Teaching Using Video
The University of Sheffield suspended face-to-face teaching from Monday 16 March 2020 and all teaching has moved online. Please refer to the Coronavirus Information & Advice page for the latest updates.
As educators all over the world race to adapt their teaching to the current situation, thoughts inevitably turn to using video as a method of delivering lectures and other learning materials. This guidance is designed to cover all the key information you need to create effective video for learning and teaching whilst working remotely.
Updated: Friday 22 May at 12.00
- Creating videos at home (video)
- Does it need to be a video?
- Making accessible videos
- The pedagogy of presenting
- Improving the quality of your videos
- Getting technical
- Presenting and demonstrating
- Accessing further support
Creating videos at home
Does it need to be a video?
Like any other material provided on a course, videos should meet or enhance specific learning objectives. You should consider if a different format would be more appropriate - for example, an article, podcast or discussion. However, it is important to consider that the current conditions severely limit the interaction between you and your learners. In this context, videos can be an excellent way to create a sense of community in the absence of face-to-face contact. Some reasons for using video for learning include:
- Introducing yourself and the module
- 'Checking in' throughout the course
- Explaining difficult concepts or concepts which can be easily misunderstood - this could include working through maths/physics problems for example
- To enhance a lab or field trip experience
Discussion and Feedback
- Explaining exactly what will be required for assessment - especially given the current circumstances
- Explaining how what they will be learning in the module is different from previous experiences
- Prompting discussion
- To provide student feedback in the form of a screencast
Making accessible videos
New web accessibility regulations came into force in 2018 and apply to all new video content that is produced. It's worth bearing in mind improving the accessibility of your course content not only helps students with disabilities to access your materials, it also improves the learning experience for students who might want to engage with the content in different ways.
|Accessibility considerations for creating video||
Your videos must have subtitles and/or transcripts. Transcripts should also be accessible so that they can be read by screen readers. Kaltura, the University's digital media hosting platform, can generate captions for any video or audio file that is uploaded.
Any visual elements should be audibly described by the speaker, including references to objects, graphics and names and titles if they appear on the screen. Visual elements should have sufficient colour contrast.
You should consider where your learners are based and what implications this may have for their internet connectivity. Your learners may not have as good an internet connection as they do when on campus. Also learners may not have access to a computer or laptop and may engage with all materials using their mobile phone.
It may be better to provide learning materials in smaller, bite-sized chunks as this can help with slower internet connections (including uploading videos). It can also help some learners to process information.
The pedagogy of presenting
A live teaching scenario allows for improvisation, comments, questions, jokes and a reading of the room. Prerecorded video allows for none of that, so you need to make your video presentation as digestible as possible. Here are some important things to consider.
|Script your video||
Prepare what you are going to say ahead of time. You could script your video in its entirety and read it from a teleprompter app (there are loads of free ones available in the app store) or a web application such as Cueprompter.com.
If you’re not comfortable with reading everything word for word then cue cards or topic headings could be enough to keep you on track. You could also use a Word document or even a PowerPoint presentation to create cue cards/headings.
|Keep it short||
Data on video engagement suggests that attention spans tend to wander around the 6-minute mark. Obviously, you shouldn’t truncate your learning materials, but it can help to bear this in mind when considering how your learners will engage with the material.
Could your lecture be split into smaller chunks? Could you make a number of shorter videos defined by chapters or topics rather than a single lecture? This approach has a number of benefits:
|Strike the right tone||
Improving the quality of your videos
These are some simple things you can do to improve the quality of your videos.
|What to wear||
If you have some experience of filming then feel free to experiment and use your own kit - however, a good quality video is achievable with familiar devices most people already own.
Most mobile phones and digital cameras have a video function good enough for making simple teaching videos. There is usually an automatic mode which will set the focus and other settings automatically.
Presenting and demonstrating
Remember that you don’t always need to be on camera, and you don’t always need to explain everything verbally - sometimes it’s just better to see it. Consider these alternative approaches, which can be useful for everything - from giving a quick overview to working through problems, and even demonstrating lab techniques.
A screencast is a recording of your screen, normally with narration. It is a very simple and straightforward way of producing content, and a great way to get started in making your own videos. Because you can record anything that you can show on your screen, there is a very wide range of content that you can create. Generally speaking though, screencasts are generally used to:
|Drawing, writing and demonstrating||
You can easily capture drawing, writing and techniques. You will need to position the camera so that it can capture the area in which you intend to write or demonstrate.
There are a wide range of stands, clamps and tripods available which can be used to hold your camera or phone in position while you draw, present at a whiteboard, etc. A stand can be easily improvised with everyday objects such as a stack of books and/or blu tac.
Accessing further support
If you need more guidance when filming your own content, the Creative Media team offer a range of tutorials and support to help you on your way. This covers everything from the practicalities of using equipment to the basics of editing.
There are also some helpful notes on providing video for students from the University of Wisconsin.