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Is Your Course Hot or Not?

hon_logo.gifYou just developed an online course and everyone loves it, right? While you might believe that your students never doze off or take a break to play a game, do you really know? Most people I asked who develop online materials, myself included, never see detailed usage metrics.
Suppose that instead of developing a course you create videos – not that these are mutually exclusive, of course. Hot Spots provides usage metrics for YouTube videos, measuring the popularity of different parts of a video. “By comparing your video’s abandonment rate at that moment to other videos on YouTube of the same length, and incorporating data about rewinds and fast-forwards,” the “hot” and, most interestingly, the”cold” spots are located.
The most recent course I developed was for the NIH and was about Reasonable Accommodations. It used a case study to illustrate both the complexity of the topic and that a resolution is only effective until circumstances change. The case study, developed by the lawyer I worked on the course with, was gripping – to me. But I was not one of the target students. With usage metrics to show that abandonment was high at certain points, the lawyer and I could modify the story to increase engagement – and hopefully learning as well.
In contrast to how the more recreational YouTube is used, students often need to complete a course. But even with a captive audience, there is great value in learning what the reactions of students are, especially since those who abandon a course are the ones least likely to provide feedback. Having a “hot” course is important, not to win a popularity contest, but to know what keeps students engaged.

5 Responses

  1. Haitham El-Ghareeb

    What I like the most about this blog Lisa, is your usage of any tool you can find in e-Learning. I hope everyone around the world believe in e-Learning the way you do. By the way, thank you so much for helping me change my way in teaching and learning. We are starting a new year right now here in Egypt. I am adopting many of the techniques you mention both in the magazine and in the blog, hopefully I will get direct change in my way of teaching and in my courses.

  2. Sandi K.

    Really good point. Whether it’s video, podcasts, case studies, etc… the point is get creative and constantly seek feedback in an open and accepting way.
    For those considering the use of YouTube, I suggest being cautious. With a 10 minute time limit and a variety of distractions, the usefulness is limited. One tool I like is Camtasia, which allows quizzes to be embedded into the lesson.

  3. Emily

    Wow, the idea of using Hot Spots to find your hot and cold points in a lecture is amazing! As an instructor who is really interested in their course material, I think the entire lesson I made is engaging but I later find out that students are leaving at common points in the lecture to check their e-mails is upsetting. Using Hot Spots can help us find our down points and make them more engaging so students don’t leave when the material gets heavy. Great find!

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  5. Gonzalo Granquist

    Very good website you have here but I was curious if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!|

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