Learning Glass2 Professor Jennifer Choi uses Academic Technology Services’ eLearning Studio.

Including instructional content in video form can be a fantastic way to engage students and communicate ideas. In face-to-face, hybrid, and online classes, videos can help instructors present otherwise difficult-to-explain content. That said, a lot of instructors feel intimidated about making videos because it can be hard to know where to start or what tools to use!

This guide offers a quick break-down of how to prepare for creating a video and what editing best practices you’ll want to follow.

Elements of Effective Instructional Video

How to Prepare for a Recording

  • Create a storyboard in advance. It can be overwhelming to consider all of the options for creating a video! Generating a storyboard is like writing an outline; it’ll give you a sense of the video’s basic shape and what images or links you’ll need to include within the video without feeling bogged down. Storyboards don’t have to be complex. Stick figures work great, and using a tool you already have like PowerPoint can help to organize the general flow of a video.
  • Write a script to keep ideas on track. When we improvise, we tend to say more than we anticipate. This can work well in a live lecture, but can sound like rambling in a pre-recorded mini video lecture. Writing a script or list of bullet points that you and refer to as you’re recording your video will help keep the content focused and the length short. Worried about sounding stiff? Try a few practice rounds with your script to get comfortable. That should help you feel “loose” enough to start sounding natural and not like you’re reading.
    • Still not convinced that writing out a script is useful? 95% of all the faculty that we’ve worked with who started creating videos by simply talking extemporaneously eventually decided that writing out scripts ahead of time ended up working better.
  • Make sure to keep the video short (7-10 minutes maximum). Even if you are trying to create videos for an hour’s worth of content, break that video into smaller segments. Chances are, once you start planning out and thinking through how your hour-long lecture can be divided into 5-minute segments, developing shorter videos may come more naturally than you expect!

Editing Best Practices

  • Maintain variety in images and sounds. Watching a “talking head” bob in front of a screen for five minutes straight is not particularly engaging. Instead, be sure to include a variety of images along with the recording of yourself speaking. You might, for example, include an image of yourself speaking in the bottom-left or bottom-right hand corner while the background of the video moves through different images, graphs, or maps.
    • Faculty often ask is it necessary for them to appear in their videos. The easy answer is, no, it isn’t necessary; but, research has demonstrated that students have a much more positive opinion and tend to learn more from videos where the instructor is on screen at least part of the time (Kizilcec 2015). Especially in an online course, appearing in videos can help establish instructor presence that helps the student connect much better with the asynchronous content.
  • Intersperse interviews with experts. It can be tough to maintain focus on a video that includes only one voice. Videos can be fantastic for including others’ voices that you may not be able to bring into the classroom otherwise. Interviews are best when video-recorded, but even including audio interview can be useful as well.
  • Use animation to illustrate complex topics. Some information is best presented dynamically. Including a moving graphic – rather than simply a static one – can do a powerful job of showing how a mechanism or action functions.
  • Include interactive content (e.g. quizzes). Watching a video is frequently a passive experience for a student. Consider including a quick quiz for a student to take in the middle or at the end of the video. This can help students assess their comprehension of the video content quickly and receive immediate feedback. Even including a button where students have to click “next” to see the next part of a video sequence is a useful way to keep students actively engaged in the video process. There are a lot of tools to help you create interactive video content.

Students in my classes and other classes often tell me that the videos were extremely helpful for their study process even if they were not enrolled in my class. I even get emails from students in other states and countries.Bryan Enderle, Chemistry

Tools and Resources for Recording

  • Take advantage of our on-campus eLearning Studio. In the basement of Hutchison Hall, the Academic Technology Services team has a green screen, a learning glass (see image above), and the recording equipment you need to create instructional media in a professional setting! The eLearning Studio is free for all faculty and staff to use, so if you’re interested in learning to create your own instructional videos, contact elearningstudio@ucdavis.edu to schedule a tour.

References & Resources

Albright, J. (2012). How to Make a Storyboard-Storyboard Lingo and Techniques. Retrieved from http://www.videomaker.com/article/f2/15415-how-to-make-a-storyboard-storyboard-lingo-techniques

Brame, C.J. (2016). Effective Educational Videos: Principles and guidelines for maximizing student learning from video content. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 15(es6), 1-6.

Kizilcec, R., Bailenson, J., & Gomez, C. (2015). The Instructor’s Face in Video Instruction: Evidence From Two Large-Scale Field Studies. Journal of Educational Psychology. 107(3), 724-739.

Merrill, M. (2017). Maximizing Learning from Instructional Video. Retrieved from http://wheel.ucdavis.edu/2017/06/recording-of-june-2nd-dolce/

Moore, E. (2013). From Passive Viewing to Active Learning: Simple Techniques for Applying Active Learning Strategies to Online Course Videos. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/from-passive-viewing-to-active-learning-simple-techniques-for-applying-active-learning-strategies-to-online-course-videos/

Orlando, J. (2010). Effective Uses of Video in the Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/effective-uses-of-video-in-the-classroom/

Written, C. (2014). 6 Tips for Storyboarding like a Pro. Retrieved from http://elearningindustry.com/6-tips-for-storyboarding-like-a-pro