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Engaging students through online video homework assignments: A case study in a large-enrollment ecology and evolution course
  • Laci Gerhart,
  • Brittany Anderton
Laci Gerhart
University of California Davis
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Brittany Anderton
iBiology
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Abstract

Online educational videos have the potential to enhance undergraduate biology learning, for example by showcasing contemporary scientific research and providing content coverage. Here, we describe the integration of nine videos into a large-enrollment introductory evolution and ecology course via weekly homework assignments. We predicted that videos that feature research stories from contemporary scientists could reinforce topics introduced in lecture and provide students with novel insights into the nature of scientific research. Using qualitative analysis of open-ended written feedback from the students on each video assigned throughout the term (n=133-229 responses per video), we identified ten common themes in student perspectives. On the whole, the video homework assignments received more positive than negative comments and all videos received comments suggesting that they were engaging and contributed to learning goals. We discuss opportunities and challenges for the use of online educational videos in teaching ecology and evolution, and we provide guidelines instructors can use to integrate them into their courses.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

02 Jun 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
09 Jun 2020Assigned to Editor
09 Jun 2020Submission Checks Completed
13 Jun 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
29 Jun 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
02 Jul 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor