OPEN EDUCATION VIDEOS IN THE CLASSROOM: EXPLORING THE OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS TO THE USE OF YOUTUBE IN TEACHING INTRODUCTORY SOCIOLOGY
There is an enormous and growing amount of freely available video resources online and this is a substantial and useful educational resource. This includes content developed by academics and universities, professionally produced ‘edutainment’ content produced for a mass market, or user generated content from students, non-academics or the wider public. This content is available through a variety of channels such as YouTube and the BBC iPlayer, and has the potential to dramatically alter the learning and teaching environment, but what are the implications for incorporating videos into the classroom when the students already have ready access?
The incorporation of video as a teaching tool is nothing new, the potential to enhance teaching practice by incorporating multimedia elements is well known and its adoption relatively widespread. The practice and pedagogy of this are well established and observable across all forms of education. However what is new and warrants investigation is how the recent and growing availability of open video teaching resources impacts upon existing practice. This is related to debates about Open Education Resources, but video resources are particularly amenable to being incorporated within class sessions in a way that other resources are not and this creates new pedagogic issues.
This change in the landscape presents an uncomfortable environment for teachers seeking to enhance their teaching with the incorporation of video. Is this practice still effective and valid, as students have access to all the resources they could require, and can do this independently of class time? What exactly is the role of the teacher now that their traditional status as the gatekeeper to information has been wrested from them? In an increasingly pressured economic climate, is the use of resources that are freely available to the general public acceptable to fee paying students? How do students perceive the validity of these resources as teaching tools? What are the potential advantages of incorporating video content in class? What are effective strategies for doing this?
This paper is the result of a project* which examined these issues in relation to the development of a playlist and the use of videos in teaching an introductory social sciences class to a diverse student body (including a large proportion of mature and international students). A series of focus groups were held exploring the following issues:
1. How students use video content in their own independent learning, how they assess the quality of videos and the role of the teacher in helping shape their criteria for this process.
2. How teacher facilitated consumption of video in class differs from independent self directed consumption elsewhere; students’ perceptions as to the added value of the experience. Effective strategies for incorporating video content in class.
3. To what extent does this availability further reinforce the change in the lecturers' role from sage on the stage to guide on the side? If the traditional activity of controlling the access to information has been removed, does this have implications for classroom dynamics and politics?
* - This project was funded by C-SAP the subject network within the UK’s Higher Education Academy concerned with teaching and learning in sociology, anthropology and politics. More information about the project can be found at http://wp.me/pJwaH-1K