Using Jing to Facilitate Connection

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Using screencasts to report course issues. Collaboration between and online instructor and elearning instructional designer. Paper presented at KU Village Online Conference, 2010

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Using Jing to Facilitate Connection

  1. 1. Running head: USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION 1   Show and Tell: Using Jing to Facilitate Connection, Communication, and Collaboration between Instructor and Instructional Designer Michelle A. Liken and Melissa A. Venable Kaplan University Author Notes Michele A. Liken, PhD, APRN-BC is an Adjunct Instructor at the Kaplan UniversitySchool of Nursing. Contact: mliken@sc.rr.com Melissa A. Venable, PhD was a Curriculum Manager at the Kaplan University School ofNursing. Contact: mvenable@design-doc.com (Updated  contact  info:  10/2011)   This  Paper  was  presented  at  the  KU  Village  Online  Conference:  "Connect,  Communicate,  and  Collaborate"   September  20-­‐23,  2010  
  2. 2. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          2     AbstractHave you experienced an online course problem that was difficult to communicate in an email oronline form? An instructor in Kaplan University’s School of Nursing uses Jing to providedetailed information to the instructional designer related to course issues. Through Jing, briefscreencasts are created in minutes and sent via email. This web 2.0 technology produces videosegments including voice and screen recordings. Jing allows for enhanced communicationtoward resolving course issues. In this report both instructor and instructional designer sharetheir different perspectives and make recommendations for the use of this type of technology topromote connection, communication, and collaboration between instructor and instructionaldesigners working with online courses.
  3. 3. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          3     Show and Tell: Using Jing to Facilitate Connection, Communication, and Collaboration between Instructor and Instructional Designer Instructors of online courses are often not geographically located near their schools ornear technical support resources. When something goes wrong in an online course, such as abroken link or problem with a file, these instructors have to rely on technology to communicatethe problem. Online instructors report the provision of technology support as a key element ofassistance required to do their work (McKenzie, Mims, Bennet, & Waugh, 2000). An instructor in Kaplan University’s School of Nursing uses Jing to provide detailedinformation to the instructional designer assigned to work on course issues in her program.Through Jing, brief screencasts are created as a tool to convey the problem to the instructionaldesigner. This paper outlines the process of submitting a course issue and the two primary roles,instructor and instructional designer that are involved in the process of reporting and resolution.The instructor is the primary facilitator of the course and is on the front line of delivery. He orshe interacts directly with the course components and content and also directly communicateswith the students enrolled in the course. Once the instructor identifies a problem with the course,or is made aware of a problem by an enrolled student, the instructor then notifies theinstructional designer of the problem. In this particular institution, the instructional designer isoften responsible for the development and maintenance of this specific course. The instructionaldesigner reviews the submitted issue, investigates the problem in more detail, and then proposespossible solutions. Course Perspectives
  4. 4. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          4    Instructional Designer Our instructional designer defines a course issue as a problem that has been identifiedwith a particular course. Types of problems typically include: broken links, error messages,misdirected links, missing content, errors in content, outdated content, typographical errors, andformatting errors.Instructor Problems listed above are compounded by adding the student factor into theequation. These barriers to learning can create an atmosphere of anxiety in that it prohibitsstudents from moving forward with course material. Because most students believe the instructorcreates, manages, and teaches courses, these issues may infer instructor incompetence.Student Students are often unaware that there is an instructional designer involved in their course.When a technical difficulty arises or a mistake is found in a course, they may assume that it is theinstructor’s error and responsibility. Providing timely resolution to the problem and support tothe instructor is important to foster student learning and satisfaction with a course. Experiencingproblems related to technology may be one of a number of influences that affect studentretention in a course (Park, 2007). Current Course Issue ProcessFrom the Instructional Designer’s Perspective Typically, the instructor will identify a problem with a course and report it to theinstructional designer. This might happen in a number of ways including an online form and anemail message. This particular institution uses SharePoint as an online tool. This site includes aspecific online form for submitting these types of issues. This form includes fields for: course
  5. 5. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          5    name and number, term in which the problem has been identified, description of the problem,and suggested resolution. The issue is then reviewed by the instructional designer who posts anaction taken and an update of the issue’s status, such as active, resolved or resolution in progress. From the instructional designer’s perspective, clarification is often required. This meanscontacting the instructor who submitted the issue, usually by email, to ask questions and seekadditional details. The following items are two examples of potentially confusing issues as posted in anonline form: (a) Student feedback and areas causing student concerns on the assignmentwording. Several students felt the instructions were vague and unclear. Students requestedgreater detail on projects, and (b) unit 6 assignment guidelines “don’t open properly.”From the Instructor’s Perspective Upon identification of a problem, instructors typically e-mail a description of the problemto their mentor and/or program director. The mentor/program director requests that the instructorrecord the problem in Sharepoint. One or both of these individuals forwards this information tothe instructional designer. At this point, the instructor is not aware the process that is taking placeto solve the problem. Sometimes it is solved, however, the instructor may receive a messagefrom the course designer stating, “there doesnt appear to be a problem.” At this point, theinstructor has moved to the next course venture and may not follow through with trying to solvethe problem. The problem, thus, perpetuates. Communication of course issues are critical components of successful completion of theteaching/learning process in online courses. Mechanisms to enhance course communication arelikely to facilitate the teaching/learning process. Jing is one avenue for augmenting coursecommunication.
