Interactive Videos in Plant Pathology Course Gives Students a Taste of the “Real World”

As technology advances, society as a whole expects visually engaging content, both in everyday life and in the classroom. The challenge to keep up with this demand creates an opportunity for online courses to create experiences for online students previously only had in in-person courses.

ODEE’s instructional design team has accepted this challenge and incorporated video content in Professor Francesca Hand’s Diseases of Ornamental Plants course. The 14-week course is offered for both undergraduate and graduate students, and focuses on providing students the applied knowledge they need to identify specific disease of plants.

“The course is designed so students have the opportunity to apply everything they learn.” Hand said. “The content is very visual, so incorporating videos throughout the course will help students in ensuring they understand what they are identifying.”

To help in developing this interactive and engaging content, Hand worked with instructional designer Ken Matthias and instructional design video coordinator Scott Nelson. The three put their heads together to come up with new ways to include videos throughout the course.

“I always start with creating the course introduction videos so I better understand what the course is about,” Nelson explained. “Then I brainstorm with the instructional designers and instructors for ways to best incorporate videos. No idea is off limits.”

Two types of videos the three decided to create were time lapse videos and virtual field trips. The time lapse videos of plant life cycles were created using strategically-placed GoPros around the greenhouse, allowing students to see how plant disease develops, how the plant reacts, and what can be done at each step. The virtual field trips offer students a real-world view of where their degree can take them post-graduation, showing students a diagnostic lab, extension services, nursery operation, and a floriculture greenhouse operation.

“This course has really shown me as an instructional designer what is available to faculty to build their course in an engaging way.” Matthias said. “We have worked hard to make every crazy idea we had come to life and in the end, we developed some enriching pieces of content that make this course stand out.”

With this experience and the new content created, Hand said she is excited to launch this online course in 2017. She notes that her eyes were opened to what was possible when creating online content and developing videos through this course development experience.

“I’m very thankful to ODEE for providing such a great service and creating this interactive content,” Hand said. “I truly see these videos helping students learn and absorb the information.”

Looking to take your course online or incorporating engaging content into your instruction? Reach out to the ODEE instructional design team.