The University of West Alabama’s (UWA’s) education and nursing programs have hands-on field experiences during which instructors watch the students teach or work in a health-care environment and provide feedback on their work. When the programs went online, the institution faced the problem of providing these experiences to distance students.
The institution originally used an
on-site skills lab, but this led to faculty spending a tremendous amount of
time evaluating student performance. Using rigid time blocks for scheduling,
faculty members averaged 24–36 hours per semester evaluating critical skills.
The solution was GoReact, a video recording platform that allows instructors and students to produce videos on their smartphones. For instance, an education instructor can record a video of themselves demonstrating questioning techniques and how a few alternative word choices can take a question from a knowledge to an analysis level of thinking rigor. Online students can then view the video and see how a teacher works in a classroom.
The system also allows students to create videos of
themselves and submit them for instructor feedback. One nice feature of the
system is that the instructor can provide feedback at specific places within
the video. The instructor watches the student’s video and stops it to enter a
comment. Then, when the student watches the feedback, the video pauses whenever
a comment appears. This allows students a chance to see exactly when a practice
is praised or corrected.
Besides offering performance feedback to students at a
distance, videos also serve students who are anxious about performing in front
of instructors and others. The video system gives students the opportunity to
record demonstrations as often as they wish. Students can record new parts of
lessons to receive feedback. For instance, a student with an idea for an
exciting and thought-provoking start to a lesson can record that beginning alone
and get feedback on how well it worked.
Moreover, video gives students the opportunity to see their
teaching performance, which often alerts them to the subtle ways they improve
or diminish the lesson. Through self-evaluation, students can correct or add to
their performance for the next video session. The system may also be used for peer
evaluation. Students can view each other’s videotaped lessons and give opinions
based on evaluation rubrics. The instructor simply sets up a cohort group
within the video recording system, giving all within the cohort the ability to view
one another’s videos and offer constructive criticism and praise.
Student education interns use the videos to facilitate the teacher
certification process. One step in the process requires the applicant to submit
video examples of their teaching. The videos students submit are saved on the
platform and, from there, can be easily uploaded to their certification portfolios.
Eventually, UWA hopes to build a repository of student teaching videos to serve
as models (both good and bad) for instructors to incorporate into their
Our educational leadership and counseling programs use the
online video recording tool to train future school and district leaders by
practicing administrative tasks—such as conducting data meetings with teachers,
leading observation and evaluation discussions with teachers, and rehearsing parent
conferences—in a safe but realistic practice environment.
Nursing is using the online
video recording tool as a means to validate medication administration, health
assessment, intravenous catheter insertion, and indwelling urinary catheter
insertion. Students perform their skills in school-constructed simulation rooms
that allow them to practice in in
a lifelike atmosphere with reduced distractions. The students are also given
rubrics for each skill to evaluate their performance prior to submitting video.
If an error is self-identified, they have the option to rerecord the skill. After
submission, the recorded skill is then evaluated by a faculty member.
The online video recording tool has made
it easy for faculty to evaluate student performance. Faculty have the option to
pause, rewind, and slow down the video, increasing the accuracy of their assessment.
Giving time-coded feedback through text, video, or customizable markers allows
them to provide students with valuable feedback. Through a combination of
faculty-directed practice and accurate, time-coded feedback, students improve
quickly. As a result, clinical faculty and simulation coordinators consistently
report that students are performing critical skills at a high level within the
Following the integration of the online
video recording tool, the time faculty spent evaluating skills decreased to an
average of 11 hours. Now faculty evaluate student videos at a time and place
that is convenient for them. With only four full-time faculty teaching critical
skills in our program, GoReact has not only improved student outcomes but
decreased the faculty’s workload.
We have learned some lessons from using video in our coursework. One is
that students often do not have enough memory on their phones to record
multiple videos for upload. To
solve this issue, UWA purchased relatively inexpensive iPods that students may
check out to use for filming during their internships. Also, voices can
sometimes be difficult to hear in recordings, so UWA offers wireless,
plug-and-play lapel microphones for students to use when filming.
The use of student-recorded videos has solved the problem of
teaching subjects online that require field experience. Video recording also enriches
our students’ on-campus experience—a win-win for all.
Susan Hester, MEd, is the coordinator
of the Black Belt Teacher Corps; Dara Murray, MSN, an assistant professor of nursing;
Sara Reynolds, MEd, the coordinator of clinical experiences; and Katie Smith,
MSN, an assistant professor of nursing at the University of West Alabama.