Communicate with Your Students On-the-Go!

Tracy Miller using a selfie stickVideos can be a great way to deliver a message to students in your online course, and it’s never been easier. Many of us carry our video cameras with us everywhere we go, after all. So let’s start with pulling out your smart phone, and follow these four easy steps.

1. Pick a Location: Find a location that is convenient or important to your message. You will want a nice background, with minimal clutter but more interesting than a blank wall. Try different locations around campus or your home. Even better, record video at conferences or while completing field research, so that the location is relevant to your content.

2. Plan Your Message: Think about what you are going to say. Are you welcoming your students to a new week? Do you want to remind them of a due date? Did something important come up in the news? You can write a script, if that helps you feel more comfortable, but it is generally better to sound casual and conversational as opposed to reading a very formal written script. Students appreciate when you sound approachable!

3. Record Your Video: After you have thought about what your message is, just start recording. You can have a colleague record you, prop up your phone on a bookcase or other handy furniture, or use a “selfie stick” and record on your own.

4. Edit and Publish: After you’ve recorded, upload the video to a video hosting site like YouTube (where you can keep the video Unlisted, if you want, so that you don’t accidentally become a viral video star). You can do that directly from your phone using the YouTube app. The video can then be edited and enhanced if you wish, and you should edit the captions to improve upon the often-glitchy auto-captions YouTube provides automatically. Then you can add it to your Blackboard course by using Video Everywhere to search videos in your YouTube channel, by posting the Share link, or by using the Embed code.

Unfortunately, if you ever used Video Everywhere to record from a webcam, it is no longer an option in Blackboard Learn. Google eliminated the ability to record from a webcam on YouTube, so it is no longer available in Blackboard, either. However, using your mobile device to record is easy and unchains you from having to record from your desktop or laptop computer.

Some benefits of capturing these quick and easy videos:

Convenient: Recording short video clips from your mobile device be done anywhere, anytime. All the equipment you need is in the palm of your hand. This method is great for when you are at a professional event and you want to share the experience with your students.

Connective: Videos are useful in helping students feel like there is a human being guiding their learning process in an online course. By creating on-the-go videos you will allow your students to see into your professional world and that world doesn’t revolve around a desk.

Contagious: Videos work for you and your students. Students can use videos to respond to discussions, as part of an assignment submission, or as a presentation tool.

Tips for communicating with your students with a video message:

  1. Outline what you want to say, but keep it informal (It doesn’t have to be perfect)
  2. Keep it short and to the point!
  3. Take a few minutes to think about your location (lighting, background)
  4. Save your video as Unlisted within YouTube and embed it in your Blackboard course to keep the message between you and your students
  5. Use YouTube’s Manage subtitles and closed captions for accessibility and usability

Sitting at a computer is not the only online teaching and learning environment. Mobile technologies make connecting with your students simple, yet meaningful. It is important to communicate with your them frequently in an online course, and using videos can enhance your interaction. For more information about online learning technology, watch the recording of our workshop on Promoting Learning with Technology, below.

Online Course Trailers Developed by NIU Geography Faculty Mace Bentley

posted in: Videos | 2
[Update 6/3/2015: We’re sorry, but these videos have since been removed from his channel on YouTube]

 

Dr. Mace Bentley, Associate Professor, Department of Geography at Northern Illinois University has developed the following movie trailers as an experiment in trying new ways to recruit more students to his classes. According to Mace,

I thought the idea of a class trailer (similar to a movie trailer) might provide a nice multimedia introduction to classes. I think it might help to access the “Net Generation” in a way engaging and motivating to them.

Take a look at the finished product!

GEOG 368: Climate Change (online)

GEOG 408/508: Tropical Environmental Hazards

Mace included a link in the YouTube descriptions to the NIU online web page where prospective students can learn more and enroll. Additionally, Mace shared:

I created these in iMovie and have used all my own materials to avoid copyright issues. It took a while to figure out how to do it, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to replicate in iMovie. The idea is to keep it short, to the point, and stimulating. I shot my videos on a Lumix GF-1 and iPhone and then downloaded directly into iMovie where I did the editing and incorporation with photos. The video portions are actually parts of vodcasts I have developed for several classes. This process takes time but can be done.

Have you ever considered creating a similar video trailer to promote your course(s)? Perhaps you’ve seen other similar video trailers online? Leave a comment with your experiences and/or links to any other similar trailers you’d recommend sharing with others!

Twitter Search in Plain English

posted in: Resources, Videos | 1

This new video by CommonCraft explains how Twitter search creates new opportunities for business feedback, tracking news in real time and discovering trends. As a follow-up to Twitter in Plain English, it further illustrates the power of this microblogging technology in bringing people together in new ways.

How might Twitter search be useful for an educational activity? Leave a comment with your ideas!

Strategies for Managing the Online Workload

One of the foremost concerns of online instructors is that teaching online requires more time than the traditional face-to-face classroom setting. The Strategies for Managing the Online Workload (SMOW) video podcast offers a collection of short descriptions, tips, techniques, and methods developed and used by experienced online educators to manage their time more effectively in the online teaching environment. *Note – The free iTunes software is required in order to download and view the video podcast episodes.

Here’s a video introduction to the podcast by Larry Regan, Director of Instructional Design and Development, Penn State University World Campus:

Additional contributions to this collection are welcomed. If you have an idea of how to save time when teaching online, contact Larry Ragan at Penn State University at lcr1@psu.edu for additional information on how to add your idea to this collection.

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