Today we are going to venture into exactly what we mean by lecturer-produced video recordings.
There are numerous ways lecturers can use video recordings of themselves presenting or talking with their student audiences. Today we will look at two main ways: recordings of your face to face lecture, and recording yourself talking to a device such as a phone, tablet, or desktop camera. Both of these types of recordings produce raw materials that can be reused and adapted for inclusion in an online course space. Let’s look at each in turn.
At most universities now, most of the lectures delivered face to face are recorded in the lecture theatre and become available on a server subsequently, and usually there is a way to link to the lecture from within an online course. At ANU we use Echo360 in many lecture theatres and most lecturers know that by adding an Echo360 block to their course page, the students will be able to access all lecture recordings related to that course.
However, much more can be done than simply linking to the original lecture. It is possible to go to a particular lecture in Echo360 and do some basic editing. (Check out the user guide on how to edit your Echo360 recording.) So if you had parts of your lecture that will make no sense to anyone who was not present at the face to face event, you can cut these parts out, using the editing tools available. In addition, you can download the lecture as an MP4 file to do some serious editing and enhancement if you have video editing software on your computer. If you have access to learning designers and developers in your campus, you may be able to get this done in partnership with someone with expertise.
With the advent of Echo Active Learning Platform (ALP), available already in many Australian universities and coming soon to ANU, it will be easy for any lecturer, with no expertise in multimedia, to do basic editing online, and also add activities such as quizzes or discussions, around the lecture. As with Echo360 recordings, the recorded lecture can also be downloaded from Echo ALP in order to use more advanced editing tools to completely transform it or break it up into bite-sized clips. This will be covered in detail in the second part of this Coffee Course in September.
How to turn your lecture recordings into re-usable objects
What is a re-usable learning object?
Windle and Wharrad define re-usable learning objects as follows:
“Reusable learning objects (RLOs) are small, granular e-learning resources. They generally utilize multimedia elements to engage the learner in a visual and interactive learning experience. They are mostly web-based and increasingly are being offered as open-education resources, which can easily be accessed and used.” (2010, p. 244)
Re-usable Learning Objects can be put together from a number of different digital items, which can include recorded lectures. The lectures can be edited to include only the highlights, or main points, of the learning, and then have accompanying quizzes, discussions or other activities on the one web page. This composite of activities and learning materials around a single or a set of learning objectives can be used and re-used, updated, taken apart and repackaged, many times, so some initial effort can save much time and effort later, when designing courses. Eventually you could have a treasure chest of re-usable learning objects to choose from! As we discussed in the comments yesterday, shorter and more succinct videos are more educationally effective for students as well, especially when recordings are being used in the place of (rather than a support for) face-to-face lectures.
Ensure your lecture recording speaks to ALL likely audiences
To ensure your recorded lecture is suitable for creating a re-suable learning object, the first thing to remember is that you are talking to the online or distant viewers as well as students in the room! Aside from the main audience aside from those with you in the room, most of the viewers will be those students unable to attend in person. They will be accessing your lecture later that day or from any time after it is uploaded and linked to their course site. So it is worthwhile keeping these viewers in mind when you are designing your lecture and slides.
Avoid lengthy Q & A sessions with the face-to-face audience unless you have a roving mike and camera so that anyone watching later can see and hear what is going on. Instead, offer the students questions and activities to discuss in pairs or groups, and, looking at the camera, invite the online audience to take part also. The way they can take part might be to simply write some notes on thoughts to share later in an online forum. There are lots of options for offering interactive discussions outside of class: for more detail on these interactive “back channels” for online students, see our Coffee Course on Enhancing Your Lectures.
To sum up: When you are thinking of interactive activities to engage your audience, always try and think of alternatives for your online audience. This not only ensures your online participants are included, but it sets your lecture up to be made into a re-usable learning object.
- An article that describes an engineering course in which recorded lectures are combined with many other learning materials for a fully online course: James, et al (2011) Re-engineering for Australia’s engineering skill shortage
- An article that outlines ways to add value to recorded lectures in an online environment: Stewart et al (2012) Lecture 2.0: Repurposing the Captured Lecture as an eLearning Resource Within an Interactive, Integrated Learning Environment
“Talking head” and personal lecture recording
You can also create lecture videos in the comfort of your own home or work office, using a range of different tools. Rather than addressing a large auditorium or classroom, this allows you to address your students in more relaxed and personalised manner. Remember though, that students interact most effectively with short video clips, no longer than 5 minutes, accompanied by some activities that help them engage with the material you are presenting, as we discussed in Day 1 and Day 2.
