Remote Teaching with Video

Keeping your course fresh and interesting throughout the term can be challenging in an online environment. Especially if you’ve had to rush to prepare a remote teaching version of an otherwise live course. One of the many ways we can keep things interesting is with the use of video. Students will appreciate the opportunity to break-up their readings with some media.

Here’s a few creative ways you might use video in your remote or online class yet this term.

Guest Lecture Videos

What is it?
Inviting a guest speaker into your class might be an effective strategy to bring an author’s first hand experience into your class, to discuss a recent development in your discipline with another leading expert, or to bring in alternative perspectives on a topic.

  • You might consider inviting:
  • a guest with a specific field experience to share with the students
  • another faculty member or researcher
  • graduate student(s)
  • someone currently working as a professional in the discipline
  • an author
Why Consider it?
Inviting a guest speaker goes beyond demonstrating collegiality to your students, there are a number of reasons you might consider inviting a guest speaker. Guest speakers can:
  • provide alternative perspectives to topics and issues in your course
  • bring insights from the field into the classroom
  • demonstrate a skill or process
  • provide further expertise on specific topics
  • share key findings from a project or initiative they have worked with
  • supplement and enhance resources available in the course
  • co‐teach a case study
  • provide feedback on student work via a Judging Panel
  • just-in-time information and skills

However, you should keep in mind that making the most of a guest speaker in your classroom requires careful planning. One of the first decisions you will need to make is how you would like the guest speaker to participate in your class (e.g. as a presenter, a discussion facilitator, a recording, etc.)

Tools for the Job

  • WebEx – The University of Saskatchewan has a site wide license for this web conferencing application which allows you to: stream live audio and video, use chats and collaborative whiteboards, and share presentations.
  • Skype – This is a free* and commonly used mobile and desktop application
  • Google Hangouts – For instructors and participants who have a Google account, Hangouts allows up to 10 participants to conference with live audio and video, chat, share screens, etc.
  • YouTube Live – For larger groups with less interaction from the audience YouTube Live allows you to stream audio and video, record sessions, and share the live broadcast publicly or to specific people.
  • Screencast-o-matic – This free* desktop application allows you to record audio and video to a file. This tool works well for recorded lectures which could be used repeatedly. It can record the presenter’s screen, the presenter, or both.
Tips and Tricks
Preparing your guest

Consider discussion the following with your guest prior to their session or recording:

  • what are the learning objectives for the module and for the session or recording?
  • what are your expectations for the format and duration of the session or recording?
  • are handouts required/will students need a copy of the presentation?
  • what instructional strategies could the guest employ?
  • what setup or support is required?
  • will the session be recorded? (why or why not?)
  • provide adequate lead time
  • obtain a bio for the guest
  • describe your class size and characteristics
  • determine roles and responsibilities
  • can/should students be able to contact the guest ahead of time or after?

Preparing your students

Consider discussion the following with your students prior to the session or viewing the recording:

  • what are the learning objectives for the module and for the session or recording?
  • what are your expectations for the students?
    • e.g. prepare questions, check for understanding, related task
  • how will you facilitate discussion between students and the guest?

 

Course Trailers & Intro Videos

What is it?
You have likely seen movie trailers; those short videos that are designed to capture the interest of the audience to get them interested in seeing movies. You may want to consider creating your own course trailer. Create a short video that would give learners a quick glimpse of your course and the connections you hope to make throughout the semester.
Why Consider This?
“It’s not the technology. It’s not the way something looks. It’s the story.” – John Lasseter, PIXAR

In the course trailer video you can introduce yourself, the course description, the course objectives and topics. For this particular video type you might consider completing some, or all, of the following statements:

  • Do you like…
  • Are you interested in…
  • Are you concerned about…
  • Do you want to…
  • By participating in this class…
  • We will look at…
  • Join us as we investigate/explore…

A course trailer would be an opportunity to introduce yourself to learners.  Sharing course outcomes could also be done here.  Think about inviting learners to participate and become part of this learning community.

Think about including campus and classroom footage as a way for distance learners to gain a sense of connection to the institution. You may also want to have a final statement that invites learners to participate, create and explore.

Tools for the Job

We can help!

If you are interested in creating a trailer for your distance course, contact your instructional designer at DEU.

Take the plunge!

