Faculty Spotlight: Arnold Bloom

Dr. Arnold Bloom, professor of plant sciences at UC Davis, is one of the faculty members participating in the University of California online instruction pilot project, for which he has created a fully online course, Global Climate Change.

Through the process of developing the online version of Global Climate Change, Bloom has especially focused on creating interactive videos that integrate quizzes and data manipulation.

Using Adobe Premiere and Adobe Audition, Bloom creates and edits videos in which he records a verbal narrative that is accompanied by interactive charts, quizzes, and PowerPoint slides. “Part way through the video,” Bloom explains, “students answer quiz questions and interact with the charts, and then the video continues.”

According to Bloom, this interactivity is key to the success of online education: “the vast majority of online education deserves its bad reputation because it is just talking heads and workbooks. It needs to be more interactive.”

Video length is also an important component. Bloom began by creating 12-minute videos, which is in line with Coursera and Kahn Academy, but, Bloom says, “we’ve found that’s a little too long. I’m currently in the process of splitting them into 4-minute segments.”

In addition to the videos, Bloom’s course has synchronous, webinar-style discussions through Adobe Connect. During full-class discussions, Bloom asks his students to “turn to your neighbor” and engage in small-group breakout sessions. “This strategy is better than in-class group work,” Bloom contends, “because students only see and hear other members of their group, and the teacher can visit each of the breakout rooms and hear what the small groups are saying.”

Fifty-three students completed the online version of Global Climate Change last spring, and multiple sections have been running this fall.

Check out the course for yourself!

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