We’ve made this interesting discovery this week about students viewing videos. It seems that a lot of them hope to muddle through an online course never actually watching any of the materials and just “bluffing” that they are. How did I discover this?

A couple students mentioned that they had not been able to view the video lessons that I’d posted, so curious as to whether this was an isolated incident or a more serious trend, I posted a 1-minute “test” video with two secret codes (one spoken, one written on the screen). If the student could both hear and see the code, they could send a message to me for a couple participation points.

Mind you, we are now at the 3-week point in the semester, having now taken our first test. All of a sudden, now that points are attached to actually proving that they had properly configured their computer to watch videos, the non-watchers came out of the woodwork to fess up to not being able to a) see, or b) hear the lessons. I wonder how many of them are spending insane amounts of time doing homework when they could just watch the lesson first and cut down on their homework time.

So… here’s to one lesson learned. The video/audio test will be the first assignment every semester from now on. I’m producing my videos in a different way now and after a 2nd student video/audio test, I am fairly confident that this way should work okay.

I am considering the possibility of embedding a spoken or written code in every lesson so that students can “collect” codes and turn them in at the end of each chapter for participation points. I know this seems a bit ridiculous, but how else will you know that they’ve watched them?

I took an online class once where you had to watch the videos and they were tracked by statistics. You weren’t allowed to take your quizzes until all the lessons had been watched. Well… you just start playing the video and then go make dinner while it plays. Play another video while you take a nap, etc.

I am torn between just trusting that students will be responsible enough to watch the lessons beause they know they should, and knowing that students often only learn what they are forced to learn.

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