The situation of distance education in corona times led to a number of challenges: How do you let students present online in a fun and meaningful way? How do you stimulate online collaboration? For Anne, this was a reason to have a new, critical look at the course design. Although the education now happens physically on campus again, Anne still sticks to the new approach.
How do I keep students involved?
‘Even though students have always appreciated the course, they did not always read the literature. One of the reasons for this was that the literature was discussed in depth during the lectures, which meant that students did not think it was necessary to read it. This makes it difficult to keep everyone involved.’
‘When my colleagues and I were thinking about a good approach for the distance education, we found inspiration in the modes of instruction of Team-based Learning. In practice, this means that the extensive lectures are replaced by online educational videos. In the lectures we only briefly discuss the subject matter. Students prepare for the meetings individually by reading the literature and watching the educational clips. In the first lecture, students present themselves with a vlog or poster that says something about the media landscape from their childhood. By doing so, they get to know each other and reflect on their own experiences as young media consumer.’
‘During the seminars the students work together in groups of four to five. The first two seminars start with a knowledge test, a quiz on Brightspace. First, they have to take the test individually and then together with their group, until they find all the right answers. Students are not graded for this test, but it helps them to understand the course content. After the knowledge test, we discuss the answers in class and there is room for questions.’
‘After the knowledge test, the groups work on assignments where they have to apply their knowledge to practical case studies. For instance, they can create a news format for teenagers and a media literacy intervention, or they can search for and evaluate existing social marketing campaigns.’
‘During the last lecture, students give a presentation in which they pitch a solution for a communication issue with a focus on young adults. The other students vote for what is the best solution in their eyes. This way, the students actively engage with the learning material. If they can clearly explain it to others, they also understand it themselves.’
‘I believe that the new course setup is a success. We started this during the pandemic, but I will certainly stick to it. Students now prepare properly, and the assignments are made wonderfully. The theory is explained in educational clips and the time on campus is used for questions and working together. The course evaluation that we had during the pandemic showed that this setup is also appreciated by students. They thought the course was dynamic and varied. But for me and my colleagues this new setup also gives more satisfaction. The contact with students is now more focused on deepening of knowledge and on the course content.’