Creating Videos for Your Online or Blended Course

Short videos are a great way to introduce and explain topics to students in your online or blended course. They are also effective for establishing and maintaining instructor presence. In this post, we’ll describe two types of videos to get you started – the Talking Head and the Screencast.

Talking Head: In this type of video, you just talk directly into the camera. It is great for a self-introduction, a brief lecture, or a quick explanation. Keep in mind a few quick tips for a successful talking head video:

  • Use built-in mic rather than headset.
  • Look into the webcam.
  • Make an outline.
  • Position your outline near the camera.
  • Consider your background and lighting.
  • Act as naturally as possible!

Screencast:  In this type of video, students don’t see your face; instead, they see the activity on your desktop and they hear your voice. Screencasting is good for brief tutorials on course content, showing and explaining PowerPoint slides, and as an introduction to Sakai navigation. In fact, we recommend that all online instructors offer a Sakai Intro screencast video to show students exactly how their course site will function. Such videos lessen the number of  Sakai how-to questions from students,  allowing both you and your students to focus instead on content. Our Basic Competencies Course walks you through the process of creating a Sakai Intro video.

Keep it short! If you’ve been reading carefully, you’ll notice we been using words such as short, quick, and brief to describe these videos. This is because research shows that students tend to stop paying attention if videos are too long. Ideally, a video should be no longer than five – ten minutes. If you need to make your video longer, which you certainly might, try breaking it up into chunks and giving students an activity or a quiz between sections. Doing so will help hold their attention and increase retention.

What technology should you use to record? At URI, we offer Camtasia Relay free to all of our instructors, and we have ITS staff available to help you use it, if necessary. There are, of course, other free options, such as Quicktime, CamStudio, and Jing, to name just a few.

Now you have something fun to do over Spring Break – practice making videos!