Think – March 2016

Instructional Video

While rarely included in the correspondence and distance learning courses of decades past, videos have become nearly ubiquitous in today’s online, blended, and flipped courses. Those of us who have experienced these courses, both old and new, might now find ourselves asking the question: is this a good thing? To which our office would reply…maybe.

Lightbulb icon, RedVideos have the potential to offer a great deal to the learning environment, but they are equally capable of numbing your students and fostering an impression of abdicated responsibility. Faculty and students alike have spent most, or all, of their academic lives teaching and learning in a shared physical space. Removing individuals from this familiar environment has the potential to disorient learners in a problematic fashion. Synchronous video interactions can leave individuals less certain of having achieved mutual understanding. Long, lecture capture videos – even those of a high production quality – often result in low levels of student engagement. Poorly designed video content is likely to increase the transactional and relational distance between students and teachers, which ultimately hinders learning. Decontextualized videos leave students feeling as though their instructor has completed his or her work, and then simply walked away.

Video done right, however, has the potential to engage learners in new and significant ways. Engaging, empathic videos can connect learners to teachers and content in significant ways. Worked problems and screencast tutorials can be successful ways to communicate difficult concepts in a manner that allows students to view, and review, sample problems at their own pace. VoiceThread and Zaption (each addressed elsewhere in this month’s newsletter) are two interactive tools that support the development of engaging video. These tools promote the development of video interactions that are well-equipped to minimize the transactional distance in any mode of instruction.

For more reflection on video use in the learning environment this #digped Storify of a 2012 discussion includes several insights into “the use and abuse of the video lecture” by contemporary practitioners. Elsewhere on the same site, Jesse Stommel offers up a self-reflective examination on his own use of video for Shakespeare in Community. As with any aspect of learning, we encourage you to learn from your colleagues about their successes and failures, meet together to brainstorm new ways forward, and contact us for further assistance in exploring a variety of video tools and production techniques.

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                     Online ASL Instruction                   One tutorial, several ways        RSA Animate | Education Paradigms

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