Perhaps you have wondered about the role that video might play in enhancing your course, or whether there really are tools available that are simple to use and would enable you to easily create your own video content? Or maybe you are concerned about how to integrate video, both your own or third-party from the internet, in the most pedagogically effective ways?

Mila Burns

View the recording of the Creating and Integrating Engaging Video for Your Course webinar co-hosted by Mila Burns, Assistant Professor, Department of Latin American and Latino Studies.

Why Create and Integrate Engaging Course Videos? by Susan Ko, Faculty Development Consultant, Office of Online Education

How to Create and Integrate Engaging Course Videos? by Naliza Sadik, Educational Technologist | Instructional Designer, Office of Online Education

Faculty Experience with Creating and Integrating Engaging Course Videos by Mila Burns, Assistant Professor, Department of Latin American and Latino Studies

You can also view the webinar presentation slides and read the overview of the webinar below prepared by Susan Ko, Faculty Development Consultant, Office of Online Education.

Videos can make instructor presence in a fully online course more visible, through instructor self-introductions, course tours, or other initial videos, especially at the beginning of a course, to help establish rapport and get the course off to a strong start. They can also be used to enhance instruction through such approaches as mini-lectures, weekly summaries, or to provide feedback to the entire class on a recent assignment, pointing out errors or misunderstandings, or demonstrating how a problem should be solved. Showing students by means of a short video, rather than just telling, may also make the feedback more effective.

Bringing in real-life applications through such means as interviews, how-to procedures (including screencasting to show something on the internet or a computer), street scenes, or objects from real life captured on video, may make lessons more vivid, clear, and relevant to students.

Faculty can integrate the richness of third-party videos by selecting from the many seminars, TEDtalks, documentary films, and other events captured on video that may be found.

Faculty should not assume that all students prefer video, but rather should consider video as one of the variety of different modes of learning experiences, complementing other types of presentation and delivery of content.

Faculty can maximize the learning effectiveness of this content and avoid treating these resources as just ‘add-ons” by making video content the center of an assignment, Pre and post exercises like readings, contextual introductory material, discussions, question and answer sessions, writing assignments, or other follow-up activities enhance the meaning and more fully integrate such resources.

In creating content, use facial cues, vocal cues, as well as key words and other graphic methods to emphasize meaning or signal information of greatest importance.

This section of the presentation reviewed a number of appropriate tools for creating video, and offered tips on doing so, emphasizing easy-to-use tools that are of no extra cost for faculty to use.

PowerPoint with voice over narrative is a natural tool for many to use, and faculty can save it as video. It allows for easy re-editing, but it does have a drawback in that the resulting files it creates are quite large. VoiceThread has the advantage of being integrated with Blackboard, and is easy to edit, so no further uploading or handling is needed.  It is a useful tool for short introductions, interactive mini-lectures, and affords the opportunity for student comments, if so desired. Zoom is an ideal and easy-to-use tool to record short lectures, share your screen if you want to demonstrate something, and can be saved as an mp4 file and easily uploaded to YouTube. Screencast-o-matic in its free version is also a possibility. 

Accessibility concerns mean that one should always provide closed-captions, transcripts, or summaries, depending on whether the video is your own creation or exists as a third-party resource. This permits the greatest number of students to be able to access your content, and also enhances video with other approaches to learning. In YouTube, one can either edit the auto captioning, or upload a script which YouTube’s tool will sync to your video.

Some major tips for creating videos are to make a script--even if you do not directly read from it, it gives you a framework and practice for the recording, and has the added benefit of constituting a ready-made transcript. Use a quiet room with the light in front of you, check to make sure the audio is good, and be natural--this is surprisingly more effective than an overly stiff and formal presentation. It’s okay to make small mistakes--just be yourself.

Our faculty co-host, Dr. Mila Burns, shared her considerable experience in video with us. Some reasons she gave for delivering course content via video are that it draws students closer to you, and once you get the hang of making videos, it is surprisingly easy to do, sometimes easier than what may seem more familiar methods.

Some ways in which Dr. Burns has used videos are to review the syllabus with students at the beginning of a course, in regular weekly announcements in the first weeks of the course, or in announcements that comment on the weekly discussion or some other current activity in the course. For lectures, she recommends only short video mini-lectures that highlight some concepts or aspects of the week’s content. She makes these videos as recordings on her laptop. For other occasions, such as delivering a PowerPoint talk, or when she has vivid images she wants to share, she finds VoiceThread a good choice.

Dr. Burns is accustomed to integrating videos from external sources as well for a particular assignment, using TedTalks, YouTube, Vimeo, or even whole films.

In regards to equipment, she stated that the good news is that you do not need professional equipment to do a credible job. A computer or cell-phone will be adequate to the task. It’s best to experiment and then use whatever you feel most comfortable handling. In positioning the camera, try out different placement, making sure the camera is not looking up your nose or cutting off the top of your head in the picture. Make sure your background is not all white and that the light is in front of you--a nice bookcase in back will do, but otherwise try to avoid a busy, too complicated picture. Wear bright colors and avoid stripes, and try facing the camera with your chin down a bit. If you are making an audio, a quiet place without echo is essential--oddly enough, something like a closet works best.

During the question period, the facilitators and Dr. Burns addressed a number of questions like pros and cons of allowing students to comment on your videos provided on VoiceThread (okay but not convenient if you need to keep checking), reusing videos from one semester to another (definitely a yes, but make sure to remove temporal references when recording), and questions related to the time needed and scheduling to make videos (yes, it takes time but is increasingly faster as you gain practice; make it part of your schedule at a time easiest for you--okay to record ahead of time).