  6. 6. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          6     What is Jing? Jing, developed by the TechSmith Corporation in 2007 falls into the category ofscreencasting software. It allows users to film/record actions taking place on theirdesktop. Screencasts are useful for demonstrating components of the learning process. Theymay be especially useful for showing students how to work with technology or navigate througha course. The recording, a video screen capture, is processed and a URL is created. Users canpaste the link to the screencast in a website or email for others to view. Jings are stored onTechSmith’s server. Links can be used multiple times and do not expire. TechSmith Corporation (2010) lists the following as possible uses for Jings: projectcollaboration, voice over narration of pictures, capture of computer glitches, and demonstrationof using software applications. Jing has proven to be a useful tool for demonstrating glitches orproblems that are barriers to successful completion of the teaching / learning process in onlinecourse in Nursing at Kaplan. Improving Connection, Communication, and CollaborationCurrent Research and Evidence-Based Teaching To date, few studies were found to support the base of evidence based teaching practice.In one study, Peterson (2007), a library sciences instructor, piloted an informal study of coursebenchmark outcomes. The intent was to compare student outcomes where screencasts were used,versus those where screencasts were not used. Likewise, according to Urata (2004) creatingvisual manuals can help to make communication more effective when the parties involved arecommunicating across a distance. These manuals include the use of screen shots, pictures of thecomputer screen, and step-by-step guidelines for the user. Urata noted that research showing the
  7. 7. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          7    effectiveness of this kind of communication tool has taken place in the training field. However,to date documented outcomes of this research was not found. In another study, Rethlefsen (2009) reviewed and compared other screencapture andscreencasting products to Jing Pro, the paid version of Jing. Rethelfsen reported high ratings ofJing Pro in terms of ease of use and video capabilities. The product, however, received lowratings on flexibility and audio capabilities. While this product did not rate as high as others,such as Adobe Captivate and Camtasia Studo, it was by far the least expensive, often by amargin of hundreds of dollars. The free version was also considered “an excellent alternative”(Rethlefsen, 2009, p.62). The majority of publications (Ferriter, 2010; Griffis, 2009; Rethlefsen, 2009) regardingJing and similar screencast applications remain at the descriptive level. The impact of usingscreencasts on teaching/learning outcomes is ripe for empirically-based intervention studies, thusadding to the base of best practices in teaching.Our Experience This instructor-instructional designer team found that video screencasts improveconnection, communication, and collaboration. They remove a great deal of uncertainty about anissue by allowing both the instructor and instructional designer to see the problem on screen andto hear the instructor talk about the problem via audio recording. This team has also realized thepotential for faster resolution. When the need to clarify issues with the instructor is removed, viaa screencast, a viable resolution takes less time. Show and TellInstructor
  8. 8. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          8     The instructor was first introduced to Jing during hospital staff training. Jing recordingswere created to demonstrate use of newly implemented electronic medical charting software. Theability to see active screencasts of the data entry process greatly aided staff understanding, thusfacilitating a smooth transition to the new program. In the online classroom the instructor had difficultly trying to explain in words how toupload a document to the course dropbox. Recalling the success using Jing in the hospitaltraining, the instructor created a Jing to show students the dropbox process. Receivingoverwhelmingly positive comments from students about the Jing, precipitated ongoing use ofthis screencast software.Instructional Designer From the instructional designer’s perspective the use of screencasts has improved theprocess of communicating and resolving course problems. This instructor has been able toclearly articulate the problems she has encountered through the use of Jing. The instructionaldesigner sees and hears immediately the problem and can use that information to quickly find thesource and complete the required action to resolve the issues.Examples Four examples of how this instructor used screencasts to communicate course issues tothe instructional designer, responsible for maintaining this instructor’s online courses, arepresented in Table 1. Information includes description of the specific problem, the subsequentresolution, and perceived benefit of using screencast technology to submit the problem.Table 1Examples of Course Issues Reported with Jing Screencasts Issue Type Problem Description Resolution Perceived Benefit Broken Link The instructor found a broken link Correct the URL address so Instructor was able to
