Innovative Practices Spotlight

CAE Innovative Practices Spotlight



Dr. Ruth Davis, Professor, Nursing

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. Ruth Davis is being recognized in October for her exceptional use of MUVideos in her Women's Studies courses!

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

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

I use MU Videos in D2L as a way to utilize presentations. Students work in groups to create presentations about particular topics, and then post these on D2L for their classmates to see and provide reflections and feedback.

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

I first used MU Video in Fall Semester of 2016. Initially, it was out of necessity. My Women’s Studies classes were growing and I was worried that I would not have enough time to do the presentations in the classroom setting. It was important to me to keep presentations as a learning opportunity in my class, so I decided to use the MU Videos as an alternative to in-class presentations.

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

Some students balked at the idea of creating videos, or seemed unsure on how to go about it.  After learning how to use the technology however, most students have no problem with the assignment. The only situations that may have negative consequences are those students who wait until the last minute to complete their work.

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

Group work has been really beneficial to my classes. I require students to choose their groups early in the semester, and then utilize those groups for in-class discussions as well as the MU Video assignment. That way, students are able to really build cohesion within the groups and learn how best to work with one another. I also think that this type of assignment also takes away the stress of presenting in front of a class of people.  Often, in class presentations makes students uncomfortable and nervous, and by having it as a video presentation it alleviates stress and allows students to engage creatively and confidently as well as the ability to work within their own time-frame.

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

Students seem to work better together more dynamically, than when it the assignment is solely an in-class presentation. Because it is a group presentation, participation is necessary, but I think that students communicate with each other better when the fear of presenting in class is removed. Many students are able to use Google Docs to discuss ideas and plans, which allows them to work more in their own time. Additionally, I do think that students are more excited about this type of presentation because it is video-based.  I see less uneven participation in the groups as well.

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

When I first implemented the assignment, I was concerned that students would not complete it! It was something new that students had to learn, and I was nervous that I would wake up on the day of it was due and there would be no videos on D2L. However, overall students learned the technology quickly and were able to complete the assignments with minimal issues. Again, it gave them an ability to be creative which helped to motivate students.

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

Having Marie Firestone help me with D2L and learn about MU Videos was very helpful. Additionally, Greg Szczyrbak and Ollie Dreon did an awesome job of instructing my students on how and why to use the technology. They were able to really connect well with the students and provide instruction on techniques that are effective to use for on-line presentations.  I would definitely recommend using MU Videos in other courses and classes, as I have had positive experiences with them. Most notably, the Digital Learning Studio is a great resource that should be utilized by any student that has an on-line presentation assignment. Greg was especially helpful in encouraging my students.