February 13, 2018

Carol Moss, Department of Kinesiology

I have always wanted my Introduction to Kinesiology students to experience firsthand how someone in my field would perform a particular skill in the real world. This presents an interesting and fun challenge. Last semester I was looking for ways to shift the emphasis from lecturing to engaging students in hands-on activities. For example, I wanted to see if I could provide an opportunity to have students use the concepts of biomechanics as a professional would. This desire sparked my idea of trying to incorporate a Moodle assignment that could be completed during class time!

I’m used to providing kinesthetic learning experiences. They are inherent to the athletic training and anatomy classes I’ve taught for many years. It’s a different story with Introduction to Kinesiology, for several reasons. First of all, the course introduces students to the various professions that are the “spokes” to the “wheel” of kinesiology. This makes it very broad in content and somewhat shallow in depth. The larger class size (between 25-30 students) presents a few logistical challenges for engaging students in hands-on learning activities. Finally, although it is required for first- or second-year kinesiology majors, it also attracts students from outside of our discipline who are seeking to learn more about our amazing world “on the other side of the tracks.” Given the diversity of the interests, ages, and motivations of the students taking this class, my previous experiments were not always met with immediate success.

But nearly every student loves their cell phone, so allowing them to actually use their phones productively during a biomechanics lesson was a win/win break through. In pairs, students took videos of each other performing a “squat” technique that is utilized during injury rehabilitation or strength training. They immediately uploaded those videos to the “assignment folder” that I had created on Course Webs. After all of the videos were uploaded we were able to view them during the same class period and discuss how to analyze the biomechanics of their “squats” by critiquing the videos as we were watching them. The students quickly figured out the technology and learned the biomechanical concepts.

Since attempting this activity with Moodle, I am already looking forward to trying it again this semester. I am also trying to think “outside the box” for more opportunities to use video uploads. The only glitch that I encountered in setting up the assignment folder is that I did not realize that Moodle defaults each student’s submission(s) to only one. This number can easily be edited in “submission types” after the assignment folder has been created, changing the number to anything from 1 to 20 submissions.