E-Learning Circle Project

The following project is sponsored by the UWB E-Learning Pilot Project as a 2011 E-Circle research project.

First Steps in Assessing the Teaching and Learning of Media Production Tools at UWB
Angelica Macklin
Digital Media Coordinator, Information Technologies Affiliate Faculty, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Jentery Sayers
PIP Instructor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Amoshaun Toft
Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Media Pedagogy, Teaching Associate, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Samuel Yum
Instructor, PIP Mentor, IInterdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

This pilot study provides a sample snapshot of media production tools, assignments, and assessment methods at the UWB. While specific production-based courses (e.g., BISMCS 234, 343, 472) already exist, many instructors across campus are still determining how to include media production in their classes. Most faculty are also unaware of how other faculty members integrate media production into their pedagogies. Consequently, methods of instruction, learning goals, expectations for production, and assessment criteria vary greatly across the campus. While our team understands the need for a wide variety of media practices designed for specific goals, we also believe a coordinated effort is necessary in order to promote best practices for teaching, designing, and assessing media production. This pilot project takes first steps toward gathering information and resources regarding media teaching practices in a comprehensive manner. The information gathered will be centralized and circulated through a repository of knowledge that will help the UWB: (1) identify curricula with media production elements, (2) foster best practices in interdisciplinary pedagogy and media production, and (3) provide IT media services with information necessary to support the teaching of media production. Since media production requires specific resources (e.g., equipment, assessment criteria, production scheduling, composition processes, media tutoring, and collaborative space), the ultimate goal of this pilot study is to begin the creation of an accessible resource that will not only enhance the production of new media across courses, departments, and programs of study, but also afford a sustainable structure for faculty, students, and staff engaged in scholarly media production. The information gathered will also enable the eventual development of strategies for assessing media production at the UWB.

Research questions:
RQ1: What are people doing in relation to media production at UW Bothell?

Question 1 asks of faculty and staff precisely what they are doing in relation to media production, and specific to (but not restricted to): assignments, assessment/grading, peer review practices; distribution, storage, and the “public-ness” of audiences; community partnering; genres and mediums; as well as considerations of theory and history in administering projects.

RQ2: What does media production do in relation to learning?

Question 2 asks of faculty and staff precisely how assigning and/or teaching media production affects specific course goals and the larger educational mission; and of students, how undertaking a media project enhances their learning apart from mere acquisition of technical skills and familiarity with new tools.

RQ3: Why are instructors incorporating media production components into their curriculum?

Question 3 asks of faculty and staff why it is important to design specific courses with media production components and whether their reasoning is driven by outside forces (such as Washington State Teacher Training requirements), program design (such as the new MCS program), or individual faculty interest in teaching media production to enhance the goals of their specific courses.

Data sources:
Information will be gathered over a six-week period through Winter Quarter 2011 by way of survey, interview and document collection.

Surveys – Surveys will be taken/collected in two ways: (1) the existing DML survey will be complied for analysis; and (2) a new campus-wide survey will be developed. The new survey will include questions about “why media production is used in courses,” “what people are doing” in relation to media production at UWB, and “what media production does” in relation to learning. The new survey will lead to identification of potential interviewees through a weighted snowball sample strategy (e.g., asking who the respondent thinks has been doing interesting work in media production or plays an important role).

Interviews – Short interviews will be conducted selectively among faculty, staff, students, (no more than 1-3 individuals for each) for qualitative information on “what they do,” “why they do it,” and “how this impacts learning”; as well as their views on the relationship between learning goals (theory, topical knowledge, skill, etc.) and media production.

Documents – Syllabi, assignment prompts, and media projects will be collected from faculty and students to begin an information base. Syllabi will be collected from faculty who use media assignments as integrated, supported, and unsupported course components; as well as assignment descriptions; media projects when available; assessment techniques/rubics; student stories and comments (including resistances to media production); and media-based learning outcomes.

By mid- Spring Quarter 2011, the pilot project will be completed with:

1. A summary report of our findings with recommendations
2. A presentation of our findings to the broader campus community the week of May 3.
3. A design for a web-based repository/databank (and prototype)

Based on the usefulness of our findings, the pilot study may lead to a second phase of research that would gather additional data over a longer time period, and further develop shared web-resources. As with the pilot phase, the second phase of research will be geared toward strengthening UWB media production pedagogy and scholarly practices, as well as continue assembling information that may eventually circulate to other institutions and technology-based teaching and learning venues, such as HASTAC and ProfHacker.

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