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How A Large Lecture Course of Over 200 Students Built a Community of Collaboration and Inspiration on Seelio

Media and the Creative Process 1020 Collage

Student Advice on Getting the Most Out of Your Large Lecture Course

Have you ever taken a class that was unlike any other? One that challenged you to get out of your comfort zone and make things in addition to learning about them?

Have you ever wished you could see what your classmates are up to to find inspiration or people that can work on exciting projects with you?

We encountered a group of students at Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication who are experiencing that and more in MDIA 1020: Media and the Creative Process. In this large lecture course, students complete regular project-based assignments using a variety of media platforms to put their learning into action. See more about the class philosophy and structure in our earlier post.

This is one of Scripps’ bigger courses, with around 200 students. Yet, even with such a large class size (and both online and on-campus students) we heard again and again that students found it easy to collaborate and find inspiration from their classmates.

 

How?
We want to turn things over to a few students in MDIA 1020 who shared what made this large lecture class so unique and what it was like using Seelio in the class. See who chimed in:

How Eric Williams is Evolving His Class Into a 90 Minute Creativity Concert of Active Learning

Want to know one of the secrets to turning an “okay” class into a “great” one?

The secret is understanding the “snowball effect.” The snowball effect is a process which begins with one small change that builds upon itself, becoming larger and more significant along the way, like a ball of snow rolling down a hillside. If properly guided, this evolutionary process can have a majorly positive impact on a situation just by taking small steps along the way.

If anyone knows the merits of this process, it’s Eric Williams, an associate professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies at Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication. Eric teaches a course called MDIA 1020: Media and the Creative Process, which he has been evolving over time into an incredible active learning experience for his students.

MDIA 1020 Student Showcase

Best Practices for Connecting Classes to Careers

Bringing Best Practices to Life: Competency Based Learning at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work

Seelio Best Practice: Define explicit learning outcomes at the beginning of the student experience so that students know from the beginning what they are working toward and can recognize and document mastery of skills along the way.

University of Michigan's School of Social Work on Seelio

We’ve seen this best practice along with many others in our work with the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work (UM SSW). Mary Ruffolo, Ph.D., a UM SSW Professor and Director of the Continuing Education Program, has been using Seelio in her classes for over a year and has invited us into the process of exploring how portfolios can impact student confidence in connecting learning experiences to career goals.

Last summer, we collaborated with Mary to develop a web-based course that UM SSW graduate students could take to build a professional online portfolio to demonstrate the 13 core competencies they develop throughout their master of social work program at UM SSW. The 1-credit web-based course employs online modules, virtual meetings, and virtual group work to support students in developing an integrative learning portfolio.

The course curriculum explicitly focuses on helping students identify their professional goals and develop adaptive expertise, or the ability to draw connections between their studies and experiences as a professional social worker. With self-paced reflective activities, students are challenged to reflect on their key learning experiences, their top skills, and how they want to present those experiences in their upcoming job search. Group feedback through virtual meetings as well as community features on Seelio like comments, likes, and private messages, allow students to share their experiences and gain valuable insights from their peers and advisors.

Validating Our Hypothesis on the Impact of Portfolios on Student Confidence

We hypothesized that this combination of competency-based learning, reflection, and portfolio development would increase students’ confidence in their ability to articulate skills and learning experiences in a professional context. Two rounds of pre- and post-surveys of participating students validated our hypothesis–  students reported increased confidence and optimism in their professional development and their ability to apply competencies from their degree program to their future as social work professionals.

Specifically, across two semesters, students in the web-based course showed significant gains in their:

  • comfort applying facts, theories, or methods to practical problems or new situations (p=.0001);
  • confidence articulating their goals (p=.018) and key learning experiences (p=.049); and
  • confidence presenting their work to potential employers (p=.009).

Hear From Students & Learn More About Our Process

Two students recorded brief video segments to share more about their experience in the course. See what Aaron and Katie had to say. You can also find more details about the course and our work with UM SSW in a presentation we gave at the Online Learning Consortium’s Annual Meeting last October:

At Seelio, we apply these same best practices in our portfolio implementations across our partner programs, collaborating with faculty to identify the best fit for their courses and measuring and evaluating progress at each step along the way. At the end of the day, our goal is to empower students like Aaron and Katie to confidently pursue their professional goals with a digital identity that allows them to easily showcase their 21st century skills.

Learn more about our best practices here, and see examples from UM SSW students in the UM SSW Seelio Showcase.