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Digital Storytelling Through Interactive Video – A conversation with Dr. Erica Smithwick

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
319 Walker Building, University Park, PA and online at


Exploration and learning about sustainability is a rapidly evolving aspect of undergraduate educational experiences. In this COIL Conversation, Dr. Erica Smithwick will discuss the application of two forms of interactive video (tagging, and embedded video quizzes) as a central component to a new, online, general education course at Penn State.

Her team’s tenet is that interactive video enhances learning and attitudes about course content by offering ways for students to connect tangibly with complex storytelling about socio-ecological systems and sustainability. This provides a portal to a rich array of material that enlivens students’ cognitive and perceptual understanding. Results from student surveys showed good or great gain in learning and understanding and moderate to great gain in attitude toward the subject being taught. Following the video tagging exercise, they assessed learning through the application of network metrics to student concept maps. Results showed greater awareness by students of interdisciplinary connections in socio-ecological systems. Overall, results support the continued use and evolution of interactivity in general education courses in an online or hybrid learning environment.

Dr. Erica Smithwick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at The Pennsylvania State University and is the Founding Director of the Center for Landscape Dynamics. She is also graduate faculty in the Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology and is a Faculty Associate with the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute.

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Commonwealth Campuses
University Park