6 Academic Video Tips That Help You Out-recruit, Outperform and Out-retain: Strategies from University of Maryland Dental

Effective use of video can transform teaching and learning

When a student gets accepted to a top-10 ranked program like the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, they’re entering the most challenging, rigorous educational environment they’ll ever experience. But, due to the fact that the school is one of the earliest pioneers and most prolific users of academic video, it’s also one of the most supportive environments. In this web seminar, presenters discussed how the school has turned the tables on traditional teaching and learning, and in the process cultivated more engaged, successful and higher-performing students while positively impacting every stage of the student experience, from recruitment to graduation and beyond.

Sean Brown
Senior Vice President
Sonic Foundry

James F. Craig
Professor in the Division of Dental Public Health
Educational consultant
University of Maryland

Our science courses have a lot of visual content, cover lots of terminology, and often require a front-row seat for learning. Also, one of the things our dean has asked is that our content be available for students 24/7. To meet this demand, we use three primary systems: Blackboard, Mediasite, and Questionmark. Our department is responsible for maintaining those, and for getting them up and running. By far, our favorite is Mediasite.

Our classroom is equipped with touch-screen technology. The instructor has the ability to control any of the features within the classroom. We’ve also made those same controls available in the control room—so if a faculty member forgets to turn something on or off or forgets to change something, our background person is able to go in and do that without interrupting the presentation. We have video cameras in the front and the back of the rooms, and when we have special events we have control over camera angles.

Another resource we have is our simulation laboratory, which simulates a dental practice. We have a screen that enables students to see exactly what a faculty member is demonstrating through a special camera and captured via Mediasite. The students can see it live, and once the faculty member has completed the demonstration, he or she can actually walk around and provide individual assistance as the students re-watch the recording.

When we’re recruiting, prospective students get tours of our facilities from our juniors and seniors. One of the things that’s always mentioned by our juniors and seniors is how important Mediasite is in capturing all lectures to accommodate different student learning styles. From the day they enter dental school to the day they graduate, every lecture in dentistry and dental hygiene is captured. So this content is available for them 24/7 from start to finish of their degree. Sixty-nine percent of new students say they were attracted to the school because of Mediasite, and 83 percent of our graduates say they will recommend Maryland because of the provisions that we have for Mediasite to assist incoming students.

Even an incoming student on their first day can go to our password-protected Mediasite catalog and look at anything in the curriculum—a senior lecture, junior lecture, basic science, clinical science demonstrations. It’s all available.

Most of our students don’t watch the lecture while it’s being presented. They like to watch it a few hours later, and most of them watch it a day or two following, or three to five days following, which could be on the weekend. This shows the flexibility we have because of Mediasite, which enables students to determine the best time to view the content. All of this data is available through Mediasite’s analytics dashboard, so we can access that information at any time.

Another thing to look at is what time of day do they do view it? Most of them are viewing it in the early evening, between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. But you still have the early birds who watch it between midnight and 6:00 a.m.—maybe those are the students who have children, and they figure they’re going to be up anyway, so why not watch the Mediasite presentation?

Students often ask: Do I need to attend the lecture? Our dean has indicated that attendance is not mandatory, and we know that students feel that they should be able to make their own choice whether or not to attend. The result is that 47 percent use Mediasite and attend lectures occasionally, and 19 percent use just Mediasite.

We’ve had graduating seniors say they never attended a basic science lecture, and yet they still ended up graduating with honors or high honors. We find that students frequently have difficulty coordinating their schedules, particularly at the onset of the program, so they’re trying to determine the best study method to achieve success in the curriculum. It takes some getting used to, if you’re not going to go to lectures, to structure yourself to ensure you get all your course content.

Ninety-six percent of our students say that Mediasite made it easier to learn, and 53 percent say it helped them on the board examination. And they love the fact that it’s available anytime, anyplace. They like the stop-start and the pause features, and their favorite aspect of Mediasite is the speed control. They also like that they can make up a missed class, enabling them to manage their time more effectively. We used to refer to students having to face “death by PowerPoint” when viewing lectures, but with Mediasite, having the ability to control and speed up the lecture helps them along.

Another important consideration to explore is the effective use of the medium. We’ve had faculty who have recorded lectures because they’re going to be out of the country or out of school for some reason, and so they just record their lecture beforehand without the students.

Mediasite also plays into public relations. We get a lot of views of our dean’s State of the School address. For alumni who aren’t able to attend, for people who aren’t at the school at that time, they can go back and watch the address later. Student ceremonies captured for parents are another popular video resource. Students from other countries or students with large families often can’t get everybody to attend because it’s too costly. So we capture the presentation, do some post-production work on it, and then make that available on our website for all parents and extended family to see.

We’ve also used Mediasite for faculty and staff development, and for doing clinical demonstrations of new procedures for faculty to see. We’ve had visitors from across the state and the country come to visit us to see how we’re using Mediasite and talk to our faculty and students. We’ve had representatives visit from schools in other countries. In fact, we are working with a school in a foreign country right now which has acquired our entire curriculum, including Mediasite.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, please go to: www.universitybusiness.com/ws012215


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