Teaching Students to Take Class Notes
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You Should Post Your Notes Online
In the last week in Twitter, there was a hashtag of #EverydayAcademicAbleism, and one of the points made by the participants was that the posting of lecture notes online was extremely helpful to many students who, for various reasons, were not able to take notes in class.
Many academics are extremely reluctant to do this, and two of the most cited reasons are:
1 I will lose my intellectual property
2 Students will not attend the lectures
The first point is something that depends on institutional policy. My lecture notes often contain figures from the textbook, so as well as my own IP, there is also the IP from the publisher and author to protect. I normally post on the Learning Management System (LMS), which is only accessible to students registered in the class. I also put a message in the area where I post the notes, reminding students not to repost them somewhere else. I have found some of my notes on content sites like Course Hero. Frankly, these are of limited use, as I change the content to some degree every year.
This is how my notes appear in our LMS, a variety of Moodle. I post before class (see the lowest two entries) and then repost them after class, when I correct any typos, and also include the in-class problems and solutions which use the PollEverywhere classroom response system.
The second point, that students won’t attend class if they have the notes is an extremely widely-held view by academics. I have never found this to be the case. My anecdotal evidence has some substantive research which agrees
This is based on original work by Babb and Ross (2009). A brief summary of their work is:
· Posting notes beforehand tends to increase student attendance and engagement
· Posting notes after the class tends to decrease attendance
· Other factors such as giving grades for attendance tend to be more important than the availability of notes.
I recommend posting the notes as both PDF and as the native slide presentation files, which are PowerPoint PPTX files in my case. The PDF files gives access to students who don’t have the original program used to create the files. The PPTX files allow students to modify them to suit their own accessibility needs — change the font, the font size, the colours, the background etc. I tend to post complete notes, but some teachers post partly complete ones, or notes with blank spaces for supplementary notes.
It should go without saying, (but I’ll say it), but when presenting in class, you should use a microphone. This will help the hearing impaired. I go further, and video record the lectures too, using TechSmith Recorder. This captures the screen, and my voice from the microphone. It is not a perfect solution, as it can’t capture my writing on the chalkboard, or my — antics in class, or any physical demonstrations which I do. It does allow students to recap and review lecture material after the fact. If they do miss a point in class, then they can go back later to recap it. I look forward to when the system will track my motion in the classroom, record me, and the screen, and the board, and produce a useful video. The closed captioning also is not satisfactory at present. The combination of my British accent and the technical vocabulary used seems to produce “interesting” captions. None of these problems are insuperable, and the more people demand lecture capture technology, the faster they will be developed.
In conclusion; take that step to improve accessibility of your classes by positing your notes. Your students will greatly appreciate it.
Babb, K. A & Ross, C. (2009). The timing of online lecture slide availability and its effect on attendance, participation, and exam performance, in Computers and Education, doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2008.12.009
Skillshare Help Center
Publishing Existing Video Content
If you’ve already created an online class, you’ve come to the right place! Teachers with existing video content are welcome to publish on Skillshare. Whether you host an online class on another platform or your own website, you can find an audience and grow your following on Skillshare.
Optimize Your Content for Skillshare:
While you must have a minimum of 10 minutes of video content to publish, Skillshare classes typically range from 20-60 minutes of video content, broken into 2-5 minutes individual video lessons. If your class is longer than 2-3 hours, consider chopping it up into smaller pieces and posting each of them on Skillshare. Often times, you can use your ‘video units’ as classes themselves. An 8 hour class can be 8 classes on Skillshare, giving you the chance to earn more money for less work!
Consider Your Publishing Schedule:
With the way our platform works, teachers are most successful when they release one new class every few weeks or once a month, rather than publishing many classes all at once. Each time you post a new class, all your followers are notified. To take full advantage of this feature, it’s best to space out your classes so that you can build up your audience and maximize your minutes watched.
Keep Merchandising in Mind:
With a community of 4M+ students worldwide, there are tons of ways to get discovered on Skillshare. Improve your chances of getting noticed by potential students by following our best practices for Class Merchandising and SEO to make sure that your class can be discovered by students both on Skillshare and off. Keep in mind that mentioning other platforms that you teach on can create confusion for students, so we recommend removing any reference to them in your videos or descriptions.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of a professional profile. Make sure to fill out your teacher bio to briefly reflect your background and credentials so students can understand why you’re teaching. A clear and professional profile photo also goes a long way! Be sure to connect your Skillshare account to Facebook and Twitter to increase your followers.
When you’re ready to publish, head to www.skillshare.com/teach to upload your video lessons. Follow our publishing checklist for required components and recommended best practices for student engagement.
*Just to note: we do not allow content on Skillshare that is hosted for free anywhere else online, unless it is also listed as a free class on our platform as well. For example, if you posted free content on YouTube, you are not able to upload it on Skillshare unless it is also available for free. See our Class Guidelines here .
- When and how do I receive payments from Skillshare?
- How can I earn money on Skillshare?
- Who owns my class content?
- How do I publish my class to Skillshare?
- Can I publish a Premium class that is available for free off of Skillshare?
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