This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Curtis Izen.
Students taking my online Principals of Management Information Systems course are required to contribute in weekly VoiceThreads, submit case study assignments, work on a group project and complete an individual research paper. The majority of their efforts are shared or developed with the entire class as it’s completed. Classmates are able to contribute their knowledge to other peers, who in turn, learn from their findings and insight. I trust this pedagogy is similar in many courses taught in a variety of disciplines.
One of the most time consuming and high stakes assignments is the individual research paper. Students are tasked with spending a great deal of effort and time from the semester completing this. They need to find a topic they are deeply interested in, propose the topic for acceptance, create an outline, research the topic, find and interview an outside specialist in the area of study, and conclude with an MLA style paper of 12-15 pages. Students often find this assignment the most challenging, yet fruitful one of the entire course. This project is unlike others in the course. It is sent to the instructor for grading without other students seeing or learning about the content submitted.
VoiceThread eliminates this barrier, allowing the entire class to learn from every classmate’s research. One of the final VoiceThread assignments (see Figure Below) involves students creating a video comment about 2 minutes explaining their researched topic, describing how their explored subject connects to the advances in a given business or industry and concludes with what they learned from their analysis. This allows students to deliver all their research in a unique methodology that’s summarized and explained to other peers.
Classmates are then asked to provide a threaded comment to another peer; providing insight as to what they found enlightening after reviewing their VoiceThread video comment. This creates a dynamic engagement on an array of topics. Since all the VoiceThread comments are up, students can simply watch and listen to all the classmate’s commentaries. If you’re considering a way to have an individual research paper or assignment benefit the entire class, VoiceThread can be used to make this advantageous.
About the Author:
Curtis Izen is a senior information associate and VoiceThread Certified Educator. Curtis adjuncts online and face to face courses at Baruch College and the School of Professional Studies at the City University of New York. Curtis is passionate on bringing new philosophies and technology into the curriculum. He is a 2 time recipient of the Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching and Pedagogy at Baruch College.