  9. 9. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          9     to a survey. The survey was that the link opened the show the instructional linked in several places in the survey. designer exactly where the course. broken link was located in the course. Gradebook The instructor found a problem Reset assignment points to Instructor was able to with the course gradebook – too correct number. correctly identify the many total points for the course. source of the problem by walking through the gradebook on screen. The instructional designer was then able to enter the gradebook and quickly make the needed modifications. Doc Sharing Missing documents in doc sharing Upload correct documents Instructor clearly area of online course – two of a to course master so they conveyed the two specific set of four. would migrate to all documents that were sections and terms. missing. Document/File File was not opening properly for Change the file extension of In an initial email report of instructor and students. this document so this issue the instructional compatible with multiple designer was unable to editions of MSWord. recreate the problem. The screencast illustrated the file type problem – the instructional designer could see the pop-up screens and error messages and make the diagnosis. Benefits and Challenges As with most types of technology, there are pros and cons to working with screen captureand screen recording tools. Below are some of the benefits and challenges experienced by thisteam.Benefits The screen captures are quick to create and view, thereby providing clearercommunication of a problem. Screen captures also serve as a kind of visual documentation thatexpands on the instructor’s submission of an issue. The audio and video allow for a more indepth description of the problem that is being experienced. They may also illustrate the process
  10. 10. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          10    resulting in the problem, allowing the instructional designer to retrace the steps to create theproblem and fix factors contributing to the problems. While the benefits are clear, challenges doexist.Challenges Using screencast applications require some additional equipment - specifically amicrophone or headset that allows for the recording of the instructor’s voice. The lag timebetween making the recording and receiving a URL production can be frustrating. Likewise,account limitations with the free version of Jing include a limited recording time. Eachscreencast can be no more than five minutes in duration. In addition, TechSmith limits space forstoring URLs. Eventually further recordings are prohibited for free accounts. Finally, moresophisticated options come with fees for licenses and for added features, such as storage forrecordings on the system’s servers (TechSmith Corporation, 2010). Upon examination of thesechallenges, both the instructor and instructional designer concur that using Jing is worth the extraeffort to facilitate course success by enhancing connection, communication, and collaboration. Recommendations This report offers several recommendations regarding the use of screencast technologiesfor reporting issues in online courses. Instructors who are interested in using screencasts shouldconsider adding these screencast URLs to their issue submissions. This may require somecoordination with the support personnel who maintain the online courses. It may be possible toadd a field to online forms that allows for the upload or attachment of the screeencast. While this team reports its own use and experience with screencapture technologies,opportunities for future empirically-based intervention studies in this area are needed. Forexample, studies should include collecting feedback from larger, more diverse groups of
  11. 11. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          11    instructors and instructional designers. Likewise, critical outcomes, particularly those impactingstudents, must be identified. More specifically, researchers should seek to collect data about problems with courseissue reporting and potential successes with using screencaptures. Finally, further investigationshould be directed toward distinguishing between specific types of issues that may be moreclearly expressed with the addition of audio and video, and those that can be clearly expressedwithout this additional step. In summary, the purpose of this paper was to describe use of Jing in the online learningenvironment. Perspectives of using Jing between an instructor and instructional designer werepresented. Examples of using Jing in a course were illustrated and recommendations were made.While minor challenges exist, the benefits of using screencast software like Jing to facilitateconnection, communication, and collaboration between an instructor and instructional designerare certainly worthy of further investigation.
  12. 12. USING JING TO FACILITATE CONNECTION                                                                                                                                                          12     ReferencesFerriter, W. (2010). Preparing to teach digitally. Educational Leadership, 67(8), 88-89.Griffis, P. (2009). Building Pathfinders with Free Screen Capture Tools. Information and Technologies Libraries, 4, 189-190.McKenzie, B. K., Mims, N., Bennett, E., & Waugh, M. (2000). Needs, concerns, and practices of online instructors. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 3(3) Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall33/mckenzie33.htmlPark, J. (2007, February). Factors related to learner dropout in online learning. Paper presented at the International Research Conference in The Americas of the Academy of Human Resource Development, Indianapolis, IN. Retrieved from ERIC database (ED504556)Peterson, E. (2007). Incorporating screencasts in online teaching. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(3), 1-4. Retrieved from ERIC database (EJ801074)Rethlefsen, M. L. (2009). Screencast like a pro. Library Journal, 62-63.TechSmith Corporation. (2010). Frequently Answered Questions. Retrieved from http://jingproject.com/faq/Urata, T. (2004). Step-by-step visual manuals: Design and development. Tech Trends (48)3, 31 34.

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