This type of video is often called a “talking head video” because it focuses on the head and upper torso of the lecturer talking into the screen, directly to online participants. This type of self-produced video can be used for the following purposes:
- To provide a personalised introduction to the course – a short, personable and warm introduction by the lecturer, telling the student a little about him or herself and the course (like my intro video above – and we will provide more examples tomorrow).
- To show slides and talk to slides on a specific topic, as if were in a class with the students. This involves switching between your talking head and a set of PowerPoint slides, for example.
- To raise some interesting or controversial topic, or to introduce students to some new ideas and research. This can be a talking head, using slides and websites, and should include rhetorical and real questions for students to consider.
- To conduct a discussion or interview with one or more experts in your field. (We will explore this more in Day 5.)
Want to know how to record yourself talking to your students from a screen?
There are numerous methods to record yourself greeting, addressing or providing a mini-lecture to your students. Briefly, you can record yourself on your PC desktop using your desktop microphone and webcam or use your phone or tablet, and there are numerous built in or extra apps to help you do this. You may also like to use any professional studio and support that is on offer in your institution, for more formal and polished productions. We cover these methods in depth in September.
Production Note: The short clip I used above to introduce today’s post was done using my iphone – I had about 5 tries before I produced a “good enough” greeting. It is far from perfect, and I am far from a movie star, but this was my way of saying “hi” to participants today – no better or worse than had I strolled into a room and introduced myself.
The key is authenticity – you do not have to be a professional producer or actor – research so far does not support the idea that polished productions contribute to effective learning (Hansch et al., 2015: 7).
You don’t always need to follow a full script – having a prompt sheet or partial script will enable you to speak in a more dynamic and personal style – simply reading a script out to the camera will not engage your students (Hansch et al., 2015: 8). NB however if you are presenting detailed content you may need to present from a fuller script and rehearse numerous times to achieve a natural effect.
Do a test shoot to help you work out what the issues are for you in recording a video, what works and what doesn’t work, to pre-empt any problems.
Don’t bother trying to standardize video production across a unit or an institution – there is no “one size fits all” solution and video style should be matched to the style of the lecturer/presenter.
Questions for discussion
Have you ever tried to edit a recording of your face to face lecture to make it more suitable for all students who will access in your course?
How do you resolve the dilemma of balancing the amount of content you would like to personally deliver to students, and the well established principle that viewers will tune out after about 3 or 4 minutes of video?
Has this segment given you ideas? Share your thoughts about how you might or may not use anything learned.
Try out One Button Studio at ANU and join us for coffee!
Would you like to try out the new One Button Studio, Level 4, Chifley Library? On Friday at 11am we will be there – we will show you the simple process to record yourself, and you can have a play and try it out. Bring a USB drive as you will need that for your recording. After everyone has tried it out, those who would like to join us for coffee and an informal chat are welcome to walk with us over to the Coffee Lab in the Pop-Up village. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hansch, Anna and Hillers, Lisa and McConachie, Katherine and Newman, Christopher and Schildhauer, Thomas and Schmidt, J. Philipp, Video and Online Learning: Critical Reflections and Findings from the Field (March 13, 2015). HIIG Discussion Paper Series No. 2015-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2577882 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2577882
James, P., Quinn, D. & Dansie, B. (2011). “Re-engineering for Australia’s engineering skill shortage”. In G. Williams, P. Statham, N. Brown, B. Cleland (Eds.), Changing Demands, Changing Directions. Proceedings ascilite Hobart 2011. (pp.624-629). http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/hobart11/procs/James-concise.pdf
Stewart, I., McKee, W., Devon, J., Harrison, D., & Allan, M. (2012). “Lecture 2.0: Repurposing the captured lecture as an eLearning resource within an interactive, integrated learning environment.” Paper presented at the 433-XV Kidmore End: Academic Conferences International Limited. (Jun 2012) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1326324726?accountid=8330
Windle, R., & Wharrad, H. (2010) “Reusable Learning Objects in Healthcare Education” in Bromage, A., Clouder, L., Thistlethwaite, J. & Gordon, F. (Eds.), Interprofessional E-Learning and Collaborative Work, Information Science Reference, Hershey, PA. Access for free here: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/31260/1/wharrad%20chap20_bromage%20book2010.pdf