Monthly Archives: October, 2013

OK I can do some video, so whats next?

Video can liven up your course and its a good way to get your content out there. There are are several good reasons why this works for the flipped classroom. First, why should students have to watch you in class talk and take notes on that information when a good video will work just as well online? They can watch it, take notes and even go back and review it as often as they want. Second, your class time gets freed up to do more important and engaging things.

There are a couple of things you should think about when using these videos as virtual content delivery. We know from research that a person’s online attention span is probably no more than 10 to 15 minutes. Having a “lecture” video that is more than 15 minutes may not be the best use of the time. If you lectures are longer then maybe breaking them down into segments would be the better choice. Another thing to consider is just how you follow up with the video. Videos can be passive learning experiences unless we include some type of follow up activity. Even just including a few review questions or follow up activities might add enough to the experience to make it more of an active learning experience.

If you want to do a more traditional video then by all means do so. But, consider trying some other things which might be interesting. Have some fun with it,  I taught Biology courses for some time and always tried to get outdoors to do some field experience video. I know of a course on paleontology where the instructor would go into the field and record videos in fossil beds. This is in essence almost like a field experience. Ask yourself the question, “is there a way for me to do something similar?” A few years ago I worked with an instructor who was teaching a US History course online. He spent much of his summer visiting civil war historical sites like Gettysburg, Bull Run, and  Fredricksburg, shooting video as he went and recording narrations for the sites he visits. He carries a small camcorder with him almost all the time for this purpose.

I have gotten in the habit of carrying my pocket sized Nikon CoolPix L28 with me most of of the time now for the same purpose. The video length is limited to 10 minutes but that is usually more than enough time to record a short onsite lecture. There are also you smart phone videos which are more than up to the task. Think about being a little more creative with what you do and expand environment you record in. Do you always have to use a classroom to do a short instructional video?


Easy video alternatives for flipped course development

First I am going to consider that you do not have a videographer available to you to shoot your videos for you and for the most part you are on your own to get video into your courses. Larger institutions and private online universities can accommodate you but if you work in an institution like mine which is on a very limited budget then you will need to be more resourceful.

If you want to do video from remote locations where you cannot bring your computer and or laptop. For example you might want to record a short video from a historic location or do a remote interview with someone. In these situations you will need to have some type of handheld video camera. In this video we will look at some common video alternatives that you have available to you. Keep in mind that there will almost always be limitations but in general these will do a good job for you.


I am going to add a short segment to the Video Gallery about shooting video with a DSLR. This is a more advanced skill so I am not going to include that in my posts on this main page. That should be posted in the next week.

There you have it. You may have some of these lying around somewhere. If you do give them a try and see how they come out.

Producing video lectures

The backbone of the flipped course is the video. Its one of the main sources of content and information for your students. Screencasts as we have seen are great for sharing your computer screen but if you want to record more personal lectures, conduct demonstrations, or do field videos (on location) you will need some type of handheld video camera. These can come in a number of different types from simple to very complex. Before considering using digital video there are some things you should know. If you do not have your own camera this can become an expensive enterprise to buy one. If the institution you work for has video equipment or maybe if you are lucky enough they have a videographer who can record the videos for you. If this is the case you are in luck. However, if not then you might be in the position of having to create your own with whatever you have available or what you can afford. You may already have one or more of the following types of video capability.

1. Smart Phone video- usually affordable and odds are you already have one and can be surprisingly effective for online presentations.

2. Pocket video cameras- usually inexpensive and most are available with HD video. Around $75 to $200. Very simple to operate and many are HD but make sure you check. The cell phone market is putting these cameras out of the picture.

3. Point and shoot cameras- many of these little pocket cameras have excellent photographic quality and near HD quality video and sell in the $150 to $400 price range. Excellent cameras for those who like to travel light.

4. Handheld dedicated Video Camcorders – lower end versions are affordable and available in HD. Decent quality cameras run between $200 to $500. These are simple to operate and often give excellent results.

5. DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) – Can produce film quality video but prices start at around $500 and can go up to $2000+. Although these are most noted for their photo ability they make excellent video cameras. Many professionals are using them in this way. If you already own one to do photography you might want to consider using it as a video camera but beware to get excellent quality you have to use them in manual modes.

6. Higher end HD film quality digital video – These are professional grade video cameras that usually start at around $1,200 and go up to $10,000 easily. This prices most people out of this category.

7. Specialty video- Cameras usually marketed for special use such as action or underwater video.  Prices start at around $200. The GoPro Hero3 and the Contour cameras are examples.