An update on GeoScience Videos and our new annotated video resources

Since the inception of the GeoScience Videos YouTube channel in fall 2014 we have continued to add to the collection of videos! There are now more than 30 videos (Figure 1) and we have plans to add several more in the near future (watch this space!). We are also happy to report that our viewership has continued to grow and the total number of views has passed half of a million and the channel now has over 3000 subscribers!

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Figure 1: Examples of videos (yellow titles) and mini-videos (green titles) available on GeoScience Videos YouTube channel (as of September, 2017).

In addition to the GeoScience Video YouTube Channel, friends of this blog will know that we have also been curating additional resources to support instruction that you can find right here. We have always provided access to quizzes for each video. Last year we added in-class questions and activities for related lessons linked to each video. And now we can announce a new addition to these materials that we are calling annotated video resources, similar to the one linked here. Like the other instructional materials, these annotated video resources can be found using links in the blog’s Assessment Resources page. Annotated video resources include learning objectives, slightly modified versions of video scripts, a list of important of vocabulary words and a few suggested tasks. We created these resources at the suggestion of a colleague who was looking for a way to provide access to information in the videos when students didn’t have online access.

We’ve heard from colleagues that they use the videos and their resources in a variety of ways, including as pre-class work, to support in-class discussions, as post-class reviews or homework, or as supplementary learning materials. Regardless, of how they are being used, we are glad that so many instructors have found these resources helpful and that some of you have novel ideas about how we can make the videos even more useful. Keep an eye open for new videos and additional resources on the blog! Please drop us a line and tell us how you use using everything in your classes. Here’s hoping everyone has a great semester!

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8 Reasons for Complex Life on Earth

Learning Objectives:

I can explain how: 1) Earth’s position in space; 2) its internal heat; and 3) the character of its atmosphere make it the only known planet that supports complex life.

This video looks at a set of eight different conditions that contribute to complex life on Earth. Four of the conditions are related to Earth’s position in space and its relationship with the sun and moon, two are related to the hot interior of the planet, and another couple are tied to the composition of Earth’s atmosphere.

Below the video is a link to a short quiz with some assessment questions that can be used to measure learning after watching the video. Good Luck!

Try the quiz to see how well you learned the material:8reasons_Quiz

Half a Million Views Later . . .

A couple of years ago, we began noodling around with the idea of adding short videos as pre-class assignments for our introductory physical geology course. We wanted to use the videos to support a flipped class teaching model that requires students to review a video and answer related questions online before attending class (for more about this process see our video about Flipping a Geology Class). We designed a consistent format so that each video would have learning objectives, cover some basic content, use a variety of demonstrations, animations or examples, and end with a reflection activity. We read up on aspects of effective multimedia design and investigated what research had to say about student engagement with videos. Consequently, we settled for relatively short 6 minute-long videos dealing with well-defined topics. The videos weren’t intended to be comprehensive, just to cover some basic content that we would previously have delivered in class.

The videos seemed to work pretty well in our course so we thought it might be a bit of fun to make them more widely available. We launched the GeoScience Videos YouTube channel in fall 2014 with an initial collection of seven videos. We continued to add to the collection and there are now more than 30 videos (Figure 1) that target basic concepts, including newer mini-videos (<3 minutes) that focus on single topics.

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Figure 1: Videos (yellow titles) and mini-videos (green titles) available on GeoScience Videos YouTube channel (as of November, 2016).

We read somewhere that about half of all videos on YouTube were viewed less than 500 times. So we set our first goal to get 500 views for each video. We are glad to report that, with the help of colleagues and curious students, the total number of views has bumped up to more than a half of a million and the channel now has over 2800 subscribers. Each semester we accumulate more views (Figure 2) and during Spring semester 2017, each month brought more than 40,000 views. This is all pretty small potatoes compared to the titans of YouTube but it’s nice to think that more than a thousand people a day are sitting down to learn something about geology from our collection. Each new semester seems to bring in more viewers and encourages us to continue making and sharing additional resources.

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Figure 2: Graph of rolling 28-day total views for GeoScience Videos YouTube channel. Note increase in views around the beginning of each semester. Green triangles indicate when we sent emails about the channel to faculty identified using the AGI directory. 

Sharing learning resources so publicly has its pros and cons. The analytics built into YouTube give us great information about who is using our materials, where they are located, and what topics have the greatest appeal. For academics used to measuring success by slowly accumulating paper citations, the flood of potential data from YouTube represents a pleasant change. For example, we know that about the same number of men and women view the videos, that the proportion of people watching videos on phones is increasing (Figure 3), and that viewers are spread across the US and more than 200 nations around the world. Nearly half of viewers come to the videos from external sources, presumably provided by instructors or friends, while most of the rest find us as they browse on YouTube.

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Figure 3: The proportion of people viewing the videos on their phones has increased over the life of the channel.

We also know that that videos about plate boundaries and videos about classifying things (rocks, volcanoes, faults) are among the most popular topics, essentially endorsing our objective to focus initially on basic concepts. Of course, social media provides opportunities for viewers to give us feedback on our materials, and while many comments are supportive and encouraging, we definitely get some that are less than positive. Fortunately, we have learned how to deal with such notes after many semesters of reading student course evaluations.

