Video Microlecture Series for Experiential Learning: Animal Sciences

Animal Sciences students visit the university dairy farm.

Animal Sciences students visit the university dairy farm.

CITES Academic Technology Services can help faculty develop short videos (microlectures) for online teaching and learning. Why would you want to use a microlecture in your course? To answer that question, we are developing a series of posts about specific microlecture projects undertaken by faculty at the University of Illinois and ATS.

Walt Hurley, Animal Sciences

Description of the Project
Professor Walt Hurley’s Animal Sciences course offers opportunities for inexperienced students to learn how to milk, halter, and work closely with dairy cattle and other large farm animals.  Before the introduction of video micro-lecturing, Hurley provided short, face-to-face lectures that described the activity and demonstrated the required skills in order to best prepare the students.

Growth in course enrollment has increased the challenge to provide effective on-site demonstrations, as many students have to crowd around and look over shoulders to see. In addition, verbal descriptions of the activities and demonstrations by the instructor do not fully capture the impact of directly interacting with these large animals. As a result, a series of short videos is being designed to provide a standardized demonstration of activities and skills needed to complete the lab sessions. The videos provide both a preview of the processes incorporated into the activities, as well as review opportunities in preparation for assessments of skill development.

Activities for the videos include milking cows, haltering cows and other activities associated with the laboratories. As the videos are produced and refined, the course instructors expect to incorporate similar videos of working with other farm species.

An Animal Sciences student practices milking a cow.

An Animal Sciences student practices milking a cow.

The initial videos were produced in the Fall 2010 semester. Video crews from the ATS Digital Media Group shot high-definition video and audio of Professor Hurley teaching his class at the milking operation at the University of Illinois dairy barn. Creative and instructive high-definition video of students milking cows in the modern “double twelve milking parlor” was delivered to Hurley.

In addition, Hurley has had undergraduate student assistants capturing video of the novice students in the class as they conduct the activities. Over 100 short videos (10 sec to 2 or 3 min) have been recorded to date. Hurley has been editing this assortment of videos on his office computer for use during on-farm class sessions, and for posting online for students to use as needed.

An Animal Sciences student takes notes on the dairy farm lesson.

An Animal Sciences student takes notes on the dairy farm lesson.

Early versions of the instructive videos have been shown during on-farm demonstrations for the hands-on laboratories (via iPad), and will be placed on the Illinois Compass course website for student review. The videos will be used in all future semesters and can be refined as needed.

Experiences gained in developing these videos have allowed the instructors to continue to expand and refine these micro-lectures. The videos that capture how the novice students conduct the activities also have provided Hurley with fresh insights into how the students are approaching the activities, as well as how they are learning the skills.

These insights have already resulted in changes in how he describes and demonstrates the skills. As Hurley says, “I have been teaching this course for over 15 years and thought I understood how the students approached the activities. Being able to carefully review the videos as an archive of what the students are actually doing when they are milking a cow for the first time or putting on a halter for the first time has allowed me to better anticipate the challenges that the next group of students will face.”

Our expert video crew:
Tim Jenvey – 35+ years of video experience
Rick Langlois – 30+ years of experience in multimedia
Ed Glaser – 10 years of experience as a feature filmmaker and online video producer

Contact us to learn more about developing microlectures for your own course.

This photo was taken with a 3D camera. Click on the image to see the sun-dappled cow in 3D!

This photo was taken with a 3D camera. Click on the image to see the cow in 3D!

About Anne McKinney

Anne McKinney is an eLearning Specialist for CITES Academic Technology Services and the College of Business at the University of Illinois.
This entry was posted in Digital Media, Presentations & Lectures. Bookmark the permalink.