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Flipping the Classroom: Taking a Career Development Seminar Online

By Lauren E. Creamer, M.S., Co-op & Career Advisor, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Co-ops and internships are integral to the success of students post-graduation; and the offices that support those programs must find effective ways to prepare them for these experiences. Our office, The Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development at Wentworth Institute of Technology supports nearly 900 students per year in their search for co-op, a graduation requirement for all majors. Advisors were spending countless appointment explaining the same concepts time and again. In the fall of 2014, in an effort to meet the needs of the students, Co-op Institute was born.

What is Co-op Institute? co-op_institute_logo_rgb

Co-op Institute originated as a five-week, lecture-style seminar with a goal to disseminate information to as many students as possible in one place. Topics include resume and cover letter writing, networking, job searching, interviewing, and professionalism. Each semester material cuts were made to insure the class could run in the time allotted. And each semester we found ourselves saying “… but I want to teach more.”

In the summer of 2016 we decided it was time to flip the classroom. I led our advisor team in the development of this program, taking our existing lecture materials and turning them into short, narrated videos. This opened the instructors up to interact with the students in a more personal way, giving them the ability to facilitate activities and provide one-on-one feedback during peer-editing sessions.

The process was long, and not-too-painful, but it did involve vetting a number of different video platforms and much back and forth with our technology division.

Options We Considered

The only way I had made videos in the past was via iMovie and for a few weeks I was convinced that I needed a Mac to make any kind of video. Not so. iMovie is a great option and comes standard on Macs, but if you don’t have one don’t sweat it. Windows has comparable software.

We also considered Echo360, a screen capture tool, and a strong contender. The tool allowed users to flag material they had trouble understanding and allowed for built-in quizzes. It would have been great for the end user, but the set-up was complex and required more work than the advisors had time to offer.

Our Platform

As we utilize Blackboard to share our course materials, it was important that we use something compatible. We ended up choosing Kaltura CaptureSpace, a software that was already connected to our Blackboard system.

Kaltura is easy to use for screen capture and allows the user to add in questions (multiple choice) throughout the video. The downside is that you can’t flag areas of confusion and there is no option to stall the video if the user doesn’t get the questions right. All things considered, a perfect fit for our first run through. (And the Institute already paid for it).

recordscreen

Other Free or Low-Cost Options

For the budget-conscious team, consider using Facebook Live or YouTube to develop and upload content. The Haitt Career Center at Brandeis has been using Facebook Live for the past several months and it’s pretty cool. Lots of schools are using YouTube to upload original content (of course, this still means you need to have a webcam and a means of recording it).

There is a chance your school already pays for tutorial videos such as Lynda.com or Atomic Learning. If that’s the case, this could be a great idea if you don’t have the time to develop your own content. There are some quality career development videos on each.

If you’re not up for video, but your institution has a radio station and open air time, consider hosting a show. Our office also produces WITworks Radio – tune in Mondays at 1:00 PM!

Feedback from Students

We’re still sifting through the student feedback at this time (we finished up about one month ago), but a major trend seems to be that students really love the interactive nature of the class-time. Whether they love the videos as they are now remains to be seen. There is always room for improvement!

Bio:  Lauren is a Senior Co-op + Career Advisor at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. She works with biomedical and electromechanical engineering, and applied mathematics majors. She has worked in higher education for five years in both career development and residential life. Lauren is responsible for executing and assessing Co-op Institute, a seven-week preparatory seminar focusing on applying to and interviewing for co-ops. This past year she led the advisor team at Wentworth in flipping the classroom for Co-op Institute, to allow for a more in-depth learning experience.

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