Guest Blog – ESU Learning Technologies
Tech in Application: Using Zoom in the EMLJ Classroom (Part I of II)
Making Online Classes “Engaging and Applicable”: Zoom for Asynchronous Classroom Videos
Greetings, Hornets! This is Dr. Kat O’Meara from English, Modern Languages and Journalism, checking in as guest blogger. I’m happy to share a two-part blog series that discusses one of the many useful tools we faculty have at our disposal: Zoom.
Zoom is a free video and web conferencing platform. The #1 way I use Zoom is in its asynchronous capacity: I record weekly intro videos for my online classes.
This semester (Spring 2018), I am teaching all my courses online, including the graduate course EG 790, Teaching College Composition. I admit, I was nervous to venture into the online format, because as a teacher, I feel I thrive in the face-to-face, more participatory format of a traditional in-person classroom. How would I put a face to my name listed on Canvas? How could I humanize this very technologically-mediated, very sterile format of the online class?
I find that recording brief introductory videos on Zoom answers all of my questions and worries. My students see me, a real person, as I go through the readings, assignments, and overall expectations for each week. I can give them a peek into my life (whether I record the video in my office, in the coffee shop, or at home with my two cats) and my personality, which they don’t get in a rigid online format.
Below is a screen shot of how my asynchronous video looks to my students. You’ll notice that Zoom has the awesome feature of transcribing my words on the right-hand side of the screen. This is a feature that I love, not only because it allows students to read the information in case I talk too fast, but also because it automatically makes my videos ADA compliant for individuals with disabilities. (For more information about Zoom’s accessibility standards, click here.)
|Photo caption: Dr. Kat O’Meara records an asynchronous video for her online graduate class. One of her cats, Scout, makes regular appearances in these weekly videos aimed at informing students what’s happening for the week.|
Another feature I love about the asynchronous video recording is that it allows me to share my screen. Below is another screen shot of me doing just that: You’ll notice that my face is in a smaller window, and the main information that students see is my own computer screen (in this case, I am sharing the weekly module on Canvas), so I can click around to different pages and websites and my students can follow along.
|Photo caption: Kat uses Zoom to share her screen with students, so she can record her weekly video while pointing students to various places on Canvas, Google Drive, and other important places for her class.|
Furthermore, once Zoom is finished processing my recorded video, I can simply share a link to the video with my students—or I can download the mp4 file and save it for the future. Once they click on the link, they simply have to sign in using their ESU login info.
At first, I was reticent to record weekly videos of myself: I don’t enjoy being on screen, and I don’t like the sound of my voice. (Anyone else agree?) BUT, after asking my online graduate students for feedback, there was an overwhelming response to keep the videos going.
One student noted that the weekly Zoom videos “help getting [his] ducks in a row,” and another said, “It gives the class a more personal feel and makes it feel at least a little bit less like an online class and more like an in-class class.” Finally, the student comment about the asynchronous videos that stuck most with me is this: That providing students with weekly videos have “contributed to [EG 790] being the most engaging and applicable class [she has] taken from ESU.” It’s tough to argue with positive feedback like that!
That’s all for today. I hope you have the chance to play around with Zoom’s asynchronous recording capabilities so that it works for you in your classroom! Stay tuned for the second post in this two-part blog series, where I interview my EMLJ colleague and Spanish professor, Dr. Rachel Spaulding, as she shares her experiences using Zoom in a different way.
To download Zoom and learn how to host a conferencing session, check out the super-easy Hornet Tutorial from IT here.
Dr. Katherine Daily O’Meara is an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition and the Director of Composition in English, Modern Languages, and Journalism.
Part II of this blog post will be shared in the next several weeks!