If you would like to create your own trailer, a few of the following tools might be helpful:

Camtasia– This nonlinear digital video editing software is somewhere between entry level and professional levels. You can splice together audio and video as you need, insert graphics and titles, as well as a few other interactions. Available for both Windows and Mac OS. Camtasia Tutorials

Screencast-O-Matic– This software is available for both Windows and Mac OS, and has a free as well as a Pro version. At the push of a button you can begin to record right from your webcam, what’s on the screen, or both. When you’re done recording it can export the video to your desktop or even straight to your YouTube account. Screencast-o-matic Tutorial 1 Tutorial 2.

GoAnimate – This online animation tool offers a wide range of assets to create comprehensive animations. They offer paid plans and a 14 day free trial. Tutorial

PowToon – This popular online animation software offers both free and pro versions. It comes with a series of sample music and images you can use for creating engaging animations. Tutorial

Explain Everything – This mobile app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows. Record voice and animations using the assets provided or insert your own! When you’re done simply export the video to upload to the LMS or your Website. Tutorials

Educreations – This mobile app is available for iOS. Record voice and animations using the assets provided or insert your own! When you’re done share the video with classes, embed it in a website, share it on Facebook or Twitter, or export it. Free and paid versions available. Tutorial

Tips and Tricks

A Few Practical Guidelines

Creating a Storyboard
After drafting your storyboard review the topic(s) and learning outcomes. If everything adequately presented? Is there anything present on the storyboard that is not explicitly related to the topic(s) or learning outcomes? If so, why is that content present and would it be missed if omitted?

Audio
Speech – narration does not necessarily need to be written word for word on a storyboard. However, providing more detail will make the recording process much easier, even if you do not repeat it word for word. Attempting to “wing it” often results in multiple takes and wasted time. For more information about recording audio see Tips for Recording Narrations.
Sound bites can add realism, generate emotion, define space, depict identity, set the pace, symbolize meaning, and unify transitions. However, they should not be overused as they can distract the learner and increase cognitive load.

Visuals
Imagery should be self explanatory, simple, at the learner’s level, match it’s purpose, and be relevant to the scene/objective/narrative. In your storyboard you might simply provide a short description,  sketch, table or figure number or title, or a copy of the visuals that are to be on the screen. For more information about selecting types of visuals see A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words: Using Visuals.

Video
Is most effective when the combination of audio and visuals is carefully considered and planned. Storyboarding will help you to identify if there is too much information being presented to the learner at one time (through audio or video) and avoid cognitive overload. Consider the pacing (rate of information), and transitions between ideas and what the learner is seeing and hearing. A general guideline for length is to keep the videos in your course around 6 minutes in length. However, this may vary slightly depending on the purpose and content of the video (e.g. a narrative story may take longer than 6 minutes to complete, but can still be engaging for its entire duration). The key is to make sure the video is no longer than is needed.

USask DEU Examples

Student Made Videos

This video was created by students for a Distance Education offering of Women and Gender Studies (WGST) 210.3. It went viral and to date has over  4,000,000 views and even had an article written about it at ominocity.com .

What is it?
You are likely already familiar with video technology. You may already enjoy making video recordings of personal events in your life. For a digital analysis, online presentations, or other assignments, you may be producing your response as a short video. Knowledge and skills in the domain of digital literacy are critical here, so we have provided some resources to help you on your way.

It is important to also mention that for these types of assignments, knowledge and skills around copyright, open licensing, information sharing, digital footprints, and managing your online presence should be well understood by anyone creating, adapting, using, or contributing to, creative works via the world wide web.

Using Licensed Materials in Your Work
Often when creating videos and presentations we are inclined to include quotes, images, audio and video clips, and other media that we did not create ourselves. There are a variety of ways that students can include third-party work in their videos and presentations, but it is critical to consider copyright and intellectual property implications of doing so. The following links provide some support in navigating the rules and guidelines for using third-party materials in your work:

Creative Common Licenses Explained
Canadian Copyright Act
U of S Copyright Information

Applying Open License to Your Work

Open Licensing Resources

Where should I publish my Open Content?
Creative Commons publishing communities by content format – http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Publish

How do I mark my work with an Open License?
Creative Commons Licensing and Marking Your Content

Choose a License that works for you
Creative Common Licenses Explained – http://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Tools for the Job

Desktop and Laptop

Panopto – USask supported video production and post production tools on campus. Check out this blog post from GMCTL about student videos using Panopto https://words.usask.ca/gmcte/2020/03/17/panopto-for-student-presentations/

Camtasia – This nonlinear digital video editing software is somewhere between entry level and professional levels. You can splice together audio and video as you need, insert graphics and titles, as well as a few other interactions. Available for both Windows and Mac OS. Camtasia Tutorials

iMovie – This is Apple’s entry level video editing software and is available for both Mac OS and iOS. If you’re new to video editing you may want to get your feet wet by trying this software first.

