May 12, 2022

Video Killed Star Radio Text-Based Teaching Methods

The challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic have revealed a number of ways in which higher education has fallen behind the rest of society and forced a rapid shift in educational strategies. We have seen a “regression to the mean” in many respects, but the increased demand for online teaching (and access to online materials, even in traditional courses) should make us think about how we can make the most of the technology available in our Classes. One avenue that offers great value for money is creating original video content. Creating your own video content is easier than you think and has huge potential to improve your connection with students, improve your sense of classroom presence, and make your learning materials more accessible to students.

Why should I integrate video into my teaching strategy?

While there are a multitude of reasons to use video in your lessons, three of the most important benefits are familiarity, accessibility, and connection. First of all, the students have a great familiarity with the medium of video. Creating and using video allows you to connect with students using technology they are already familiar with.

Video also offers the advantage of accessibility because your students will be able to access your videos at the time and via the technology that suits them best. One student might like to watch your class on their phone while they take the bus home from work at 2:00 a.m. Another might prefer to watch on their laptop while they have lunch. Asynchronous video gives students the flexibility and mobility to access material in a way that best suits their learning needs.

Finally, using video has the potential to dramatically improve your connection with students. It can get pretty lonely, especially for students in mostly virtual and/or asynchronous classes. Seeing your face and hearing your voice (even in a pre-recorded announcement or conference video) provides an important reminder that there is a real person on the other end of this course. You’ll be amazed at the sense of engagement and connection it can foster!

Won’t I need a lot of expensive equipment?

The short answer is no.” Of course, there are all sorts of fancy tools and toys you can use to create videos. In truth, though, the equipment you need to get started is probably already installed in your home or your office.

Chances are you can reap the benefits discussed (familiarity, accessibility, and connection) with what you already have on hand and what you can get for free. If you teach online, you probably already have a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a built-in camera and microphone. It won’t be complicated, but you can get the ball rolling with these things. You can up your game by using video/screen capture software like Screencast-O-Matic to record yourself and your lecture slides. Many of these software have a “free” version with simplified options that will still offer a lot to beginner creators.

After a while, you might decide to invest a little money to increase the production value of your videos without breaking the bank. For less than $150, you can put together a solid set of gear that will make a noticeable difference in the end product. My personal “everyday” production setup consists of a Samson Q2U microphone (about $60), a Mee CL8S webcam (about $60), and an annual subscription to the deluxe version of Screencast-O-Matic (about $20/year). This small investment had a big return on the quality of production values ​​and the ease of creating my own videos.

You can also take the “go big or go home” approach and spend a few thousand dollars on a studio-grade mic, mirrorless camera, and Adobe Creative Suite. Your videos would definitely be amazing! However, it is important to take into account all the costs associated with this type of operation. You will need an isolated space in which to record, expertise in the various complicated systems used, and a greater time commitment to prepare, record, and edit videos at this level. You may be bitten by the production bug and decide to take the plunge, but I encourage you to start small and see where that leads.

Okay I will try. What should I keep in mind?

Creating an effective instructional content video has a lot in common with algebra; There are a lot of variables. You need to consider what works best for your student population, your discipline, your own personality, and your teaching style. Not everything about creating videos should be taken as universal. That said, here are some general tips with broad application:

Be brief – We live in an age of snippets, not long lectures. Try to keep your videos within the five minute range. You may need to “cut” longer lectures into smaller chunks to make the content more manageable for students.
To be visible – Now is not the time to be shy in front of the camera! Being on screen is a big part of bonding with your students. You don’t have to be a Hollywood superstar. You just need to be seen so they know you’re real.
Know your goal – Is it a lecture or a tutorial? Are you breaking down a complex theory or concept? Or is it a more practical “how-to” oriented explainer? The style and organization of the video should match the overall purpose.
bring the energy – You are probably passionate about the subject of your video, so let your enthusiasm shine through! Also keep in mind that the ether travel process results in a 27% decrease in energy in your video. Okay, that’s not a real stat, but you need to give a little more on the front end to keep the excitement level effective for the end viewer!

I get it. And now ?

Now comes the easiest (and also the hardest) part of the whole journey: getting started. It’s very common for teachers to hesitate, procrastinate, and find every reason in the book not to make a video. My advice here is simple: just start. Don’t think about it too much, don’t plan it too much, and don’t stress it too much. Just start!

Here are two challenges to get you moving:

Assignment I amPossible #1: Create a unit announcement video

  • Use only the equipment you currently have.
  • Follow the “best practices” described in this article.
  • Set a maximum time limit of three minutes for the final product.
  • Collect feedback from students, colleagues, and random passers-by to learn what worked and where you can improve.

Assignment I amPossible #2: Create a content video

  • Focus on a single concept or theory.
  • Use only the equipment you currently have.
  • Follow the “best practices” described in this article.
  • Set a maximum time limit of 5 minutes for the final product.
  • Collect feedback from students, colleagues, and random passers-by to learn what worked and where you can improve.

With more than 15 years as a faculty member and administrator in higher education, Josh Rockey is Senior Instructor for Online Communication Courses at Colorado Technical University. The use of video and other new media technologies has been a hallmark of Rockey’s teaching strategy throughout his career. His instructional videos for communicators are used by schools across the country and have over 600,000 views on YouTube. In addition to educational videos, Josh has produced, edited and provided voice talent on projects ranging from audiobooks and commercials to walking tours and event hosting.



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