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Video is a powerful medium. It also presents certain challenges. You can produce your own videos to share with your students; you can also point your student to existing videos that you've found. You can also have your students find relevant videos, curate and critique them; you can even have your students create their own videos.
Keep it short
As a rule, shorter is better. How short? 90 seconds might be ideal. If you need to go longer than five minutes, chunk it up into shorter bits that stand on their own.
Choosing your subject
It may be a good idea to create videos to support learning on concepts that are particularly difficult.
Write a script
Planning is essential to producing your own videos, and a script is the core of your plan. This is the most important step in the process. Write with your learning objectives in mind.
Some people prefer a complete script, but a spare outline can help to keep your delivery sounding more natural sounding. You should aim for a conversational, friendly tone. Keep it simple. Use short sentences. Remember that you are writing for the ear, not the eye. The style appropriate to a scholarly journal is not necessary here. When you read it aloud, you'll quickly hear what sounds awkward or stilted.
Make sure to save your script so that you can use it as a starting point if you decide to re-do your video in the future. You may also choose to share your script with your students.
It's a good idea to rehearse a bit before and practice before you start recording. Feel free to do a test recording to get comfortable. Some people feel "stagefright" at first. This is entirely normal and goes away as you become familiar with the process. If it helps, visualize your students; that's who you're talking to, even thought they're not in the room with you. If you make a mistake, simply continue recording; pause for five seconds and pick up where you left off. You'll edit out the mistakes later.
If you're using Camtasia, it's a good idea to save your project files as well as your final exported video. If you're using CAT's Camtasia studio, it's your responsibility to take a copy of your project files with you.
We're going to go out on a limb here and recommend the MP4 video format.
Captioning enhances accessibility
It's a good idea to caption your video for students who are hearing impaired. YouTube supports captioning. Of course, if you've written a complete script, you can offer that to students.
Hosting is better
You can upload video directly into Blackboard, but as a rule it's probably better to stick your video on an external video hosting service such as YouTube or Vimeo. YouTube is better for accessibility. You can embed such videos in Blackboard or provide a link to the video content.
Of course, you will want to make sure you have the right to use any content that you're adding to your course. If you use content by produced by other people, you'll want to give those people credit. Here are some resources that can help you understand your rights and responsibilities:
The Essential Copyright: A Guide to Copyright in the Educational Setting
(UNC Charlotte Atkins Library)
Fair Use & Copyright
(Center for Social Media at American University)
Distance Education & The TEACH Act
(American Library Association)
Video Best Practices
by the Center for Teaching & Learning at UNC Charlotte and
Best Practices: University Libraries Video Tutorials & Learning Objects
by Penn State University Libraries.
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