Screencast-O-Matic – This software is available for both Windows and Mac OS, and has a free as well as a Pro version. At the push of a button you can begin to record right from your webcam, what’s on the screen, or both. When you’re done recording it can export the video to your desktop or even straight to your YouTube account. Screencast-o-matic Tutorial 1 Tutorial 2.

PowerPoint – A little known secret about PowerPoint is that you can record audio and creating a timed video slideshow without any other software. If you want to get started on voiceover slideshows, don’t want to spend any money on software, and don’t have time to learn a nonlinear digital video editing software this might be your best bet. Written Tutorial Video Tutorial

Keynote – A little known secret about Keynote is that you can record audio and creating a timed video slideshow without any other software. If you want to get started on voiceover slideshows, don’t want to spend any money on software, and don’t have time to learn a nonlinear digital video editing software this might be your best bet. Tutorial

Windows Movie Maker – This is Microsoft’s entry level video editing software and is available for Windows. If you’re new to video editing you may want to get your feet wet by trying this software first.

GoAnimate – This online animation tool offers a wide range of assets to create comprehensive animations. They offer paid plans and a 14 day free trial. Tutorial

Voki – A little camera shy? Not to worry, with Voki you can create an avatar and use their text to speech software for narration. Don’t like the robot voice? You can also upload audio files or record straight into Voki. Free and paid plans are available. Tutorial

PowToon – This popular online animation software offers both free and pro versions. It comes with a series of sample music and images you can use for creating engaging animations. Tutorial

Mobile

Explain Everything – This mobile app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows. Record voice and animations using the assets provided or insert your own! When you’re done simply export the video to upload to the LMS or your Website. Tutorials

ShowMe – This mobile app is available for iOS. Record voice and animations using the assets provided or insert your own! When you’re done simply export the video to upload to the LMS,your Website, or the ShowME community. Tutorial

Educreations – This mobile app is available for iOS. Record voice and animations using the assets provided or insert your own! When you’re done share the video with classes, embed it in a website, share it on Facebook or Twitter, or export it. Free and paid versions available. Tutorial

Clarisketch – This application is available for Android and Chrome. Record voice, images, sketches, and annotate as you go. When complete, it does not create a video file, but instead a small media format that can play in any browser. You can share your finished clarisketch via social media, email, and more. Short tutorial. Longer tutorial.

Planning Resources

A Few Practical Guidelines

Creating a Storyboard
After drafting your storyboard review the assignment instructions. Is everything adequately presented? Is there anything present on the storyboard that is not explicitly related to the assignment? If so, why is that content present and would it be missed if omitted? Sample storyboard template

Audio
Speech – narration does not necessarily need to be written word for word on a storyboard. However, providing more detail will make the recording process much easier, even if you do not repeat it word for word. Attempting to “wing it” often results in multiple takes and wasted time.
Sound bites can add realism, generate emotion, define space, depict identity, set the pace, symbolize meaning, and unify transitions. However, they should not be overused as they can distract the learner and increase cognitive load.

Visuals
Imagery should be self explanatory, simple, at the learner’s level, match it’s purpose, and be relevant to the scene/objective/narrative. In your storyboard you might simply provide a short description, sketch, table or figure number or title, or a copy of the visuals that are to be on the screen. For more information about selecting types of visuals see A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words: Using Visuals.

Video
Is most effective when the combination of audio and visuals is carefully considered and planned. Storyboarding will help you to identify if there is too much information being presented to the learner at one time (through audio or video) and avoid cognitive overload. Consider the pacing (rate of information), and transitions between ideas and what the learner is seeing and hearing. Video durations may vary slightly depending on the purpose and content of the video (e.g. a narrative story may take longer than 6 minutes to complete, but can still be engaging for its entire duration). The key is to make sure the video is no longer than is needed.

