Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Creating video for teaching

Using video in your teaching can be a great way to get a message across and to enhance student engagement. There are some great videos available on YouTube, iTunesU or TED Talks, for example, that can be used to illustrate a concept or give additional information.

In the last year, we've seen an increase in the number of academic staff who are creating their own videos for use in teaching. See, for example, the NUI Galway Microbiology channel on YouTube, Derek Molloy's (DCU) award-winning channel on Digital Electronics, or setting up the oscilloscope in a Physics lab.

Certainly, recording something on my mobile phone and uploading it to YouTube is surprisingly easy. But how easy is it to create something a little bit more professional and useful for teaching purposes?

With these questions in mind, I went along to Irene McCormick's presentation at the EdTech conference in Maynooth in May. Irene is from IT Carlow and she is responsible for this NDLR-funded video, illustrating why you might want to use a tripod when recording video.

At her presentation, Irene gave some compelling reasons why we might want to bother with video: that it supports innovative methods of teaching, learning and assessment; it's good for our own professional development; it can involve students, particularly where they are producing video; and it can be good fun!

She stressed some important points, the main one being Keep It Simple. Don't use gimmicks, stick to the storyline and aim for high levels of continuity.

Creating video involves three stages. The planning stage is the most important to get right - never go out with a camera and start filming. Consider equipment, your team, dates, locations, actors and whether there is any A/V support available. Write a script. Irene recommends using something like celtx, which I will have to investigate.

The second stage is production, where you actually get out with your video camera. Again, Irene recommends a simple approach: no need for zooming; work methodically; and use a tripod.

The final stage is post-production, where you edit your video. Again, this can be kept very simple; no complicated transitions. Irene recommends Final Cut Pro, but if you're just starting out, Windows MovieMaker does pretty much everything you need (and it's free).

If you're based at NUI Galway, you can use our Kaltura connector on Blackboard to upload your final masterpiece to Blackboard for your students' consumption. Otherwise, YouTube, BlipTV or Vimeo are all possibilities for hosting video in the cloud.


Alan Cann said...

The Microbiology (NUI Galway) Channel is a great example of the difficulties of using video - only three entries posted, all at the same time, three tears ago. This is not going to maintain interest, therefore possibly represents a waste of effort?

Sharon said...

Hi Alan, thanks for reading and commenting.

Well spotted - yes the Microbiology site probably wasn't the best example I could have given. Rather than running out of steam, I think this is a result of the lack of hosting/streaming options available to the group at the time. With no institutional hosting available, the only options available to academics were YouTube, BlipTV or similar.

More recently, in Ireland, the HEAnet has provided a Media Hosting Service, and at NUIG we now have the option to use Kaltura within Blackboard. This will make a real difference to academics.

As an institution, we still don't have a public facing video presence, apart from some promotional videos on YouTube - but it's not ideal. However, we are hoping to make some moves in that direction in the next 6 months.