by Helena Kopecky
This semester is only my fourth teaching at ACC. I have been learning a lot about my students and I have been thinking about the ways I can connect with them and help them learn.
I started the semester open to new things. In the first class meeting, we did a group exercise in which students shared their long-term goals and dreams and brainstormed about how my class was going to help them reach their goals. There was energy, laughter and moments of reflective silence. I liked it and I hoped that my students got something out of it.
Then, just a few weeks later, my students took the first exam. When I saw the average score for one class, I sank into my chair. Upper 60s? Hmmm. In my other section of the same course scores were much higher, so I didn’t think I was simply grading too hard. My best guess was that it was a matter of how the students went about mastering the material, and it seemed as though no matter how much extra credit, in-class exercises, and practice quizzes I did, it wasn’t going to be enough.
This is what led me to launch my very first YouTube channel. I’m no technology genius, but it has been surprisingly easy. The first few videos offer general tips on goal setting and study skills. Since then, I have been adding short videos on lecture material every week. The purpose of these videos is two-fold. First, they offer a review of some of the material covered in the upcoming exam. Second, and perhaps more important, they demonstrate techniques on how to study the material.
My hope was that offering study tips on relevant class material will make trying out new strategies easier. Students can see a demo of how to learn something they need to know. They can then reenact the demo in their own way and decide whether it helped them learn. If a strategy works, they can add it to their tool box. If it doesn’t, they can try a different one.
As of now, my YouTube Channel is just over one month old—still very new. My plan is to get feedback from my students after the second exam about what was helpful and what was not, and to keep making changes as needed. I’m also very open to feedback from my colleagues—if you have any suggestions, please let me know! Nothing I do is the final product, but rather the first of many versions to come. My future YouTube Channel will probably look quite different from what it is today.
If you’d like to visit my YouTube Channel, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpMl1zyx9HFF8tCCkGlYo8g