In addition to the GeoScience Video YouTube Channel, we created this GeoScience Videos blog to provide support for instructors using the videos. The blog provides links to assessment resources and quizzes for each video as well as other related information such as in-class questions and activities for lessons related to the video topics. If you visit the blog’s Assessment Resources page, you can download a one-page pdf (Current GeoScience Videos) that lists the videos and provides links to each one. Consider sharing this document with your students to provide a quick reference guide to the available videos.

Recently, we’ve been doing some research to find out if using short video-based resources improved student performance on assessment questions compared to paper-based resources (text and static images). You can check out the full write-up in an previous blog post. Overall, we found that students who received the video-based resources scored significantly higher than those who had received the text-based resources (Figure 4).

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Figure 4: Pre- and post-quiz scores on the topic of Classification of Faults. There was no statistical difference among students in video and text groups on the pre-quiz. Students who watched the video after taking the pre-quiz earned a statistically significantly higher score on the post-quiz  than students who read text (video=90; s.d.=14; text=76, s.d.=23).

These findings suggest that we can improve student comprehension of basic course content by providing access to appropriate video resources. But how does watching a video compare to listening to a lecture presentation of the same material? That’s our next question. We are currently exploring student performance on common exam questions to see if students exposed to different treatments (lecture vs. video) show any difference in exam scores.

Colleagues tell us that they use the videos in a variety of ways, including as pre-class work, to support in-class discussions, as post-class reviews or homework, or as supplementary learning materials. Regardless, of how they are being used, we are glad that many other instructors in both K-12 and college settings have found these resources useful. Maybe you will be convinced to add some of them to your course next semester. Keep an eye open for new videos and please drop us a line and tell us how you use them in your classes.

What is an Aquifer?

Learning Objectives:

  1. I can describe two types of aquifer systems
  2. I can identify the types of materials that make up aquifers in the US

This video describes the basic characteristics of two types of aquifers and identifies four types of geological units that make up many of the common aquifers in the US. We compare and contrast unconfined and confined aquifers and show the distribution of aquifer systems composed of sand and gravel, sandstone, carbonates (limestone), and fractured igneous and metamorphic rocks. On the basis of the maps we show you, what is the most likely composition of your local aquifer system?

Below the video is a link to a short quiz with some assessment questions that can be used to measure learning after watching the video. Good Luck!

Try the quiz to test how much you learned about aquifers. What is an Aquifer? quiz

GeoScience Videos and Student Performance

We’ve been doing some research to find out if using short video-based resources improved student performance on assessment questions compared to paper-based resources (text and static images). Undergraduate students (n=60) in control and treatment groups reviewed text- or video-based resources covering either the topics of magma viscosity (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iaqE0xmsHI) or the classification of faults (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlk7IfYMufs). Participants represented a range of majors and academic ranks and were nearly evenly split between male and female students.

Students were randomly assigned to video or text groups and were first given a pre-test. After the pre-test the lesson began with either (A) students in the video-based resource group sitting at a computer to review the video presentation or (B) students in the text-based resource group sitting at a desk with a textbook and reading the delineated passage. Subsequently, both groups were given a post-test assessment (the post-test was identical to the pre-test).

Pre-test scores were not significantly different (p>0.05) for students who received the video-based resources versus those that received text-based resources for either the Faults (Figure 1) or Magma Viscosity materials. Analyses of the post-quiz data for both topics reveals that students who received the video-based resources scored significantly higher (Faults p=0.0485 and Magma Viscosity p=0.0024) than those who had received the text-based resources (Figure 1).

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Figure 1: Pre- and post quiz scores on the topic of Faults (n=30, Faults Pre-Mean score: Video = 40, s.d.= 19; Text = 38, s.d.= 18, Post-Mean score = Video = 90, s.d.= 14 and Text = 76, s.d.= 23).

These finding suggests that having access to well-crafted video-based resources can improve student comprehension of basic course content. But how does watching a video compare to listening to a lecture presentation of the same material? That’s our next question. We are currently exploring student performance on common exam questions to see if students in different semesters exposed to different treatments (lecture vs. video) show any difference in exam scores.

Where is the Water Table?

Learning Objectives:

  1. I can define the water table
  2. I can explain how the position of the water table varies relative to the land surface

This video defines what we mean by the term water table. We go into the field to demonstrate how to measure the depth to groundwater in two wells. We use this information to determine the position of the local water table and the direction of groundwater flow. Finally, we discuss how the depth to the water table may vary and direct viewers to a US Geological Survey website where they can explore groundwater data from nearby wells in their state.

Below the video is a link to a short quiz with some assessment questions that can be used to measure learning after watching the video. Good Luck!

Try the quiz to see how well you learned the material:Water Table Quiz

Earthquake Hazards I: Ground Failure

Learning Objective:

  1. I can describe the characteristics of earthquake hazards associated with ground failure (ground shaking, liquefaction, landslides, surface rupture)

This video describes the geological hazards that result when the ground is shaken during an earthquake. We consider various forms of ground failure such as shaking, liquefaction, landslides and surface ruptures (check back later for a separate video on tsunami). We include historical footage from the damage of two of the largest US earthquakes – the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1964 Great Alaskan earthquake. We added short clips of two bench-top models of basic processes and larded the whole thing up with plenty of images to illustrate the features under discussion.

Below the video is a link to a short quiz with some assessment questions that can be used to measure learning after watching the video. Good Luck!

Try the quiz to see how well you learned the material:Earthquake Hazards I Quiz