A Simpler Way to Engage Students With Video Learning
Cox College is a private nursing and health sciences institution in Springfield, Missouri that offers associate’s to master’s-level degrees in administrative clinic professions, nursing, radiologic sciences, imaging, and interprofessional research. In clinical courses at Cox, students prepare for their careers through hands-on, practical experiences in hospital settings.
In 2015, Cox College switched from the Pearson eCollege platform to the Canvas learning management system (LMS). Administrators say eCollege performed mostly as a gradebook. Their top reasons for switching to Canvas were:
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According to the college’s Chief Nurse Administrator, Amy Townsend, “We wanted more out of an LMS. We wanted to interact with our students and to engage them in ways that we couldn't in the classroom. Canvas would give us extra time and extra access that we just didn’t have before.”
After implementing Canvas, Cox administrators soon discovered that it also made assessing outcomes easier.
“The first semester that we pulled the data from analytics, it was super easy. I was able—in an afternoon—to get data on over 500 students, which was huge. We could then show it to the faculty and say, ‘Here's where we're strong; here's where our students are struggling; let's focus on this,’” said Townsend. “It allows us to have really meaningful data that can translate to curriculum development.”
As part of the nursing curriculum, Cox students were assigned to record a variety of simulated competencies using the HealthStream video platform. Students and faculty both say it was a complicated, frustrating process.
Chair of Online Learning, Heather Stockford Sade, explained: “When faculty wanted to use video, they had to message me and give me at least a week’s notice. It took me two hours to credential a 40-person course. It was very, very cumbersome and frustrating for them. There were only certain file formats that were allowable, and students were getting stuck because their file size was too big. We had students calling in complaining that it was going to take three hours to upload a 20-minute video. I literally had faculty stop doing those assignments just because of the frustration.”
Assistant Professor De Dashtipour added, “I think the students stressed more over that process sometimes than the assignment itself. And I was almost to the point where I wasn’t going to require it anymore because it was such a problem.”
I teach what the human eye can't see. Canvas Studio gives me that needed visual.
Assistant Professor, Cox College
Before giving up on video learning altogether, Cox administrators discovered Canvas Studio, the next-generation online video learning platform developed by Instructure, the makers of the Canvas LMS.
Because Canvas Studio integrates seamlessly with Canvas, students can record videos on their personal devices, make necessary edits, and quickly upload video assignments to Canvas with just a few clicks. Faculty can then use the SpeedGrader tool to provide the timely, actionable feedback students need to master their competencies.
Cox administrators liked that Canvas Studio gives all users the ability to create, view, and comment on video assignments within the platform. That would enable nursing students to practice their skills on video—without having a faculty member looking over their shoulder— and to evaluate their performance before a test.
In the fall of 2017, Cox College started using video in every course, many of which are online-only. As Cox student Cory Mygrant said, “I think it's super straightforward. You just download your video to your computer or your phone, and you're able to upload it to Canvas.”
I really enjoy Canvas compared to what we had before. Canvas Studio just adds to the user experience, because you can do so much with video.
Student, Cox College
According to Sade, who oversaw the integration of Canvas for Cox College, “Canvas Studio has really been a game-changer.” Faculty say video assignments are now inherently more engaging and that it sparks richer collaboration, while saving time and reducing stress for everyone.
Assistant Professor Rachel Hodge said Canvas makes learning with video easier while also giving more accountability to students, which helps build confidence. That’s key for a learning track known for constant performance reviews and tests leading up to the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination) for entry-level nurses.
“I think it’s much more beneficial to the student. When they go to work after they take boards, or even before they take boards as a graduate nurse, they’re ready to hit the floor and provide real care,” said Assistant Professor Kyle Terrell.
Student Rachel Young agreed, “Not only am I uploading [video] to turn in to my teachers, but I can also look back on it in the future and find things that I can improve on, and look back at old skills that maybe need some dusting off."
Integrating Canvas Studio and Canvas solidified the role of the LMS at the college. “For our students who maybe don’t get to see us every day in real life, Canvas has helped us retain students. I believe that very, very much, because they feel like they are engaged, and they're a real person. They're not just in cyberspace somewhere,” said Assistant Professor Cinnamon Jones.
“The way that we're able to use our philosophy of teaching and deploy it through Canvas is really special to us, too, because we're pretty proud of how we do a hands-on learning curriculum and how we approach a teaching and learning adventure from a positive perspective,” said Program Director Amy Vaughan. “Canvas allows us to do that very well and keep the culture and personality of our program, which we feel is pretty distinct.”
Director of Compliance and Assurance, Jana Roberts, said, “With Canvas Studio, some of the students were talking about video opportunities in their clinical courses, and the ability to have at-the-moment feedback from their faculty. What an amazing experience for students!”
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