Written by Jessica Cole and Robert Behnke.
The benefits of instructor-created video in online courses include increased student engagement and learning, increased instructor presence, and a greater student-to-instructor connection.[1-3] If you teach online but do not have immediate access to a media studio or multimedia developer, this brief guide will help you get started.
What You Need
- Equipment: Webcam, video camera or mobile device.
- Recording Software: Software for recording video includes Quicktime, Camtasia, Screencast-o-matic, and free tools such as Jing.
- Streaming Video Server: Your video should be hosted on a server to stream through Blackboard or another Learning Management System. Videos can be streamed from YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia, to name a few.
- Choose Talking Points: Nothing is more important than knowing what you are going to say. Prepare a brief outline of what is most important to include. Practice! Do a run-through with a friend, family member, or trusted colleague. We recommend that you get comfortable with the material ahead of time so you are prepared to speak naturally, rather than reading to the camera.
- “Chunk” the Material: Shorter lectures are more engaging in the online environment. Researchers at MIT found that many students stopped viewing videos that exceeded nine minutes about halfway through. We recommend keeping each video under ten minutes in length. Covering a lot of content? Create multiple, clear and concise video segments.[3,4]
- Set the Stage: Choose a well-lit recording location. Be mindful of what will appear behind you. We recommend one of these backgrounds: a clean and simple background that keeps the focus on you, or an office-like background for a more personal touch.
- Dress for Success: Wear something that increases your confidence and conveys an appropriate level of professionalism.
Lights, Camera, Action
- Light: Avoid strong backlighting, which occurs when light is behind you. It is best to face the light source.
- Audio: Stand within 24″ of the microphone/camera. Closer is better.
- Camera Position & Framing: The camera should be level with your head and shoulders and not pointing up or down at you. Frame the shot with your head, neck, and part of the shoulders/chest visible, similar to a portrait bust.
Best Practices Infographics
- Audio/Video Best Practices for Making Web Camera Video
- Audio/Video Best Practices for Shooting With a Mobile Device
Videos for instructional purposes should be technologically well-produced, but they do not need to be perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself about mannerisms, your hair, or stumbling over a word here and there. Students want to learn from you, and the benefit of a more casual lecture approach is increased personal connection.
Tools Available to ASU Online Instructors
- Screencast-o-matic: Recording software that is great for screencasting. ASU instructors may request an account & find tutorials here: https://screencast-o-matic.com/asu-som
- VoiceThread: With this tool, instructors create lectures that students may also record and post “voice” comments on for class discussion purposes. Contact your Instructional Designer for more information.
- Wistia: See “How to record a web camera video in Wistia” at http://onlinestudio.asu.edu/wistia-2. Contact your Instructional Designer for access to Wistia.
- Di Paolo T, Wakefield JS, Baker L. Lights, camera, action: Facilitating the design and production of effective instructional videos. Tech Trends. 2017 ;61:452-460.
- Guo PJ, Kim J, Rubin R. How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. Available at: http://up.csail.mit.edu/other-pubs/las2014-pguo-engagement.pdf. 2014.
- Martin F, Wang C, Sadaf A. Student perception of helpfulness of facilitation strategies that enhance instructor presence, connectedness, engagement and learning in online courses. The Internet and Higher Education. 2018; 37:52-65.
- Pappas C. 3 chunking strategies that every instructional designer should know. eLearning Industry.com Web site. https://elearningindustry.com/3-chunking-strategies-that-every-instructional-designer-should-know. 2013.
The technology mentioned in this article was updated in July 2019.