‘5 Minutes With Matt’: The Innovative use of Micro Video Blogging in Higher Education

Matthew L Jones


Recent developments in online learning platforms and associated technologies have changed the dynamics of higher education by forcing practitioners to reconsider traditional assumptions of teaching and learning (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004). This has fundamentally changed the nature and parameters of pedagogy within higher education whilst also shifting the associated expectations of students (HEA, 2000). Today, face-to-face teaching alone is considered somewhat antiquated; instead an effective higher education practitioner is now someone who can draw upon a myriad of blended learning strategies (see HEFCE, 2009). Because of this, the author of this paper contends that it is a fundamental responsibility of higher education practitioners today to be responsive to such changes and to continually seek ways of innovatively ‘blending’ traditional face-to-face methods of teaching and learning with new technologies and online platforms.  In this vein, this short paper provides an example of how micro-video-blogging has been used as a blended learning tool within a social science programme.

The use of video-blogging per se in higher education is in its infancy and as a consequence there are limited scholarly conversations exploring their use. Crawford (2007, p.44) refers to them as “vlogs” and defines them as ‘a weblog which uses video [rather than text] as the primary content’. In that regard Courts & Tucker (2012, p.124) describe a weblog as an online written platform ‘that allows the blogger to post their thoughts, ideas, and commentaries on a website’. Despite little empirical insight evaluating the nature and effectiveness of video-blogging within higher education, Crawford (2012) highlights their growing use as a pedagogic tool to enhance student engagement and to reflect the diversity of learning styles and preferences amongst heterogeneous student populations.  A basic web search will reveal the many thousands of academic video blogs that have been made publically available by higher education institutions and their staff. However, they are often very long, bland and poorly produced – failing in their brief to “enhance” traditional teaching and learning methods. Frustrated by these limitations, the author of this paper set about identifying a solution to these shortcomings by piloting the use of “micro” video-blogging.

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