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22st Annual OLC International Conference
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Toss the Ball and Let Them Figure Out How to Play: Filmmaking in Blended Courses for Engagement

Kefaya Diab (New Mexico State University, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2014 - 5:30pm
Teaching & Learning Effectiveness
Areas of Special Interest: 
Blended Course
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Best Practices
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Electronic Poster
Plaza Foyer
Session Duration: 
60 Minutes
Electronic Poster Session

I argue that blended classes are ideal for promoting group work, personal responsibility and students' engagement. I demonstrate this through a pre-production, hands-on filmmaking workshop.

Extended Abstract

When I started teaching Rhetoric and Composition to freshmen in Fall 2014, the four credit class was distributed as 3 credits face-to-face and one credit online. I was not sure how to fill the online hour with contents and exercises on our learning management system, Canvas. The few lectures that I recorded for students proved to be confusing, and I found that students did not have the chance to ask me questions right away. When students submitted assignments as responses to the online lectures they didn't come as I hoped. Attending several online teaching and design workshops through my university's Teaching Academy, I decided to take the risk of having students lead their own learning. During the Spring semester of 2014 I decided to let students do group work, research, and discussion during the fourth hour that was online.
In order to enhance students' understanding of rhetoric, I assigned them the group assignment to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA), and to draw a storyboard for the PSA. The PSA topic was to pursue social change and to advocate for a case that students believed in.

But what is a PSA and what is a storyboard? Students had to research the two concepts online and to educate each other by providing resources on the discussion space of Canvas. Students didn't only define the new concepts but also located useful resources that included PSA samples, storyboard free software, and tutorials. Through online and face-to-face feedback, students came to a deeper understanding for creating successful arguments using the three rhetorical appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos. Moreover, they were able to experience new analytical tools to understand how media tries to persuade them of its own agenda.

By conducting this hands-on workshop I aim to demonstrate the group work that occurs online and face to achieve the following objectives (1) promoting students' personal responsibility toward their own learning, (2) creating an interactive class community, (3) integrating the online components with the face to face course components. Through this workshop I will compare how offering this assignment in a blended format increased student engagement, interaction, and satisfaction as compared to face to face courses without the blended format.

In this workshop participants will search online as groups using their personal laptops going through the steps that my students experienced: 1. Develop working definitions and seeking examples of PSAs and storybooks. 2. Brainstorming topics for PSAs concerning social change, 3. Develop a PSA storyboard.

I will provide participants with handouts to contain resources and tutorials to learn the basic concepts of filmmaking through using Windows Movie Maker. Although I propose the current workshop for composition classes, I believe that filmmaking is a suitable approach for any topic. Therefore, I will end this workshop with a discussion on how to use filmmaking for different content areas and purposes. Ideas and resources for teachers to integrate filmmaking in their online, blended, and face-to-face courses will be provided.

Lead Presenter

Kefaya Diab is a PhD candidate of Rhetoric & Professional Communication in the English Department at New Mexico State University (NMSU). She had her MA in Communication Studies from NMSU, and currently she's interested in studying the impact of media on shaping cultural and social identities. Her experience in IT, journalism, radio reporting and filmmaking inspires her pedagogy in teaching Rhetoric & Composition. Her life long project is to advocate for social justice by empowering students to produce multimedia production that promote social change.