As we finish the spring semester, it’s time to consider the design of your fall 2020 face-to-face course content delivery as you migrate to an online or blended format. In this blog, I’ll focus on a couple of basic tips for your videos with the aim of supporting engagement with content.
Hopefully, you have a rough idea of how the course site will be laid out. If not, then be sure to check out the Online Course Template webinar. These templates, used with Modules, offer a successful method of organization that acts as a table of contents. This enables students to quickly locate and identify the assignments, readings, lecture materials, quizzes, and videos associated with each lesson.
A key consideration in all instructional videos should be what is being asked of students, beyond watching. Watching/listening is a passive act that dulls quickly even when we have self-motivated interest in the topic, so in what ways can you hold students’ attention and keep them actively engaged with the topic?
To start, segment your topics into concise subtopics—preferably not much longer than 10-12 minutes in length. This serves many purposes, including:
- Shorter videos help students manage their time more effectively. It’s easier to squeeze in a 10-minute watch here and there than it is a 50-minute video.
- Concise content makes it easier for students to locate specific topics for later review.
- Students who may struggle with inconsistent internet connections can view a shorter video in its entirety as opposed to keeping track of how far they made it through a longer video.
- If you find you need to make edits or change content in an area, you will be glad you only have to re-record a 10-minute clip, as opposed to an hour-long stretch of video.
- Perhaps most importantly, shorter videos provide you with additional beginning and end points which you can use as structured opportunities for students to recall and review before cognitive overload takes place.
It is important to help students structure their interaction with the video, giving them something active to do while they view it. For each video, provide a task or prompt that asks students to consider at least one aspect of the content. For instance, you could ask students to:
- identify or summarize foundational knowledge (events, terminology, definitions)
- compare/contrast connections between new information and prior knowledge
- employ pre-existing knowledge to predict the outcome of new scenarios
- generate their own solution to a given problem using content from the video
Encouraging engagement through a structured cognitive process reinforces the content and increases the likelihood that it is stored to long-term memory.
Cognitive tasks can also be more generalized in order to require that students “hunt” for the desired information. You could say, “Throughout this video, I will describe three approaches. However, one of these approaches will NOT lead to the desired outcome. After watching, I would like for you to submit which approach you have identified as incorrect.” You could go on to ask for a short explanation as to why, or the correct version of that approach if you wanted to add depth to their response. Collected responses do not necessarily need to be graded but can always be used to bring attention to ill-understood concepts, useful for students and instructors alike.
Easily enough, you can follow-up videos with quizzes and assignments in order to collect these responses. However, you also have the option of embedding quizzes throughout your videos so that students can respond to multiple questions throughout watching, without ever having to exit the video. This is done through Kaltura Quizzing, which is accessible through Kaltura Mediaspace and Kaltura within Canvas (under the “Add New” button). Be sure to watch the recording of our recent faculty showcase on engagement using Kaltura Quizzes.
Also related is the recent panel on The Affordances and Constraints of Using Zoom in Synchronous and Asynchronous Teaching.
If you are you new to video-making at IU? You can use Kaltura Personal Capture or Zoom to capture video from your webcam and your screen. For more information or guidance on anything mentioned, feel free to contact Matt Barton.