Monday, March 31, 2014

Videos for Online Teaching

This term I have begun adding videos to my course on evidence-based chiropractic practice. I know this is not a radical idea, and the videos I am using come from youtube, where there are a plethora of useful clips available. But today, as our students evolve and as technology develops, online content is becoming more and more important. Blending in-class work with online content, the blended classroom model, is becoming more important. And now it is easier than ever to create your own videos, so they can be precisely made for your course. You need not simply select youtube clips.

First, we need- and I as guilty of this as anyone- to move away from PowerPoint slides using bullet points. I know that I can read faster than you can talk, so I have already read the slide before you are done discussing it. Instead, think of people whose presentations resonate with you. Often, they do not use word slides, but graphic slides. Think TED talks, for example.
If you do intend to use videos, they must serve the educational purpose of the class. They require some consideration to make them work effectively at transmitting their ideas, points and concepts. A vide clip needs to have a purpose and it has to be a purpose a student understands.  An article by John Orlando in the new issue of Online Cl@ssroom (1) suggests that you limit videos to no more than 5-10 minutes, since any longer will have your students losing interest.  In this case, we could create a video that has a voiceover talking over a set of images. This might allow students to take the main points of your classroom lecture home to replay as needed. Orlando suggests you create the audio first, either scripted or not, and for which you should speak in an animated but normal voice. He suggests the use of Audacity as a free, open-source program for recording audio ( You can save the voice file as an mp3 or wav file.

Now you can move to a video editor to make the actual clip. There are several you might consider using. One is youtube’s own editor (, another is WeVideo ( and the last is Camtasia, which we have access to here on campus. These programs will allow you to add graphic images to play under your recorded audio. The images you select should be ones that resonate with the watcher, and there are many free sites where you can obtain such images.
Clearly, there is more here than meets the eye. A fine book that I think provides a good overview of creating resonant slides is by Reynolds, “Presentation Zen.” (2)

1.       Orlando J. Using videos for online teaching. Online Cl@ssroom 2014;14:4-5

2.       Reynolds G. Presentation Zen. Berkeley, CA; New Riders, 2008

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