JMC Professor Laura Kelly Wins at OSUN Connected Learning Contest
Professor Laura Kelly, who teaches Journalism and Mass Communication at AUBG, was selected winner at the Open Society University Network (OSUN) Connected Learning Contest for her Video Reflection class assignment. In addition to a $200 winning prize, a description of her teaching method will be included on the OSUN website as a good idea for teachers worldwide.
Back in fall, Professor Kelly introduced her initial Video Reflection (VR) assignment to her Advanced Writing for Media class at AUBG. Every week, the students had a long piece of journalism to read and they had to do a VR on it before their class on Thursday.
“You know how class discussion goes, sometimes it is monopolized by the extroverts and then some students never speak,” Kelly said. “And it doesn’t mean that they have no thoughts. It just means that there are a thousand things going on – classroom dynamics, shyness, really having to think about a question.”
Sending a VR prior to class allowed each student to share their thoughts privately. “And there is something freeing about talking that is just more informal and intimate than if you do a written reflection,” the professor said. “I loved the VRs and so did the students. I got to know each student individually, not just the ones that talk out loud. And I got to know them not just through their writing but through their thinking and the way they respond. The classroom discussions were so much better because everybody has read the material and they had thoughts about it.”
The video reflection exercise has proved especially useful following the switch to online education, Kelly said. “It is that weird thing to me too that online teaching feels very distant but then I also get each of them individually and it is hugely intimate,” she said. “So there is this flat screen of all of them and then there is just them and just their face.”
Students even had to do a VR on their class syllabus. “Now I'm going to do it every semester because I can’t tell you the number of students who've said ‘I've never read the syllabus all the way through,’” Kelly said. “It was like a revelation for me, it was one of these accidental useful things.”
Professor Kelly said she drew inspiration for the VR teaching method from Professor Kwame Phillips who teaches at John Cabot University in Rome. During an AMICAL conference that she attended, he spoke about the importance of reflection as a learning method to stimulate thinking.