Newsletter 28: Engaging Students with Recorded Lectures

One of the challenges with online or flipped courses is engaging the students with the content. When students are sitting in front of you in a classroom, you can see if their attention is wandering. If they are watching your recorded lecture, how can you keep their attention?  Following the theory that ‘if you want them to do it, grade it’, one way to keep students’ attention is to embed quizzes into your lectures. Sara Botkin piloted this pedagogy/technology in Spring 2018 and this is her experience.

Sara Botkin, Instructor of Mathematics

This semester I decided to try flipping my College Algebra class, in hopes that I could differentiate more effectively, create an active learning environment, and better help struggling students.  Much to my dismay, I found that students refused to watch the lecture videos before class.  Thus, the in-class activities were challenging, and sometimes impossible, for students who didn’t watch the videos.  I quickly realized that I needed to grade the lectures in order for my students to watch them.  I started by randomly grading notes, but found that even this didn’t seem to motivate my students to watch the videos.  The note grading also took significant class time.  I then decided that I needed to track students’ video progress, but I found the tools available within Blackboard to be unsatisfactory.

At this point, I sought the assistance of Beverly Riddell, who helped me figure out a solution to this problem.  Beverly showed me how to upload my videos to Panopto, which is accessed from within Blackboard.  She helped me create a location in my course for the lecture videos and showed me how to create small quizzes within the videos.  The quizzes appear within the video, and students must answer the quiz question(s) to progress.  After the due date, I download the quiz results and enter them as homework grades. The next time I teach the flipped course, I will have the quiz results automatically update a column in the Blackboard Grade Center.

Adding the quizzes to the videos has made a tremendous difference in my class.  The majority of my students are regularly watching the lecture videos and answering the quiz questions by the due date.  Many of my students say that the quizzes encourage them to pay more attention to the content in the videos.  Overall, I’m very pleased with Panopto and the embedded quizzes.

Here are a few tips if you’re looking to use Panopto in Blackboard for video lectures and embedded quizzes:

  1. Students should use a computer, not a phone or tablet, to complete the quizzes.Each quiz has several settings that can be selected.  You can choose whether to allow students to retake the quiz, advance without taking the quiz, see the quiz grade, etc.
  2. You’ll need to select these settings each time you create a quiz.
  3. You can upload an existing video or record a video using the Panopto Recorder
More information about Panopto and Quizzes is here:  

Previous Instructional Technology Newsletters are located here:

About the Committee:
The Instructional Technology Committee at Mary Baldwin College is a faculty committee made up of representatives from the faculty and Instructional Technology staff at MBC. Members of the Current Committee are:

Doreen Bechtol
Paul Callo
Carol Creager
Doris Dodson
Emily Ely
George Guba
Joe Johnson

Carolyn Moore 
Reid Oechslin
Beverly Riddell
Kari Salois
Carey Usher

The charter of the committee is to:

  • Provide a forum for input to the Instructional Technology staff on the relative value of technological improvements from a pedagogical perspective.
  • Be a champion and example for technology enhanced teaching within their schools
  • Try out new technologies that seem promising
  • Develop and share best practices & rubrics for technology enhanced teaching
  • Recommend equipment and management for mixed use (instructional and non-instructional) space
  • This committee meets as necessary.