Engaging students with real-world experience in the Web 2.0 era: an exploration of web video mediated learning in the university classroom
York, Dennis Nicholas
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In the age of Web 2.0 dominance universities are under increasing pressure to investigate the educational applications of user-created content within the traditional culture of knowledge. There is a growing realization in the literature that the incorporation of user-created web video into the curriculum provides a number of pedagogical opportunities for active forms of learning and student-centred teaching practices due to its affordability, accessibility, semantic searchability, flexibility, and versatility. Predicated on the precepts of constructivism and participatory culture, this study aims to explore empirically the pedagogical application of the proposed web video mediated learning strategy in a graduate-level university classroom. Operating in a mixed-method paradigm, the researcher conducted a series of surveys, interviews, and collected learning artefacts in order to complement the survey data with subjective reflections on web video from a student's perspective. Data were collected from a non-randomized convenience sample of 17 master's students in education at a regional university in Alabama, United States. Analysis of data included descriptive and inferential test statistics, coupled with data derived from qualitative analysis. Evidence suggests that participants gained knowledge of web video, and felt more competent in digital media use and production as a result of the research treatment. Such attributes of web video as multimodality, entertainment, diversity of video content, instant gratification, and possibility for customization received an overwhelming positive response from participants. Students also voiced their concerns about the credibility of video producers and the accuracy of video content available on the Web. Further, students indicated their support for web video mediated learning activities - the critical appropriation of web video and the creative production of one's own web video. In particular, participants noted that video-enhanced blogging gave them opportunity to relate new concepts and ideas acquired from the assigned readings to self-selected user-created web video. This study led the researcher expand our understanding of web video as a culturally new form of knowledge representation, and to conclude that the proposed learning architecture was critical to student's success by creating conditions for them to properly balance user-created web video with scholarly knowledge and to become active participants who are accountable for their learning.