Students enjoy video recording alternative at Lehigh Valley

What’s that there? A button you can push to record video? And without the extra hassle of a video camera? Can it really be that easy?

Students at Penn State Lehigh Valley have been discovering just how easy and useful having one button to record video can be for their class assignments. That one button is a recently installed One Button Studio inside the campus’s Multimedia Innovation Center (MIC).

Last year, the studio was installed near the end of the spring semester and had been used a few times after it was just installed, but usage picked up during the fall semester. Since then, instructors and students alike have been discovering how much better the studio has made the classroom experience.

Two of the first fall classes to use the studio were instructor Jim Tubman’s B A 321 Contemporary Skills for Business Professionals and MKTG 301W Principles of Marketing.

“When you come in, it's as easy as just putting in the flash drive and then pressing the button,” Tubman said. “It can't get much easier than that."

For his B A 321 course, which was once an in-classroom course, Tubman said he wanted his students to be interactive. The course itself does not work well in an online format since learning interpersonal skills requires a lot of interaction.

"What I decided to do with it since we weren't going to have any classroom experience at all is I decided to use the One Button and make a companion video for each lesson,” Tubman said. “So, in other words, rather than just reading a chapter in the text and doing an assignment, I did a short video that kind of surrounded the chapter and brought in real-world experiences that the chapter just doesn't do."

According to Tubman, using companion videos worked very well for the online course, as students were able to get more of a feel for how interpersonal skills work in the business world.

In addition to using the studio, Tubman found the course to be more effective with the use of Yammer. On Yammer, Tubman said he introduced students to themes from each chapter and each companion video, and then let them discuss their thoughts. This allowed the class to be more interesting for students, as opposed to a straightforward noninteractive online format.

In MKTG 301W, Tubman turned the tables on use of the studio. Students recorded their own videos for a marketing plan project, Tubman said. A lot of Tubman’s students will go on as marketing majors and transfer to the Smeal College of Business, where they will be required to do a marketing plan, so their work with the studio in creating a marketing plan will give them extra experience they would not have had before.

For instructors who are interested in creating their own companion videos for online courses, Tubman said the studio has several benefits to both the instructor and the students. Students can see that there is a real instructor with real experiences, not just a textbook, which makes the course more enjoyable for them. Using the studio, Tubman said, has given students appreciation for working with others and the process of creating presentations, something students seldom receive from an online course.

instructor using One Button Studio

Meteorology instructor Drew Anderson uses the One Button Studio in Penn State Lehigh Valley’s Multimedia Innovation Center. Anderson is also a meteorologist at FOX43 WPMT in York.

Image: Liz Keptner

Liz Keptner, director of the MIC, said at least 75 students used the studio during the fall semester, and many students have been in and out of the studio so far during the spring semester.

"The big thing is a lot of these students come in and they don't think that they can do anything,” Keptner said. “They don't feel tech savvy, and it puts this confidence in them, which then in turn improves their presentation."

Keptner said that some students also come into the studio nervous because they do not like doing presentations. However, once she shows them how easy it is to use the studio, they are put at ease and some students really get into creating their presentations, which in turn, improves their learning experience.

One student who has come into the studio during the spring semester and said the studio has made learning more enjoyable is junior business management student Justin Nguyen, who loves the innovation of the studio. Nguyen said he plans to use the studio more often, not just for in-class activities, but also for activities outside of class.

“You're placed in a room with no outside distractions,” said Nguyen, who has been using the studio for Tubman’s B A 321 course. “Compared to the other methods of recording, it's very easy to use, simple, and also straightforward. Other methods such as other recording cameras are much harder to use with the intricate buttons and edits that you have to do afterwards.”

One student in MKTG 301W who is using the studio during the spring for his marketing plan is Harshit Patel, a sophomore majoring in industrial engineering. Patel said the studio is perfect for stitching together high-definition videos and editing them with the Mac computers in the MIC, and takes the hassle of editing out of class assignments.

“The instructions are present in the room with all necessary equipment up-to-date that would allow the students to produce digital multimedia seamlessly,” Harshit said. “Everything is visually understandable that one is able to explain to others very quickly how to use it.”

Media Contacts: 

Emma Gosalvez

Public Relations, Teaching & Learning with Technology

Last Updated February 22, 2016