Clavier Companion - May/June 2017 - 24
Practices: Submitted by students, practices track
progress. Collabra stores every minute of students'
recorded practice (or any video uploaded as a
practice) in a calendar format. Instructors receive
weekly emails detailing student practice time; they
can then view and comment on these recordings or
initiate two-way discussions with students. Even if
their subscriptions expire, students will always retain
access to the practices they recorded or the lessons
assigned to them.
Assessments: Created by the instructor, graded
assessments can be assigned to as many students
as desired. Teachers can specify the time frame of
the assessment, as well as the number of attempts.
If multiple recording attempts are allowed, students
choose their best performance to submit for a
grade. Collabra also provides an anonymity option
for videos if instructors prefer to reveal the student's
identity only after grading an assessment. Students
receive email reminders twenty-four hours before
an assessment is due and when an instructor grades
or comments on their recordings.
From the homepage, instructors can also access
student practice and assessment reports, send and
view messages and initiate discussions, manage
courses, and create and view collaborations with
The instructor's "Create Assessment" page.
I tested Collabra's capabilities in my thirdsemester group piano classes, which are comprised
of non-keyboard music majors. Rather than
completing an in-class score reading quiz-which
consumes valuable instructional time-students
completed a video assessment via Collabra outside
of class. Through my instructor account, I provided
students with full instructions for the assignment,
with a weeklong assessment period and multiple
recording attempts. I then assigned this assessment
to all students enrolled in my designated "Group
Piano" course. Students could submit their
recording at any point during the assessment time
frame, and I could make continual modifications to
the assignment if needed.
My students and I noted several strengths of
Collabra through this assessment activity. With
its streamlined interface, we found the platform
straightforward and easy to navigate. I created
and assigned the assessment in less than five
minutes and appreciated the autonomy I had to
change or edit the assessment whenever necessary.
Students found that Collabra seamlessly led them
through the process of enabling the camera and
microphone on their devices prior to recording.
Collabra also uses the universal red record button,
which students quickly found on their devices.
Once submitted, each video is also time stamped
and any late submissions are
highlighted in red.
Students greatly valued the
individualized, specific feedback they received on the
videos. Since I watched each
assessment outside of class, I
could provide targeted comments on technical and musical aspects of students' performances. Students could
then see these comments in
Collabra and review their videos to determine how they
could improve. Students also
found that multiple recording
attempts eased performance
anxiety and helped them
feel successful. Indeed, while
many of my students find
open score reading a challenging skill, most students
performed this assignment
with excellent accuracy and