User Stories | December 17, 2014

How Grand Valley State University made online teacher training a possibility with Swivl

Grand Valley State University’s School of Education this year began offering its Graduate Teacher Certification program online (a first for the school). With students based hundreds of miles away from the campus’ surrounding area, a small team of faculty were tasked with finding an affordable solution that allowed them to observe student teachers’ instruction without being present, increase collaboration between students and mentors, and cut traveling costs dramatically. Here’s what happened when they turned to Swivl. gvsu class  

Grand Valley State University takes graduate teacher training program online with Swivl and expands reach to distance learners

EXCERPT: Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is a public liberal arts university serving over 25,000 students in the Grand Rapids/Allendale area. The university’s College of Education offers an intensive, one-year, full-time teacher training program—its Graduate Teacher Certification (GTC) program—that combines teacher education course work with two consecutive semesters of field placement at a local school. As part of their field placement, a teacher mentor and field coordinator must evaluate all students four times a semester, for a total of eight observations throughout the academic year. GVSU this year began offering its secondary GTC program completely online, a first for the department. This new offering attracted qualified students from outside the immediate West Michigan area. However, despite how far away some of the student placements were, the field coordinators were still called upon to travel on-site and assess how each student teacher was performing in the classroom. With multiple visits required throughout the semester for each student, performing these observations quickly grew to a significant cost in terms of dollars spent and time consumed with travel. Based upon these concerns Dr. Linda McCrea (Director of the Teacher Education program within the College of Education) asked Justin Melick (Digital Media Developer) and Kim Kenward (Instructional Designer) to research possible solutions that would allow for the recording and sharing of instruction from a distance. Justin’s immediate reaction was two-fold. First, he was convinced any affordable solution probably would result in poor video quality, as it would likely require a student holding a device in the back of the room or placing it on a stationary tripod, limiting the coordinators view of the entire room. Secondly, he believed that sound quality would also suffer, as classrooms aren’t typically the quietest of places. Justin and Kim took their concerns to Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technology, Eric Kunnen, who introduced the two to Swivl.

Looking to scale and expand your institution’s teacher training program? Click here to download and read the rest of our case study with GVSU.

Visit our case studies page for an in-depth exploration of more of Swivl’s use cases.