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Pushing through

Teaching Tuesdays: Dr. Kevin Power

Teaching and Learning

By Ian Coultas

Educators are currently in a situation where they must rethink their face-to-face courses in order to deliver them remotely.

Among other strategies, Dr. Kevin Power is harnessing the power of video to help simulate the in-person experience, and ultimately, to try and make a positive impact on learners. Learn more in this video featuring the professor in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation (SHKR).

Whether it’s connecting with his students through video lectures, recording video instructions for students to help them understand a tool or using video conferencing to schedule synchronous group work and cross-country journal clubs, Dr. Power feels that, for him, some of these strategies may continue even after the pandemic is over.

“We’re using tools that are not going away. Learning to use them is going to be beneficial, because we’re going to do more of this, blending technologies into our approaches.”

Pivoted quickly

For the winter 2020 part of his course, he asked his students to make two presentations.

No one was keen on live presentations, so they pre-recorded them instead and the class provided anonymous feedback. Dr. Power also learned how to give students accurate instruction to be able to make their videos using the online platform and to upload and edit them if needed.

Dr. Kevin Power, lower right hand corner in a blue shirt, with students and faculty for a fun, pre-pandemic game in the Physical Education building gym.
Photo: Submitted

Outside his academic life, Dr. Power is also a hockey coach. To keep in touch with the players, he began recording them, interviewing the kids about things like their favourite hockey player and their best hockey memory. Because of this, he became comfortable with the process.

“As soon as I realized I needed to provide this information to the students, I thought I would just make a video because I had already done so many,” said Dr. Power.

With some input from the Centre for Innovation and Teaching and Learning, he also created and edited YouTube videos. He screen-captured himself going through the process and took the students through the process with a voiceover. They could stop, pause, rewind and watch multiple times.

Not without challenges

In the spring semester, he started teaching with fellow SHKR instructor Duane Button on Zoom, using breakout rooms for small group research projects compared to lecture classes – getting almost full attendance while they were at it.

Everyone is on mute, and only two people have their cameras on, so there are no faces or voice feedback – which has been a big challenge.

“I tell a lot of “dad jokes,” where I’m simulating what I normally would, but I’m basically telling jokes to myself, so it’s pretty weird,” said Dr. Power.

As an instructor, it is hard to judge how things are going if you can’t see students or call on them. He says the chat feature has proven to be successful, and gets a lot of questions and comments.

Dr. Power, right, with colleagues in a SHKR laboratory pre-pandemic.
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Power says he won’t be in any laboratories this fall. Teaching four courses will bring different challenges. Motor Learning is still in the planning stages. Exercise Physiology will be lectured together with Dwayne, but he is still planning how to evaluate the course. Introduction to Kinesiology, Physical Education and Recreation will be filled with guest speakers, as it is always well attended.

There are many challenges, but he says his love for what he does will push him through.

In his hockey life, he ran virtual workouts and put them through exercises. He says it wasn’t so much about fitness, but more about the social aspect. He assigned students to keep a 24-hour physical activity journal and write a reflection piece. He is considering a “Fitness Fridays” for students enrolling in the fall semester.

“We are planning on continuing this in fall and beyond, inviting a speaker to our journal club once a month,” Dr. Power said. “We are looking forward to seeing new technologies coming together and creating something amazing.”

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