Lecture Videos

Perhaps you just want to make some lecture videos to send out or add to your Remote Teaching course materials. Here’s a link to a previous blog post we did to help you think through the process and get the most out of your lecture videos!

So You’d Like to Make a Lecture Video …

Organizing Course Materials for Online Delivery

To avoid dumping your course materials into a virtual shoe box and having students sift through the materials, struggling to infer context and connections you may consider this quick guide to how we at the Distance Education Unit typically organize our materials within the Learning Management System. Templates, samples and checklists for these processes are linked to below the video.

 

So You’d Like to Make a Lecture Video …

Instructors often use the lecture format in their face-to-face classes sometimes also using slide decks (like PowerPoint) – so recording a lecture can be one way of digitizing your learning material and presenting it online. However, there are a number of things to consider before you decide to use this approach. This post will discuss some things to be sure of before and while you develop this type of resource.

Effective Slide Design and Talking Notes

This topic could really be its own blog post (here’s one from UNB on “Lecture Slide Design: Evidence Based Practices”), but if you are using a slide deck, remember the basics and review or edit your slides as necessary before you decide they are ready to be recorded. Don’t clutter your slides with too much text. Choose simple fonts and high-contrast colours (black text on a white background is fine). Create your slides with visual consistency. Only add images that add to your presentation (avoid “eye candy”). Have a peer (or an Instructional Designer!) review the slides beforehand. Also make sure you have good talking notes prepared for yourself, so that you can be confident that you have not left out anything important, while still not reading a script word-for-word (which would likely sound too monotonous or unnatural).

Video Length and Chunking

What is the ideal length of a video for learning? The research varies, but generally agrees that shorter is better for learning engagement, with studies finding between 6-15 minutes as the ideal duration. As videos get longer, learner engagement and attention tends to drop off. For this reason, it’s important to chunk the learning material into manageable portions. It would be better, for example, to present students with five 10-minute videos, embedded with some subheadings and introductory text that provide some context, than to drop one massive 50-minute video in your course.

Modality Variation and Active Learning

Chunking works especially well when students are given opportunities to apply what they have just learned, through such things as interactive quizzes, reflective questioning, discussions, or practice problems. Students also benefit when the learning modality has some variation; in other words, the class involves more than just passively listening to an instructor speaking. Give your students opportunities for active learning by considering when, where, and how students can pause (or break away from) the lecture to test their knowledge, or practice a new concept. Certain video tools (like Panopto) work well for this, as they allow for things like embedded quizzes, links to other websites, or student commenting.

Navigability and Review

Some video platforms (like Panopto, or YouTube) also allow you to add things like chapter markers or navigational menus or links. These can be extremely helpful when students are working through your materials and want to find or review specific content. As an example, see this Crash Course Psychology video (at the 10:02 mark) to see how a helpful review menu with links was added at the end.

Copyright Considerations

If you put an image, figure, graphic, or audio clip into your video — basically anything that is not of your own creation — you need to ensure that the material can be reproduced for educational purposes and that the copyright information has been cited properly. For this reason, it is extremely important to clear all copyright concerns before recording your video! Otherwise this could lead to time-consuming and costly edits or revisions. If you need help with making sure your materials are copyright-compliant, an Instructional Designer or a library copyright specialist should be able to assist. Be sure before you record!

Accessibility

Even if the speaker is showing slides, lecture videos will contain lots of information that will be in the audio track but not in the visual recording. For students who struggle with auditory processing, or who might be deaf or hard of hearing, this can make your lecture video difficult or even impossible to follow. For that reason, it is recommended that a written transcript or captions be provided with all of the videos you produce. For learners that have a visual impairment, it is helpful to orally describe any images or figures that you have included with your video, and if possible to provide the audio track. Some tools, like Panopto, make it very easy to download an MP3 of the audio. By offering the information in more than one modality in these ways, your video will be more accessible for all learners.

Production Time, Shelf Life, and Editability

There is no real way around it. When you add in the time to record the video and audio of your narrated presentation, edit the video, upload it to your chosen platform, and manage any technical complications along the way, producing video is a time-consuming process. The initial time investment means that you want the videos to have a decent “shelf life” and be usable for several years. It can also be difficult to make changes down the road. Suppose next year there is a development in your field, and a comment that you made at the 4:35 mark of your video has to be removed; or, suppose you accidentally missed a really important point at the 2:27 mark of your lecture. These situations are not uncommon, and add to the difficulty of using video for your learning material. Take this all into consideration before your decide that video is the best medium for your learning materials.

