Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Why and When to Create Instructional Videos

When moving to online, hybrid, or flipped teaching, it can be difficult to identify when to create an instructional video. Many students will not watch 50 minute lectures online; instead, it is much more effective to create mini lectures around 10 minutes or less when needed. If it is necessary, you can have multiple shorter videos, but try to break them into specific topics so students can easily review them if necessary.

If instructional videos aren't necessary for completing assignments in the class, many students will figure that out and stop watching them. If your lectures are a summary of the text, many students will also figure that out and probably choose to either read or watch your videos. Consider the use of reading guides with questions the students answer while reading to ensure they get the main points. Also, encourage students to take notes on instructional videos. Sometimes students can go into television mode when watching an instructional video when they should treat it more like a face-to-face lecture.

It is completely acceptable to link to materials you've found online rather than create everything yourself. The role of an instructor in the digital age has moved more to someone who has the expertise to curate online information. You can add your perspective in the course through introduction videos, feedback, news items, and the creation of content you cannot find online.

Here are some suggestions on when to create instructional videos: 
  • To fill gaps in available content - If you can't find what you need, then create something yourself. If you are able to find online materials that meet your teaching objectives, use them. Creating high quality multimedia content is very time consuming.
  • To make connections between materials - It's ideal if you can set up low stakes assessments such as discussions where the students can make connections themselves, but sometimes they still need you to make the connections.

  • To clarify the materials or elaborate on difficult concepts - If you've taught the class before, you know where the students struggle and will need extra help. Sometimes they need to hear the same information in a few different ways, but save your effort for when it's really necessary. Consider using videos created for this purpose in your face-to-face class as well, so they can review.

  • To emphasize very important concepts - There are probably some concepts in your class that are so important that you really want to emphasize them - those are the things that could be digital content.  Don't spend a lot of time creating a video about something that isn't particularly important in your course.

  • To add your own stories and personal experience related to the content. People learn particularly well from stories but adding too much extraneous information can inhibit learning of the core content. Although it is possible to just provide audio, including a visual of yourself speaking adds interest and holds students' attention better.

  • Introductions - Creating an intro video of yourself and the course can personalize you to the students and allow you to share your enthusiasm, although you may not actually be sharing much content. You can also create introductory videos showing the layout of an online course or describing the syllabus. However, these may need to be changed each time you teach.
  • During the class - Although it is recommended for an online class to be all ready to go before it begins, you may think of things later or want to create feedback videos. With Kaltura and CaptureSpace Lite, it is not too difficult to create videos while you are teaching. They can be added as news items to make sure students see them.

  • When it can be reused - Try to create videos of concepts that don't change regularly so you can use them for a long time.
    • If you use an example, use a generic one rather than a very time-specific one. You can also include a time-specific example in a medium like text that can be changed more easily.

    • Don't specifically reference the time of year, or the class you're creating it for. You may be able to use your videos in multiple classes - maybe as a review for a more advanced class.

    • Don't talk too much about the book, in case it changes.

    • Try not to reference assignments or discussions because you may decide to change them later, unless you are creating an introduction video you anticipate changing for each class.  

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