Video Learning Initiative

vliThe Pitt Video Learning Initiative (VLI) makes it possible for students to take classes at their home campus, even though the instructor might be at another campus. For example, a student at Bradford who wanted to take a class that was only offered in Greensburg could do so via VLI. The VLI gives students the opportunity to take courses to which they might not otherwise have access. Faculty get a chance to teach a broader array of students in different locations.

Students attend a VLI class at the same time – just from different campuses. Faculty interact with students in all participating locations. If you attend a VLI class at a receiver location, technical support professionals are available to resolve any audio or video issues you might encounter. When it’s time to take a test, special proctoring services are offered to students in the remote locations.

Preparing to Teach in a Video Learning Classroom

Teaching in one of the new video classrooms gives students opportunities to take courses taught at other Pitt campuses that may not be available to them otherwise. Much of your instruction will remain the same, however there are some steps that you can take to make teaching at multiple locations more effective for your students.

Video Learning Initiative at Pitt

Introduction to VLI for Instructors

Introduction to VLI for Students

VLI Classroom Tour

One semester minimum before class Meet with an instructional designer ( who can help you make the best decisions for teaching in a VLI environment. Waiting until the last minute to make revisions will frustrate you and your students.

Example: Teaching with slides can present problems depending on the pace that you present the slides. Having slides visible for less than 10 seconds can result in a cumulative lag in slides appearing at the remote sites and not syncing with your voice. If your slides are primarily outlines of your key points, there are better alternatives for your students to learn this material. Let us work with you.

One – two months before class If you have never taught in a VLI classroom, your instructional designer will set up a dry run for you so that you learn how to use the equipment and connect with other campuses. Develop your CourseWeb site setting up your assignments, handouts, and the Grade Center. Using CourseWeb is essential. If you need a CourseWeb account, contact the Educational Technology Center at 412-648-2132.
One week before the class begins Load your syllabus and schedule, in addition to any handouts for the first day on your site. Your students will already be added to CourseWeb. Make sure your syllabus indicates that this class is in a VLI classroom so that students can be prepared. It might not be indicated in the master course schedule. Contact the technicians at each remote site and inform them that of the dates of your exams so that they can arrange proctoring.
Two days before class begins Send all students an email via CourseWeb welcoming them to class, and explain that it is a video learning classroom and the changes that this type of environment will entail.
Handouts Distribute all handouts including the syllabus and schedule through CourseWeb. These materials should be ready before the first day of class.
Greet the class At the beginning of each class, confirm that all students can see and hear you, and that you can see and hear them at each location. Present a meaningful activity to accomplish this task. For the first class, have students introduce themselves, beginning at the remote sites first. Keep comments light (“you don’t need to shout”) and keep the pace moving. This helps students get used to speaking on camera and orienting to the classroom.

Remind students that the other sites can hear EVERYTHING, so keep personal comments private until after class.

If there is a problem with the technology, contact the technician for your campus.

Lecturing It is important that you keep lectures to 10 minutes or less and then ask questions for a comprehension check. Ask questions to specific students at the branch campuses first. Without actively engaging the students through dialog or other preplanned activities, you risk losing your distant students.

Note: It will take you longer to cover information than in a traditional classroom. 45 minutes traditional = 1 hour distance

Your instructional designer can help you revise your lessons without compromising your learning objectives.

Assignments All assignments need to be turned in through the assignment area in CourseWeb. The assignments can be accessed through your Grade Center.
Office Hours When you need to meet with remote students, the university offers LYNC. With LYNC, you can instant message, and have audio, video, and screen sharing capabilities. The other option is to use the telephone.
Exams Three days before an exam, contact the technicians (or Wes Jamison at Greensburg), to confirm arrangements for a proctor. Email a copy of the exam to each technician (or Dr. Jamison) at least the day before the exam.

On the day of the exam, make sure that everyone is seated away from others, and facing forward. Read the Proctor Instructions to all students, so that they are aware of the expectations for all proctors and students, regardless of location. All belongings including cell phones, water bottles and computers should be in the back of the room with any coats. Students should use the bathroom facilities before the exam. If someone needs to leave the room proctors will collect the exam and send it to you. Have the proctors administer the exams at the same time that you do. When students have completed the exam, they are to return it to the proctor who will scan and send it to you. The proctor will shred any remaining exams.

Student Perception of Teaching Surveys You can arrange for student surveys through the Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching.

In order to obtain a rate of return similar to paper surveys, schedule 15-20 minutes in class for students to complete the surveys using their mobile devices. If they do not have a mobile device with them, they can complete the survey when they get home.