Top Takeaways:

  • Create a compelling welcome video to let your students get to know you.
  • Use video to show course concepts through demonstration.
  • Keep your videos short, ideally under 6 minutes.

Timeline:

Plan and create a short video on your own in a couple of hours. Plan about a term ahead for creating videos for a whole course.

How Can Multimedia Benefit Your Students?

A well-made video can be a powerful tool for teaching and learning. Videos motivate learners and maintain their attention. For students in online courses, instructor-made videos allow them to feel more like they are in a face-to-face class. In fact, Guohua Pan et al’s study “Instructor-Made Videos as a Learner Scaffolding Tool” found that students responded favorably to instructor-created videos and that students thought the videos supported their learning. Videos present information in a different way than textbooks, and they can add additional information or reflection that the text does not dive into. An additional benefit of multimedia for students is the ability to pause, stop, and rewind a video. They can watch at their own pace, pause if they need a break, and rewatch for review.

Examples of Video Purposes

  • Create a welcome video: Creating a welcome video is a great way to kick off the beginning of a course, allowing students to get to know you and better understand what to expect from the course. This gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself and connect with your students. When you make a welcome video, feel free to share your hobbies, photos of your pets, and your background. Don’t worry too much about speaking slowly. Students can pause, and replay videos if they need to, and it’s difficult to convey enthusiasm if you’re focused on speaking slowly. Your welcome video — like all of your videos — should be brief.
  • Show — don’t tell. Consider using video to show a demonstration or experiment. Break away from the standard lecture video by conducting an experiment or demonstration on camera. This allows the viewers to learn while watching, rather than listen to an explanation. Another option would be to conduct an interview, perhaps with an expert in the field.
  • Make an interactive video. Use the video quiz tool in Media Space to create an engaging video that requires the viewer’s participation through embedded questions. This allows students to be active with the content, while helping them gauge their knowledge of the material.

Production Tips to Stay Engaging

  • Pre-production planning: To make a compelling video that isn’t too long, you’ll have to do some planning. Write a script with the information you would like to share in the video and practice in the mirror. This will give you an idea of how long your video will be and what information may not be necessary to share in a video format. Outline the flow of your video, especially if you’ll include more than one visual.
  • Keep it short. Philip Guo’s research into student engagement and video length finds 6 minutes or less is the ideal length for course videos. Short videos are more likely to be watched in their entirety. Engagement time drops as the video lengthens. While an hour long lecture might work in a face-to-face classroom, a recording of the same lecture is not likely to keep students engaged in an online format. Don’t expect to give the same lecture you give in your in-person class. Instead, if your video is expected to be long, find natural breaking points in your script where you can cut the one video up into multiple videos. Each video will end up being a subtopic. This concept is called “chunking.” Chunking is a technique that cuts large amount of information into smaller pieces, making it easier for the viewer to process the information.
  • State your objectives. Tell your audience why they should keep watching. Within the first 10 seconds, viewers should know what they are going to get out of watching the video. Consider prompting at the beginning an outcome statement or a summary of the topics that will be covered.
  • Keep cognitive load theory in mind. As psychologists Mayer and Moreno explain in their article, “Nine Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning,” working memory can only hold 5-9 items at a time (2003). Therefore, overloading it with additional activities and information that don’t contribute to the learning should be avoided. Eliminate tangential or extraneous elements to keep the video concise and coherent. For example, if you’re showing an animation of how something works, while narrating and have added music or a sound effect, it may look awesome, but it might be too much information to process. Remove the sound effect and music so the viewer can just focus on what’s necessary for learning. Additionally, you can synchronize information so both visual and auditory information are simultaneous. For example, time the use of visuals to correspond with the narration.

Get Started!

Now that you’ve gone through these tips it’s time to make a plan.

  • First, identify the purpose for your video and align it with your instructional goals.
  • Write a script and practice.
  • Create an outline of the video, and decide on any visuals.
  • If you plan to use OAI’s Media Labs, schedule your recording in advance.
  • After recording your video, review it to ensure it meets your instructional goals. Don’t be afraid to re-record a video if it doesn’t come out the way you want the first time around.