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Best Practices for Using Video Online

Incorporating video in your course can be a great way to help learners engage with the content. Creating your own videos is a fantastic way to enhance your teaching presence in the online environment. But the overuse of video does have some drawbacks. In this post we want to consider some suggestions for best practices in the use of video.

Video lectures for course content

Research shows that the optimal length of videos for student engagement is about 6 minutes or less (source). Beyond 6 minutes, student engagement drops off (source). If you have a longer video lecture, you might want to consider breaking it into smaller chunks.

One way to do that is to make your video lectures interactive by adding in questions. Edpuzzle is a free resource that allows you to cut videos to your desired length and also add in questions for your students to answer. It also gives you options to add a voiceover or a note to explain things to your learners.

Another way to make videos interactive is to break longer lecture videos into smaller videos, and then post each shorter video on a separate page of a Moodle Lesson. Then you can add in questions for your students to answer after each section.

Thinking beyond lecture videos

What is your purpose for using video in your online course? Are you primarily using video to transmit content? Or are you using video to enhance your teaching presence?

If your goal is to provide teaching presence through the use of video, here are some ideas of short videos you could create to connect with your students.

  • Introduce yourself to students at the beginning of the course with a personal introduction video. You could also use the introduction video to share why you are passionate about the subject matter and highlight a few of the major assessments and key learning objectives of the course.
  • Create a video introduction to the unit. Welcome the students to the new unit and explain one or two key learning goals for the unit. This is also a great time to remind them of any major assessments that are due in that unit.
  • Use video to explain an upcoming assignment. Share the key components you will be looking for as you grade the assessment and point students to helpful resources.
  • Give video feedback to assessments. After a major assessment (exam, essay, project) you may want to explain a few of the most common mistakes made by students and suggest resources for them to use to improve their understanding of those areas.
  • Use video to summarize a class discussion at the end of a unit. If there has been a great conversation happening in the discussion forum during the unit, you might want to highlight the main points for students as a way to frame the discussion topic.

Remember to keep your videos short and engaging!