Video Platform and Hosting

Decide how you will want to record, and make a test video before you dive in. There are many different options for screen capture and recording, including recording right within PowerPoint, using software programs like Camtasia, or the University of Saskatchewan-supported academic video platform Panopto. You also need to decide where the video will be hosted — for example, on a University server (via Panopto) or perhaps externally (on YouTube). Each choice will have its own benefits and quirks to sort out.

Technical Considerations: Recording Audio

Record using a dedicated microphone rather than the one in your laptop, which will pick up more surrounding noise from your recording environment and computer. A headset or lapel mic can work quite well, so long as it is not rubbing against your clothing. If using a standalone microphone, keep it about a foot away away from your mouth to avoid excessive pops and hissing coming from the pronunciation of hard consonants (like “p”). Choose a recording room that is quiet, without added noise from things like air vents, children, or street traffic. If you are doing a narrated slide video, it should be quite easy to pause the recording between slides as needed, giving yourself time to breathe or take a sip of water before you restart the recording.

Technical Considerations: Filming Yourself

If you are filming yourself in a “talking head”-style video, be conscious of your background environment. Make sure there are no distracting, sensitive, or copywritten materials behind you. Ensure you are recording in a place with adequate lighting. Be conscious of the camera angle, so that you are well-framed (and the camera is not pointing up your nose). Finally, if you are talking to the camera, look at the camera and not the little “picture in picture” image of yourself.


Attribution

Feature image by mohamed_hassan was originally published at https://pixabay.com/en/video-call-video-chatting-idea-2942368/ and is available under a CC0 Creative Commons License.

Selecting Learning Material

The learning materials in your online course typically will consist of artifacts that your students will interact with individually. Learning materials can include readings from books and journals, watching videos, listening to audio recordings, or engaging with an interactive learning object.

The purpose of the Learning Material is to provide the content that will support the learning objectives. This section is often considered the equivalent of the face-to-face class session. Explain the basic concepts of the content, emphasizing important points and providing examples where appropriate. Specifically, include information about topics that students typically have difficulty with.

Tips for selecting learning materials

When selecting learning materials, consider how you expect your students to interact with the material. Will students:

  • passively read articles or viewing video?
  • engage in a non-graded activity related to the material?
  • use the material to complete a graded assignment?
  • access the material through the learning management system, open web, or some other way?
  • reuse, adapt and modify, collaborate, or share the learning material in some way?

When selecting learning materials for your course, consider the question “in order to contribute fully to class discussion and complete the planned activities and assignments, students will need access to…”

A textbook

  • Complete the University Store Adoption Form/Students purchase from the University Book Store (bookstore link)
  • Adopt an open textbook (where do I find open textbooks?link)

A book chapter

  • Place the book on Library Reserve (link)
  • Use an e-book / e-chapters version (linking to library online resources)
  • Adopt a chapter of an open textbook (where do I find OER? link to OER section of the website)
  • *Create a course pack (Coursepack guide and forms)

An article

  • Link from the Course Hub to a licensed e-copy of the article (linking to library online resources)
  • link from the Course Hub to an open access copy of the article
  • *Create a course pack (Coursepack guide and forms)

A website (an image on a website, video, text, etc.)

  • Link to the website from the Course Hub
    • *Check the terms of use and/or the web material’s license. Some materials are published under open licenses. (find out more about open licenses)
  • *Create a course pack (Coursepack guide and forms)

A film or video clip

  • Use the University Library’s film and streaming services
  • Link to legitimate video sites from the Course Hub (where do I find open access video?)

An audio file or clip (music, podcast, radio clip, etc)

  • Use audio licensed by the University Library
  • Link to legitimate audio sites from the Course Hub (where do I find open access audio?)

Images (e.g. artwork)

  • Use images published under an open license
  • Use images licensed by the University Library
  • Link to websites from the Course Hub

Who to Contact for Assistance

  • Distance Education Unit
    Assistance finding and adopting Open Educational Resources (e.g. open textbooks)
  • University Libraries
    Contact your subject librarian: Subject Librarians by College or Department
    Linking to Library Online Resources: (link to instructions)
  • Copyright Office

 


Attributions for this page:

Image from https://pixabay.com/en/learning-online-e-learning-books-2845360/, CC0 Creative Commons