For my final Mobile & Media Learning project, I created the first four episodes of a Spotlight Series for my spring 2016 Introduction to Literature online course. Although I have taught this course in a face-to-face classroom, I am redesigning my course for an online platform next semester.
As part of this redesign effort, I have decided to spotlight an issue or author each week as an introduction to each module. Developing content as part of an ongoing series can help to increase student engagement. They are watching an “episode” rather than a lecture, and the video spots help to diversify the material for the week. It’s an opportunity to introduce some of the concepts, themes, or other module objectives for the week. I structured each video to end with a “Thoughtful Spot,” a critical thinking question that I can use to transition into other curricular activities, such as a poll or other eCAT, an asynchronous discussion, or another segment of lecture or assignment material.
I had initially proposed a podcast series for the final project. During Unit 4 (Going Mobile), however, I discovered a mobile app called Adobe Voice. I found this app to be intuitive to use (both for me as an instructor and for student projects!), and it generates aesthetically-pleasing products. Because each frame of the video is recorded as a separate slide, it is easy to produce the video content in stages (I don’t have to record visual or audio content all at once), each frame can be re-recorded without impacting the other frames, and I can easily edit and re-save the project. The video projects can be stored and viewed on the Adobe Voice website, and thus are accessible to laptop as well as mobile devices. However, the videos can now also be saved to the mobile device’s camera roll and uploaded to YouTube.
For me, this is a huge benefit because I can easily embed YouTube videos into the online class LMS, Desire2Learn. D2L is not incredibly mobile friendly, but mobile students do find it easier to view embedded rather than externally hyperlinked video content. Further, hosting on YouTube allows me to modify the video content for an educational purpose, such as with Zaption. Here’s an example of an Adobe Voice video that has been uploaded to YouTube and enhanced with interactive content in Zaption: How to Change Passive Voice to Active Voice as Explained by “Zombies.”
The Adobe Voice app stores icons and musical themes within the program, and will also search an Internet cache for photos. These visual and audio elements, in addition to being able to emphasize particular text on screen, makes Adobe Voice a fitting choice over a podcast series. Further, I have worked at promoting this mobile product this semester in my department and with my students. Next semester, I hope to convince more students to work with the program for their own analysis projects because I will be modeling the program for them within the online course.