Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Types of Instructional Videos

Over the time I've been at UWEC, I determined there are four main types of videos that instructors need to create. There are many technologies; the options provided here are what I've found to be most user friendly, reliable, and cost effective.

1. Record yourself speaking: Sometimes the best way to share information is just by talking. Let’s say you want to elaboration on essay instructions like you normally would face-to-face, or you want to give an overview to a module, or you want to tell a story related to the content. You could just record audio, but it’s much more engaging to include video of you as well. Here’s more information on recording a webcam video.

2. Record audio in a PowerPoint: PowerPoint can be a good medium for sharing information with the students. However, for an online course, rethink how you use PowerPoint to avoid the usual bulleted lists and include more images to help students learn more effectively. It is best to add audio elaboration and publish the video into a video format. If done successfully, the end result won’t even look like a PowerPoint! Here are resources:
3. Record your computer screen with audio narration: Maybe you want to show the students how to do something on a website or how to use a software application. For instance, an English professor wanted to make a short video for his students describing the Purdue OWL website that he commonly refers them to so the students can refer to it whenever they want and he didn't have to explain it over and over. This is called screencasting and the main programs I recommend are Camtasia and Screencast-o-matic. Screencast-o-matic is a free online program that is pretty user friendly and no download is required. Camtasia is the Cadillac of screencasting programs – you can do all sorts of cool stuff. I use it as my general video editing program.

Camtasia can be downloaded for free onto UWEC Windows computers via (Internet Explorer must be used for the download and it cannot be installed on personal computers). Mac users can get it too via the Self Service app (search for it in the spotlight if you can't find it).

4. Record your handwriting with audio narration: If you’re in a discipline like math, economics, or chemistry you are probably used to writing on the board. Handwriting digitization options help you record your handwriting and audio to simulate your ability to write on the board. There are lots of options, but the easiest way is on an iPad. Check out this post for more info.


Don't forget that your final video needs to go somewhere the students can view it, preferably not right in D2L. Good options are YouTube, Vimeo,, and, for UWEC staff and faculty, the university server. I'm working on a post comparing the options.

If you're a UWEC instructor and would like to learn more, each semester I offer a Digital Content Group through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). The group usually consists of 5-8 instructors who learn about the various technologies and share their experiences.

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