Creating Educational Videos

PHASE 1 - PLANNING

So you're thinking of creating some videos for your educational course and you aren't sure where to begin. Creating content in an entirely new format can be challenging, but can also pay off for both the students as well as yourself. If you're flipping your course or teaching in a blended format, it is in your best interest to schedule an appointment with an Instructional Designer at the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction. They will assist you in making sure your course is broken apart into appropriate units/modules with topics, learning objectives, discussions, assesment activities and then how content will be delivered outside of any textbook or written material. Talk to an instructional designer before creating content for an online course. There are several things you should consider before you even begin the process of creating content.

  • Is there content already out there to supplement your instruction?
  • What is the best way to demonstrate the content?
  • How much time do you have to create the content?

    • Is there content already out there to supplement your instruction?

      Don't be afraid to pull in additional resources from online that have been professionally produced. Choose the resources wisely and verify that the content is accurate and doesn't violate any copyright issues. Creating content can be time consuming and expensive, so finding something that has already been created can save you time and help you balance the workload of getting the content online. Do not rely soly on these videos for your instruction. Consider creating some form of instruction (video or not) introducing the resource and what you want the student to get out of them.

      What is the best way to demonstrate the content?

      Determine what the best way will be to connect with your students. Is a neatly organized and visual powerpoint with your voiceover sufficient? Do you need to demonstrate hands on application with actual video footage? Maybe it's a mix of both. Be open to all the possibilites and really think about which way can most effectively aid in learning. Check out a few of the video examples to the right for some ideas for different examples.

      How much time do you have to create the content?

      There are two reasons for why this question is asked. The first involves being able to understand the value of your time in creating the content versus spending more time using existing content and interacting more with the students. The second is that sometimes capturing video is time sensitive. If you're shooting a video that requires you to be outside, that might be best to not shoot that in the winter. Planning ahead and giving yourself plenty of time can go a long way in making the video feel more authentic and applicable.

PHASE 2 - PREPRODUCTION

So you've now determined which subjects you want to utilize video in order to instruct. Your method of teaching in the classroom is not always the most effective way of teaching for online videos. Read each section below to hopefully save yourself some time and create better content.

Time
Do not plan on recording a 50 minute lecture that you would normally give in class and put online. Online courses are structured differently and student's attention span can range anywhere from 5-20 minutes. Break down your lectures into shorter, more specific, topic-based instruction. Shorter videos also make it easier to re-record sections should the content become outdated. By sectioning topics, this also makes it easier for students to go back and review the material in an area they may be struggling with in the class.

Naming
File/unit/module naming is one step that can go a long way and save you from possible confusion in the future. When creating videos with a lot of content, organize in into folders with consistant naming. Don't forget to backup those files either online or on multiple flash drives or computers. Here is a sample for naming your content: 01_01_Introduction Video.mp4 The first "01" represents the module or unit number, the second 01 represents the first section/video in that module and then "Introduction Video" represents the unique title. Consistant naming will help you, Media Production and CIDI.

Time Sensitive Material
Try not to include time sensitive information in the videos that will be specific to one semester. Things like dates will change with each semester. If you do wish to reference an assignment or quiz that has a specific date, just tell the students to 'complete the assignment by the assigned date listed in canvas.' Be aware that what you say on the video may no longer apply when it becomes time for the students to watch the video. Referencing the superbowl, a winter storm or any event that just happened will no longer be significant later on. Also consider any educational material that might need to be update on a more regular basis and consider putting it in a speparate video so that you don't have to redo other unneccessary material as well. Anything you can do in advanced to a any problems in the future will be beneficial.

Visuals/Gfx
Consider your end deliverable. Your students may be watching the video on a 4" cell phone screen. Try to avoid placing large tables in your video that contains a lot of data in smaller text. There are two things you can do to assist in this issue that will benefit the students. The first is zooming in on each portion of the table as you explain it and the second is providing a copy of the table for them to download on their canvas course.
Make sure to use larger text and have high contrasting colors. Reading yellow font on a white background provides an undesireable experience for the students. Other things you can consider doing are utilizing a 16x9 powerpoint or visuals since most devices have a widescreen. Creating a unified theme to each module (consistant font, colors, organization) will make it easier to develope your content going forward. Supporting images should do just that, support what you are talking about.

PHASE 3 - PRODUCTION

The last phase, which is often the least time intensive of all the phases, is the actual production of the videos. There are so many possibilities out there on how to get your instruction to your faculty. What you want to do will come down to your time committment, budget, and what you feel comfortable with for a recording. Don't forget what is most important, the educational value of the content.

There are so many possibilities to how you can present your material with the support of video. Let's start from the most basic resource USU Media Production provides:

Video Options
  • Audio/lecture Capture Studio
  • Prepare a powerpoint where you can record your voice or capture video in addition to the powerpoint. Reserve our Audio/Lecture Capture Studio and you'll be able to take advantage of a quiet location, a good mic to clearly capture your voice, have the ability to annotate over your powerpoint on our touch screen monitor, and incorporate a simple video of yourself while you instruct. Camtasia and Panopto are two programs available in our studio to make this possible. Panopto integrates nicely with your canvas course while Camtasia produces an MP4 video to upload wherever you want.

  • Video Studio
  • The Video Studio offers you the ability to represent a more modern classroom. Instead of a powerpoint being the primary focus, you will be the primary focus and this will allow you to connect more with the students. There is a 70" touchscreen computer, an overhead projector and a laptop connection. Maybe you don't need to use all that, but just want to give your students an introduction of yourself and the class they are taking, we can record that as well. Don't limit it to just yourself. Bringing in another professional to interview or speak to the class can be recorded as well. There are so many options to utilize this space for your classroom use. Reserve it today.

  • On-Location Shoot
  • USU Media Production is available to shoot at a location of your choice. If you need us to record a class on campus (Logan), fill out the Recording Request Form and we'll get back to you shortly after. This is a great way for you to record a guest lecture that may be only able to visit once. See the example to the right for what this looks like. For any special request (shooting an instructional video for a lab, shooting out in the field, or anything else you can think of for your course) contact Ryan Christensen at ryan.christensen@usu.edu.

    Utilizing our studios for the creation of content for credit-bearing courses are free of charge. Any travel outside of the studio will be subject to charge. Rates begin at $35 per hour. Please remember that all request are not guaranteed to be approved. It is advised to schedule at least two weeks in advance. For larger events, please schedule as early as possible. We also checkout a camcorder to instructors to use for their course. View our Equipment Reservation page to reserve it today.

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    Located in AIS 101 (formerly Distance Education)