- Using Immersive Video Camera Technology to Enhance Online Graduate Preparation Courses
Creating meaningful and engaging online learning experiences is a challenge in graduate preparation programs. In student affairs, the number of online master's degree programs has increased from 6 in 2010 (Connolly & Diepenbrock, 2011) to over 40 fully online programs currently (T. Svoboda, personal communication, January 3, 2019). The emergent field of digital pedagogy offers a framework to enhance online instruction and to examine the intersections between technological tools, learning, and the individuals who occupy online spaces (Morris & Stommel, 2019). The use of visuals and immersive video technology is an evolving approach within digital pedagogy (Kelly & Kortegast, 2018; McCaslin & Young, 2015). While K–12 education has seen "exponential growth" in the use of immersive video technology to enhance student learning experiences (Bartram, 2016, para. 1), the use of visuals as a pedagogical tool is a recent innovation in student affairs graduate programs. The use of this technology needs more attention in "an increasingly visual world" (Kelly & Kortegast, 2018, p. 5) where learning traverses online, hybrid, and face-to-face course boundaries (Morris & Stommel, 2019).
The use of immersive video technology, especially point-of-view (POV) action cameras (e.g., GoPro), has enhanced student learning for a variety of courses in higher education. POV action cameras have facilitated first-person perspective tours of college chemistry labs reducing students' fears of handling chemicals and instruments (Fung, 2015). These cameras were used in sports coaching to improve reviewing the physical activity of athletes (French, 2016). McCaslin and Young (2015) found the technical communication skills of mechanical engineering students improved when they recorded and explained their lab experiments using POV action cameras. Immersive 360°-view cameras (e.g., 360fly) are still in early stages of development for educational use. Once reserved for military and professional use, the first consumer 360°-view cameras were introduced in 2015 (Goldman, 2016). Elementary classrooms are already using interactive 360° video through virtual reality headsets to provide students immersive learning experiences and virtual field trips (Bartram, 2016). These new technologies can be used to enhance teaching and learning experiences in online graduate preparation programs in student affairs.
IMMERSIVE VIDEO IN TEACHING AND LEARNING
Immersive video technology was introduced as a pedagogical tool to enhance the online learning experiences at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). The master's degree in Higher Education Administration is delivered [End Page 654] fully online. Instructors in the program make substantial use of video to provide lectures on course content using screencast presentations and live synchronous meetings. One unique aspect of this program is the experimentation with innovative video technology in online lessons and modules as a teaching tool and pedagogical strategy for online graduate preparation courses. As a member of the faculty, I applied this technology to enhance content delivery and course engagement in two program courses: Leadership in Education and Student Services in Higher Education, using innovative video technologies such as POV action cameras and 360° immersive view cameras in course instruction. These cameras feature high-resolution wide-angle viewing fields and interactive 360° POV similar to Google Street Views (Goldman, 2016).
IMMERSIVE VIDEO CAMERAS FOR ONLINE INSTRUCTION
Experimentation with innovative technological tools is essential for digital pedagogues (Morris & Stommel, 2019). Video can provide students high-context communication that includes facial expressions, vocal tone, and body gestures. Such cues found on video are valuable for culturally responsive online teaching practice (Montelongo, 2018). Prior to using immersive video technology, I invested the time to understand this technology and collaborated with campus online support technicians to troubleshoot and produce final video. The first experiment using immersive video cameras for instruction was with my Leadership in Education class, a required course examining leadership theories, models, and processes. Using a POV action camera I recorded a visit to a regional HBCU to learn about the community outreach efforts and charismatic leadership of its president. Multicultural leadership qualities described in Juana Bordas's (2012) Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age were addressed in the class prior to the visit. Students prepared questions for the president concerning his thoughts on higher education leadership using Bordas's nine principles of multicultural leadership as...