I did not go through the interactive quiz on the DVD therefore, but dived (dove?) straight into the final part of the morning session, a lecture on an obscure management theory about IT development.  To give students their due, they did seem fairly well engaged, and those that weren’t didn’t snore too loudly.

Overall I think the session could have benefited from a clearer separation between the different tasks, and some activities where the students could have participated more.  DVDs are a great learning resource, but they do demand that the student is passive.  Splitting the DVD into chapters and only showing parts assumes that the student can maintain interest over a longer time period, and recall what went before.  I think before I use the DVD again, I’ll prepare a ‘quiz’ for the students to complete as they go through – even if it’s a ‘pop quiz’ asking trivia as they go along may provide greater engagement.

I’m in deepest Norfolk  visiting a placement student at this company tomorrow.  Have a good weekend everyone.

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