Friday, January 26, 2007

Is Videotaping Your Entire Lecture the Best Option?

When deciding whether to videotape your lectures, consider the following:

  • Who is your audience? Do they have high speed or dialup internet connections?
  • What is the topic or content being discussed? Does it require a demonstration, experiment or simulation? Do you need to show facial expressions or body movements?
  • What is your lecture/presentation style? Do you typically lecture with slides? Do you present from a lectern or move around the classroom? Do you frequently write on the whiteboard?
Generally, there is not much benefit to putting entire lecture videos online. Besides the technical considerations of editing, file size, viewing quality and bandwidth, students may easily become distracted or bored watching a long lecture video and miss important concepts. On the positive side, they may be taking notes, but still not watching the video. You should use video only when it offers a clear benefit to the learning process.

Here are some suggestions for putting lecture video online:
  1. Use video for visually communicating actions that are difficult to explain verbally. Try to avoid the "talking head" video lectures.
  2. Break long videos into several short video clips by task or concept. Videos can be anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Typically 8-10 minutes is an average attention span.
  3. Take the time to plan your recordings. Consider the environment, i.e., background, lighting, noise, etc. and your participants.
  4. Plan ways to show things instead of only telling about them.
  5. Be energetic and dynamic.
If your lecture does not require visual communication, you should consider recording audio only to accompany a slide presentation or lecture notes. To add narration to your slides, consider using Adobe Breeze, which publishes the presentation in the Flash format. Or, simply record your audio and post as an .mp3 file with your lecture notes.

Please help us learn by sharing your experiences using video lectures in your online classroom.

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