Opinion: Students fail to learn from extended videos

Joshua Boulet, Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

The views and opinions expressed on in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of The Vision NGU or North Greenville University.

This student, John Doe, has way too much to worry about. If he doesn’t get a B on his next College Algebra exam, there’s no way he’ll be able to pass. To make matters worse, the test is tomorrow and he has to work that night. Nevertheless, he still has to go to class today so he trudges on into one of his classes. He sits down to pay attention, even if it is hard to pay attention as a large ball of anxiety settles in his chest.

Suddenly, there is a light in the distance: the professor just announced that the class will spend the whole period watching a video. Now John can study for Algebra as opposed to pay attention in class.

As they stand, extended videos during classes need to be changed so they actually help the students.

This scenario should be weird. If the professor has chosen a video to watch in class, surely it is important material. But that isn’t how the class plays out. Because these videos are not available to the student to study, the professor can’t put any material from the video on to exams. This results in students universally knowing that there is no need to pay attention to videos in class.

There is an argument to be made for videos the length of a class. Sometimes, there is a lot to be gained from having footage and music. Dr. Davis, an NGU professor, said his piece about why he feels that videos during his particular class are useful.

“Especially for the arts, for jazz, for music . . . It shows the artists actually performing. So whether it’s a PBS documentary or YouTube, it’s showing the live performances with them [the artists] . . . as opposed to just a lecture, you get to see the actual artists.”

He went on to explain that he only uses extensive videos for that particular class, and not for others.

He’s absolutely correct about how videos are important. Sure, one can explain what Louis Armstrong’s performance style is, but seeing him perform is on a whole other level. There is no denying that videos can help students learn in theory.

So there ends up being a situation that appears to be not beneficial for all parties involved. Professors use videos because they want their students to learn, but there isn’t any accountability so students will just forget. Since students know they can totally ignore it, they just kill time one way or another. Who can blame them? When there is always something else that needs to be done, a student can not be expected to care about material they don’t need to remember.

Therefore, something else needs to motivate students to actually watch the the videos being presented. Requiring students to take notes and quizzing them may end up becoming just another point of stress.

If a professor truly wants students to listen, there has to be a reward for listening to the videos. For example, giving someone extra credit for writing a short essay about the video. Yes, some professors don’t like extra credit because they don’t want students to take tests lightly, but I would argue that giving students the opportunity for extra credit through something like an essay is a great way to make the student try and wrap their head around the information.

Plus, if there is no accountability and no class work related to the video, then there isn’t any reason for the video to be played at all.

Extended videos during classes, as they are currently, do not help students learn the material. Regardless of good intentions, students need something to keep them watching. Whether it be accountability or extra credit, long videos need a rework.