Alison Hammack’s Action Research Project Opens the Door to Creating Video for Hybrid Classes


Determined to help her developmental math students, Alison Hammack, professor of mathematics, East Campus, jumped at the opportunity to participate in last year’s DESTINATION 2013, an annual professional development program that brings Valencia colleagues together to explore teaching and learning innovations, challenges and solutions.

As part of this program, Alison joined the track, Great Teachers in Action and was placed on a team of 10 colleagues from diverse fields. Most were first-time researchers. All were passionate about becoming more effective educators.faculty-insight-news-id

All participants must complete an Action Research Project (ARP), a foundational process that allows Valencia faculty to become more scholarly in their approach to teaching and learning. Through this small-scale, practical research, faculty members can investigate questions regarding student learning that directly impact their practices.

Alison found the experience worthwhile and was delighted that her project was selected on May 9, 2014, as the Best of Destination 2013, Action Research Project. And now, she shared her project with the new Destinations class during this year’s Destination 2014: Innovations and Change.

“My developmental math students often struggle with solving linear equation (word) problems,” shares Alison. “My Action Research Project was to determine whether using an instructor-created review video for hybrid developmental math II classes would improve students’ abilities to solve linear equation application problems.”

“We completed assignments and research in between our Friday meetings. My facilitator, Sidra Van De Car, professor of mathematics, East Campus, encouraged our work and collaboration, kept us on track and continued to support each of us during our implementation phase over the fall semester. What’s more, my colleagues provided weekly insights and advice specific to my project. I was amazed at the diverse and creative projects we were all undertaking.”

Partnering with colleagues across multiple disciplines who have the opportunity to share their varied experiences and interests in facilitated discussions is where much of the magic happens in Destination.

“I enjoyed learning from experts during my educational journal study,” she says. “I used new technology to create my own effective review video and learned that my math colleagues’ opinions were similar to mine on the word problems topic.”

Alison used Camtasia Studio, on-screen capturing, editing and sharing software with a headset and a microphone to make her video, along with a Wacom Bamboo tablet and a laptop computer.

“To learn to use the tools, I received advice from my colleague, Joel Berman (professor of mathematics, East Campus) who has created hundreds of awesome math instructional videos and Tana Damian, faculty and instructional support specialist at the East Campus Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation,” she shares.

Alison also found that her students provided good insight, openly welcomed her research and were active, supportive participants.

Alison is currently preparing new videos for a “flipped” college algebra class that she will teach in the fall. Flipped courses require students to watch instructional lectures before attending. During class, students work in small groups to complete assignments related to the video content.

“In the flipped classroom model, that which is traditionally done in class is now done at home and that which is usually done as homework is now done in class,” Alison explained.

Once completed, it will be added to the hundreds of math instructional videos in Math Help 24/7, an online resource for students.

For information on how to make instructional videos, visit the campus-based Centers for Teaching/Learning Innovation for resources and support.

1 Comment

  • Kay Passage said:

    As Alison's mother, I'd like to be the first to congratulate her on a job well done. I am very proud of her. She is a hard worker and very conscientious in all of her endeavors. I love you, Alison. Mom

    PMFri, 30 May 2014 12:07:49 +0000Fri, 30 May 2014 12:07:49 +0000pm14,12:07 pm

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