Lights, Camera, Action: Using Wearable Camera and Interactive Video Technologies for the Teaching & Assessment of Lab Experiments

Tatyana Devine, Clare Gormley, Patrick Doyle

Abstract


Laboratory-based practicals are an essential component of many science courses. However, the traditional face-to-face approach often presents visibility-related issues, especially with large class groups. Lecturers may also find that some aspects of equipment handling require frequent repetition and it is difficult to identify if students understand the relationship between theoretical concepts and their practical execution. Furthermore, for exclusively online courses, students’ physical presence in the laboratory is not possible so appropriate teaching and assessment alternatives need to be employed.

While the medium of video offers potential for addressing these issues, creating video can require specific production expertise and equipment that is not always available. This study explores how relatively inexpensive wearable camera technology may provide an alternative approach for the rapid production of lab-based videos. It describes how this technology was used by an academic to video laboratory experiments for an online MSc in Biomedical Diagnostics. It also explains how an interactive question was embedded within the video to assess students’ understanding of the concepts demonstrated. Data was drawn from student & lab demonstrator feedback surveys, and the reflections of the lecturer and learning technologists involved in this project.

A number of distinct benefits to this approach were identified, including its preparatory/‘flipped’ classroom potential, its rapid production time, the non-intrusive nature of the recording, the advantages over text descriptions, and the relative low cost. The advantages and limitations of the embedded question format are also discussed. The study includes practical recommendations for other academics considering this technology and suggests further applications for potential use in laboratory learning.

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