Connecting with Students on Smart Phones
“When I arrived the department was still doing things this way because ‘this is the way it’s always been done,’” says Cohen. “But that wasn’t good enough for me. I knew there had to be a better way to engage the students.” Her goal to kickstart a more interactive program was a perfect fit with Top Hat’s mobile platform, which her instructors use to conduct in-class comprehension quizzes and to take attendance. (In the kinesiology program, class attendance is mandatory, and failure to participate in 75 percent of the total sessions will result in failure of the course.)
“We need to transform how we deliver content to students, to match how they receive content in their day-to-day lives“—SUE-L COHEN Department of Kinesiology, East Carolina University
“It doesn’t matter if students forgot everything else that day,” she says. “As long as they come to class with their phone in hand, they can gain access to the material and follow along. Beyond that, when they leave the classroom they now have built in study guides provided to them through the Top Hat quizzes that are available for the remainder of the term.” In the future, Cohen plans to integrate the course’s textbook, which she and a few fellow professors authored, into Top Hat’s platform so she can include more interactive elements that boost student comprehension.
“My vision for the program is to provide sound education and experience within the world of physical activity, but that doesn’t have to happen in a traditional classroom,” says Cohen. She can see the program eventually moving to a hybrid course, one that incorporates all the newest technology available in the consumer world—like innovative equipment, wearables like FitBit and mobile phone apps—into the learning experience. “We are a society of technology now and our manner of creating educated consumers of physical activity and exercise has to adapt,” she says. “Software platforms like Top Hat have put my Kinesiology instruction at the fingertips of students who are connected 24-7.”
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