What I love about PlayPosit

UAF Associate Professor of Art Mareca Guthrie has been experimenting with interactive video in her courses for several years. Since fall 2019 she has been using PlayPosit for interactive video engagement for her Beginning Drawing (ART F105X) course, which consistently has close to 100 enrollments. Before the fall 2021 semester, I had the pleasure to interview Mareca about her experiences teaching with PlayPosit. This tip features eight things Mareca loves about PlayPosit from her years of experience.

PlayPosit is available to all UAF instructors, faculty and students and is integrated into Canvas at UAF. For more information, read the PlayPosit quickstart guide on Canvas or schedule a consultation with a UAF CTL instructional designer.

Gauge understanding with low-stakes quizzes

I love that I can give students the opportunity to test their understanding and give them immediate feedback using interactive quizzes with automated responses. I often set PlayPosit to give them full credit for completing the quiz no matter what answer they choose. I read Joe Feldman’s book Grading for Equity and I have been trying to give students opportunities to test their understanding and get supportive feedback before they are evaluated for a grade.

Understand the range of student experience

I like using polls to check for existing understanding or to better understand a student’s prior experience. This has given me a better understanding of common misconceptions or how to better present the material, such as what analogies work best or what connections I can make with things they might already be familiar with. It also helps me better frame how a concept might be personally meaningful.

Solicit feedback from students

Offering an opportunity for feedback has dramatically improved my videos because I better understand what students connected with or if their attention started to wander or if the core content wasn’t effectively communicated – “What did you find the most interesting or helpful? Was anything confusing or unclear? Is there anything you want to share or want us to know?” If several people mention something is confusing then I know I can do a better job explaining it.

Require interaction before students can move forward

I have found it invaluable for reviewing essential information like the syllabus or assignment guidelines where I can set up Canvas to require viewing and interacting with the video before other course content becomes available.

Seamlessly share additional resources

Often we’ll touch on things in class that students want to know more about but we don’t have time to cover in class. I love how PlayPosit can easily link out to additional resources for the students who are interested (and the students who are not interested can ignore!).

Supports high-enrollment classes

PlayPosit provides a more personalized learning experience for students even when I don’t have as much time to address students individually. Students not only feel a greater sense of instructor presence, they have more opportunities for engagement. It lets me get immediate feedback from students on their understanding of concepts, an improvement from my face-to-face class. Even in a small in-person course, we don’t have the time to ask everyone questions to promote critical thinking and closer observation, but with PlayPosit I can! PlayPosit also allows me to provide differentiated instruction. If 20 percent of the class answers a question incorrectly I can set up PlayPosit to play a different, more in-depth video segment to just those students that need to revisit a particular concept.

Approximates the visual experience of a traditional classroom

Students say that the learning experience with PlayPosit feels more like a live class due to the ability to interact with the video at appropriate points. In drawing classes, people like being in person because they can see the instructor’s work. In reality, many students can’t see what the instructor is demonstrating due to the logistics of people in the room. A video presented with PlayPosit gives all learners an equal viewing experience, and learners say that the videos feel much more personal and “alive” when they feature interactivity. Introverted students end up having a lot more to say than they might in the group setting of a classroom. Learners have different preferences for social engagement in courses, and PlayPosit allows the creation of a safe environment for reflection and interaction. PlayPosit even offers a “discussion” option that allows for interaction with peers in threaded conversations.

Results in more students watching course videos

I tracked the difference — seven out of 120 people watched a standard video hosted in Kaltura with no interactivity, over an entire course week! A similar video delivered in PlayPosit that asked students to share their prior knowledge and to garner reflective feedback garnered far more engagement, with more than 40 students having watched the video on the first day of the week of instruction. Students received a grade for participation, utilizing a low- or no-stakes approach. Students who take online classes say they appreciate getting credit for watching the videos because it makes them feel like the instructor values their time.

Sean Holland

Sean Holland

Associate Director of Learning Innovation


Mareca Guthrie in a studio

Mareca Guthrie

Associate Professor of Art

Mareca Guthrie is an associate professor of art in the UAF art department and the curator of fine arts at the UA Museum of the North. She holds a BA in Studio Art from Carleton College and an MFA in Film and Video Art from the California Institute of the Arts.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *