Digital Design Theory: Watching a video does not make you an expert
We were late to my daughter’s birth at St Joseph’s Hospital because we were watching This Old House on PBS. My husband and I were avid fans of the programs that recycled old houses back to their glory days. However, watching TV did not make me an expert. My roof has a hole in it and I have no experience making repairs. I have lots of knowledge but my hands have never touched a hammer.
I would make the same comparison with learning computer applications: you can’t become a skilled professional just watching the videos. At some point, your hands have to learn the steps. Expertise is knowledge in motion.
Videos in a Flipped Classroom: The best use of videos is to demonstrate a sequence of events. Students get to see the project from start to finish and how the instructor handled the options.
I applied this concept to an Intro to Computer Productivity class at Washtenaw Community College. It is a required course that teaches beginning Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Here’s the plan I announced: If all of the students watched the videos prior to class, then we could walk through the 100 point projects together each Friday. Everyone would pass the course with high marks.
This worked out better than I hoped. As an instructor, I was pleased to teach students who understood the material. They were ready and informed. Students who did not watch the videos quickly learned that they were at a disadvantage when we worked on the various documents, spreadsheets and presentations. They did not know where to find the options so their progress was very slow.
Win-Win-Win: This class has 97% attendance and their productivity skills are excellent. My students are getting between 90-100% on all of the assignments, including the quizzes and homework. Everyone wins: the students, the college and the future employer who gains an asset.