Ashley Carmody, La Trobe Melbourne
[REC] Using personalised welcome videos to generate [R]apport, [E]ngagement and interactive [C]ommunities of practice in blended language learning environments

The digital transformation of learning and teaching is progressing ever more rapidly, with almost all the English courses that UECA members teach on or administrate now containing a range of blended elements. One of the main challenges with this combined form of delivery both online and in classrooms has proved to be a lack of learner engagement. The main response to this issue so far has been to incorporate digital technology, in particular mobile devices, into learning in traditional classroom spaces, for example by delivering lesson content via apps such as nearpod or supplementing classroom communication activities with interactive online communication games, such as Kahoot or online quizzes. This session will offer an alternative approach to increasing engagement in our blended learning enviroments—incorporating positive elements of the more personal classroom experience in online learning environments. In fact, I will show how simply adding a brief teacher welcome video on LMS prior to the first first face-to-face interaction can generate [R]aport, increase [E]ngagement and foster [C]ommunities of practice online. Firstly, the session will briefly cover research on the [REC] effect and show how embedding a call to action in a welcome video can implicity introduce the flipped classroom concept to learners before even beginning a course. Secondly, I will provide not only step-by-step tips on how to create a welcome video, but will attempt to overcome any lingering technological barriers by offering participants the opportunity to practice making and uploading a mini version live in the session.

I have over 20 years of teaching and professional development experience focusing on English for academic purposes, but also including general and business English courses. I regularly attend and often present at EA regional PD events and UECA PD fests, both here in Melbourne and in Sydney. My main area of interest in terms of professional development is blended learning and learner engagement. I have recently completed courses on online learning design in LMS and participated in last year’s EA action research project, as part of which I investigated the effect of delivering lesson content via mobile devices on learner engagement.