Innovative Practices Spotlight

CAE Innovative Practices Spotlight


Dr. Janet Josephson, Assistant Professor, Early, Middle and Exceptional Education

The Center for Academic Excellence is recognizing a faculty member every month in the CAE Innovative Practices Spotlight to highlight his or her innovative classroom practices and outstanding contribution to Millersville University.

Dr. Janet Josephson is being recognized for her exceptional use of video announcements in her Education courses!

Please continue reading to learn more about Dr. Josephson's exciting experience and to learn ways to incorporate innovative practices into your classroom…

1. What innovative practice did you incorporate into your classroom?

One practice I’ve recently begun weaving into my classroom practice is the use of video, instead of email, for ongoing communication. I predominantly teach face-to-face classes, so my interaction with students is fairly frequent. I don’t always have the time to address questions that are formulated on exit tickets, so I take 5 minutes to make an MU Video that addresses these questions. Students enjoy seeing their questions held to the screen, and they look forward to the variety of props and hats that I often feature. 

2. When did you implement the new practice into your classroom?

As a third year faculty member, I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer students actually read my emails. We’re competing with so much media, I wondered what would happen if I became the media. I began implementing this practice this semester, and I really wonder why I did not try this sooner.

3. Did the students willingly accept the use of the new practice? What were the reactions of the students?

So far, my students have been very receptive to the use of video over email.  I can see that they are watching the videos from the stats in MU Video. They’ve told me in person and in writing how they prefer these videos to emails and D2L announcements. In fact, if they don’t receive a video from me for several days, they begin asking me when the next one will be ready. I can see how this tool has increased their engagement and readiness for class.

4. How has the use of the new practice positively affected the classroom learning environment? 

I think my approach personalizes the way I interact with my students. I see most of them for ten weeks before they complete their field placement experience, so we have less time to get to know each other. The videos are personalized to their specific class, and often quite entertaining- especially when the lobster hat comes out.

5. How has the use of the new practice affected student engagement in the classroom and the level of participation? 

I’ve found that I can clarify a difficult concept from class in a 2-minute video. I had a challenging day in my special education assessment course during Week 2. I did not present a particular concept in the clearest manner. I acknowledged my error and was able to correct it quickly after a brief break from class. Several students noted in class the next week how helpful this clarification was and how they appreciated the personal connections I am making through video.

6. What challenges did you encounter when you were implementing the new practice? 

I have not encountered any challenges with the use of videos as my main model of post-class communication. CampIDEA was instrumental in preparing me for using this free, and very powerful, platform.

7. How did attending Camp IDEA or a CAE Professional Development session contribute to your learning and use of the innovative practice?

CampIDEA was transformational for me. I always tell myself and my students that you won’t break D2L by trying, but sometimes you can come pretty close! CampIDEA was especially instrumental in helping me create student-friendly D2L pages and I would recommend Camp attendance to anyone who uses D2L as a regular part of their courses.