Heather Kearns was looking for a better alternative to the traditional final student presentation assignment in her ES428/528 Health Promotion, Prevention & Wellness course.
What made you want to make a change?
In the past Heather tried various combinations of group presentations and poster sessions. Every semester the activity failed to meet her needs and at times it felt like “chaos.” The group presentations were time-consuming, and the poster sessions were difficult to grade because of the sheer number of students in her class (60+ students).
What were you looking for?
“I wanted something that was short, easy to grade, and would be engaging for my students. I wanted them to be creative.” The course is focused on promoting health and wellness so Heather developed an activity where students created short, 5 minute video pitches to fictional grant funding agencies. “Each group had to select a health promotion topic aligned to the Healthy People 2020 initiative. From there they developed a proposal for a health promotion program to the address the problem.” In conjunction with the video, the groups had to write a full-developed proposal containing a needs statement, project description, evaluation plan, budget, and sustainability section. Students then evaluated each other’s videos and the top three groups were recognized at the end of the semester.
What kind of feedback did you receive from the
“The students really seemed to enjoy the project. I gave them some information on how to borrow video equipment from the library. No one came back to me saying they didn’t know how to edit their video.” When describing the project to her students Heather used the popular reality show, Shark Tank as an example of what she was looking for. “I wanted the students to be succinct and to the point. But at the same time I wanted them to be creative.”
Why do you like this approach?
The new activity hit on all of Heather’s key points, save class time, easier grading, and engaging to the students. In-class time was saved because all the videos were uploaded to UBlearns, “we didn’t need to spend two class periods watching all the group presentations.” Grading was also made easier because the pitches were on UBlearns. This allowed Heather to view the videos on her own time, and replay them to ensure they met all requirements, something you cannot do in person. Lastly, the students seemed to prefer the new format, “students really went above and beyond, they had music going, text coming into the screen, you can tell they invested a lot of time on the project.”