My Digital Ongoing Journey: Comparing Laws in a Blended Learning Environment

On Friday 21 July 2017, Jessica Viven-Wilksch presented her experience of making videos for her cohort enrolled in the undergraduate elective, Comparative Law during the 7th Festival of Learning and Teaching held at the University of Adelaide. You can find a recording of the presentation here.

The presentation retraced her journey as a law academic who used videos and flipped classroom activities to transform student engagement both online and in class. In 2016, Comparative Law, an undergraduate course was designed, transformed and accessed through the Canvas Learning Management System. This represented an opportunity to deliver an integrated student experience through an actively used LMS, by creating and innovating while building a course that deals with laws around the world.

Using filming facilities and locations available within the university and with the support of members of the Faculty of Professions and technology services, scripts were prepared, videos filmed, edited and uploaded. Each week and prior to class, students accessed videos ranging from superimposed lecturer on PowerPoints to interviews of colleagues and legal professionals. Students engaged with the material in a fun manner and made informed contribution in class, thanks to a mix of delivery methods and amusing catchy phrases.

After the semester ended, the digital journey was shared with a group of students in the making of their own short video based on their SGDE assignment. The SGDE group highlighted the results of their research in a punchy manner, thereby further developing their synthesising skills and their ability to review and adapt their work for different audiences. Under the supervision of the academic, they scripted, structured and filmed a video to be shown to the next intake of students for the course alongside the other recorded videos.

This year the journey continues by recording new videos based on students’ interests and current issues, and by using the now available Echo360 ALP and analytics to better target students’ learning through the mixing of enhanced digital environment.

As the number of video increased, so did the quality of the editing.  Here are few tips developed along the way:

  1. Keep the videos shorts to keep the students engaged.
  2. Focus on a narrow part of course content.
  3. Choose materials to be covered in video carefully so you can use the videos again in the next iterations of the course.
  4. Plan your script carefully and use a teleprompter.
  5. Keep your video current by refraining from using expressions such as ‘this is currently a very hot topic today’.
  6. Allow plenty of time of things to go wrong for the first few times.
  7. Don’t expect to win an Oscar for the first video but try to be aware of the lighting, quality, sound, etc.
  8. Ask for help.
  9. Don’t do it all yourself. Do not reinvent the wheel!
  10. Integrate the references to the video in your lecture.
  11. Learn the basics. It is all you need!
  12. It is worth learning the basics! It gets easier as you do them!
  13. Have fun!

Transforming delivery does not have to be daunting, all it takes is one step to be on your own digital journey!

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