Channeling My Inner Carl Sagan; Developing Supplemental Videos as OER

Submitted by Jarod Raithel on
What is the Purpose of the Assessment?

Student survey data over three semesters indicates that the area most in need of improvement in our BIO 182 General Biology II course is the quality and utility of our textbook.  

Describe the necessity for this assessment

The current cost for Campbell's Biology in Focus is $133.  Yet, I have observed that unless specific comprehension questions are assigned, very few students engage with the text.

Describe how the practice will be implemented

Following being awarded a FRACTYL grant, I have had the freedom to develop a suite of unique, engaging, short (<20 minute) You Tube videos and associated Canvas quizzes, revolving around real-world case studies to provide supplemental content outside of the classroom, and in lieu of the textbook.  I craft these videos using Camtasia and publish on my Youtube channel here:…;

Interpret, compare, and describe the results

On the question assessing the "Quality of Textbook," the grand mean equals 4.01 (out of 5), where 5 = Strongly Agree.  While this may seem high, it is considerable lower than all of the other indicators of teaching efficacy which average ~4.9.  Comments are often along these lines . . . "Class was taught well enough that the textbook was not needed for my learning."  Whether or not my video supplements are effective remains to be seen.

After analyzing, and reflecting on the outcome, what are the next steps?

This Spring 2019, students will be completing 4 video supplements, one per unit, including: 1) Islands: Planet Earth's Evolutionary Laboratories; 2) Exobiology: Are We Alone?; 3) Koko's Kitten: A New Paradigm in Ethology; and 4) Pleistocene Rewilding: High-Tech Mitigation or Pandora's Box?  I will assess the quality of these resources at the conclusion of the semester to compare with responses about textbook, and update this CATs at that time.   


Having now completed 3 semesters teaching BIO 182 - General Biology II for Science Majors, the area consistiently identified by student surveys as in need of improvement is the "Quality of the Textbook."  The book is expensive (>$100), and yet, I have observed that many/ most students do not read the supplemental chapters that align with lectures / activities / labs unless I assign end-of-chapter comprehension questions.  Following being awarded a FRACTYL grant last spring, I have been developing an OER, consisting of a series of engaging, supplemental videos that focus on case studies (i.e., Koko the gorilla taught sign language), interesting new research (water or space bears and their foreign DNA), and popular topics (Homo floresiensis the "Hobbit").  Thus far this semester, the response to these videos has been overwhelming positive, but is still anecdotal and qualitative; I will quantify repsonses with a formal survey mid-April.  My You Tube channel is here:…


Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
BIO 182
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Becky Baranowski Tue, 02/19/2019 - 8:45am

Thank you for taking time to submit a CATS.  I love that you are taking time to do videos and using real life case studies.  Using the feedback from students to create videos is great.  I look forward to seeing what students have to say on the survey. 

Catherine Cochran Tue, 02/19/2019 - 11:54am


I admire your passion for teaching, and empowering out students ability to learn!  On a personal note, I hope my children have passionate educators like you. 

You are going the extra mile, to reach all of our students by creating videos.  You are appealing to all the learning styles:  visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.  Great idea to measure the learning tool, the textbook's usage.  Great job! 


Teri Graham Mon, 02/25/2019 - 10:27am

Jarod - Thank you for sharing your experience through CATS.  I am excited to see the affect the OERS are having on your students.  We implemented this in our developmental math courses with success.