Paying it forward for extra credit

Yes, of course I offer my students some things to do for extra credit. But near the end of the semester, the last thing I want are more things to grade.

So I do things like Glogster poster assignments, or a speed quiz. But this semester I did something different. I asked them to make a video clip answering the question, “What’s one tip you would give to a new student in a MiraCosta online class?” Then I put a few of them together to help future students:

I didn’t announce it. I just put a link called “Extra Credit – Short video” in a Moodle forum. The exact wording of the assignment was:

For up to 3% extra credit, create a video of yourself answering the question “What’s one tip you would give to a new student in a MiraCosta online class?” I will be creating a MCC version of a video like this one. Your video should be about 15 seconds long.

Post your video to YouTube and embed it in this forum (do not attach a media file).

Privacy issues:  

  • If you don’t want to appear on camera, you can do a paper slide video instead.
  • Do not use your name in the video unless you want it made public.
  • If you need your video to remain private, put the setting as private in YouTube, give me permission ( to view it, and put the URL here.

Important: to get extra credit, you must indicate in your post whether or not I have your permission to use the video in public, because I plan to put these together for next semester’s students.

Grading criteria:

3 –  one great tip, articulate, good production values (video and audio), filmed on Oceanside or San Elijo campus, includes statement of permission to use

2 – one very good tip, articulate, OK video and audio, filmed outside anywhere, includes statement of permission to use

1 – one good tip, fair video and audio, filmed inside

I came up with it because I was looking around for a cool video for students new to online classes, one that preferably had students in it instead of some prof telling students what’s what. And I found very, very few (including the one I used here as an example for them). So I decided they could help me do it.

It took very little time for me. They did the video work, obviously. There were a few too many phone videos, and not as much emphasis on quality as I would have liked, but since I made it an option in all five of my online classes, there were plenty of clips (over 20) to choose from. I didn’t by any means use all the good ones – just some. I liked the result so much I wrote the students saying I hoped to use this as an example to other teachers and on my blog as well as a resource for students, and to let me know if that wasn’t OK. Everyone was cool.

Technology: I downloaded from YouTube using a Firefox plugin. I took the ones with low sound and used Quicktime to extract the audio, then Audacity to boost it and do some noise control. Then I dropped the resulting QT files into iMovie.

I highly recommend this!

3 thoughts on “Paying it forward for extra credit

  1. It’s really effective to see and hear other students, especially for an online course where you don’t normally have that contact.

    That was part our last activity for ds106 at UMW (was the idea of Martha Burtis when we co taught in 2012). Ours was actually required as part of their final project summary. In essence asking them to advise future students is a slightly divergent way of having them do as self assessment. And it becomes part of the orientation for the next course.

    For an outside observer I enjoyed just getting a sense of who your students are. What % did the extra credit?


    1. Hi Alan! It varied widely from class to class – one section of Western Civ only 3 of 36 did it, while in a section of US 11 of 38 submitted one. For the most part, the sections with the greatest number of struggling students did it, which would make sense with extra credit, but I like that because those who struggled had the best advice anyway. This made it even more worth doing, as usually with extra credit it’s the best students doing the best job.


  2. Oooooh, this is fun – for years I’ve had a blog where students can leave comments for future students (anonymous or not, their choice, either way is fine), and I’ve gotten so much good stuff that way; sharing and re-sharing (and re-sharing again) those comments with new students in the opening weeks of each class is so useful. But now… Lisa has got me thinking about something more creative. I’m not really into video, but creating memes and quote graphics and posters is very much a part of the class (since I am a meme and poster fiend myself), so I am thinking extra credit for an actual graphic contribution, in addition to the text comment at the blog, could be super. Thank you, Lisa!!!


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