This question was submitted by a reader who was wondering if there was any advantage to producing your own videos or could you just rely on third party content from YouTube, TED Talks or some other source. I think generally the answer to this question is yes, there is a distinct advantage. Producing your own lectures or content source gives you greater control over the content. Keep in mind the content of whatever you use must conform and align with the course outcomes. The problem with some third party content is that you have little or no control of the content and it may or may not support your outcomes. When using third party content extra care must be taken to assure that what the students are getting from the source is just what they need. Third party content may drift off to content that may be on the periphery of what you really want and the lack of specificity may only serve to confuse you students. Controlled content through faculty produced video may often be the best source for your students. If you find content that is on point then great but beware using inappropriate content maybe worse then using none at all.
It sounds pretty easy to just put a few lecture videos in your flipped course for the students to watch between classes. We have seen with some simple equipment or with screencasting we can accomplish this. But the video itself is only part of the answer. We have no idea whether the students are watching these or not and its going to be a week or two, depending on your class schedule when you will meet with them again. This is an issue not only for the hybrid flipped course instructor but for the online instructor who may have uploaded an number of videos which align with his course and program objectives but these may very well be passive activities for the students. For the student to be actively engaged with the material they need to have some activities associated with the videos which check their understanding of the content. just like you would with any instructional activity, you must build in reflective activities to have students think about what they learned, How do we check them on the relevance of what they are watching?
Reflection should be a part of your regular classroom environment and if these procedures are not implemented in the flipped classroom then the videos all become passive assignments and they will not be effective. Students need time to reflect on what they have been watching to connect content to objectives, Videos will need associated activities which will challenge the students thinking and provides an opportunity for the instructor to assess the students progress.
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?
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.
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.
If you want to share your computer screen with students and provide a narrative with it you can use a process called screencasting. You will need for this some screencasting software and a decent microphone plugged into your computer. There is a great deal of software out there but most of them are free to try but will set you back a few bucks to buy it. Most of them are not very expensive but there are a couple of completely free versions which i could recommend for you.
First is my personal favorite Jing from Tech-Smith http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html. This is a free download that allows you to screencast with sound for up to five minutes. The software comes with a small semi transparent icon which sits partially hidden at the top of your screen which can be opened at any time to begin a screencast. The screencast is stored in your account where you can get either a link to send to others or an embed code to insert the screencast in a site. Jing has very good documentation with its and good support from Tech-Smith. The only real downside to Jing is its short record time of 5 minutes. For longer recording you will need to purchase the upgrade version. If you need to record longer recordings in the free version you would need to create a series of sections or chapters to complete the project. This is not necessarily bad since breaking down longer videos into shorter segments is actually considered a good practice. Below is a Jing example from my archive: http://screencast.com/t/U3BA2Aq3A
The other I can recommend is Screenr http://www.screenr.com/. Like Jing, Screenr is limited to 5 minutes of record time unless you upgrade to the “Pro” version which has a cost associated with it. There are a couple of significant differences between Screenr and Jing. Screenr is in an online format. There is no software to download unless your Java software on your computer is outdated. If it is you will be prompted to download the Java updates which is usually not a problem. The other major difference is that the record web page for Screenr must remain open while you are doing any screencasts with it. This means that you will need to be careful manipulating web pages while working with this and take care not to shut down the Screenr record page by accident. This effectively shuts off the video recording. Screenr also provides both a link and an embed code for your video screencasts.
Both of these products will give you good quality screencasts but do not expect HD quality. Also consider that the sound quality will only be as good as your microphone. The best part is that they are free and with some planning you can create some good video segments from your computer screen.
Next week will be we be looking at digital video recording equipment from the cell phone through some higher end equipment and focusing on what would be the best choice for you if you decide you want to do some digital video recordings of lectures and demonstrations.
The video can easily become the center of your flipped course world. Its moving the lecture/content portion of the course to the online world that makes it a flipped class. Video can be done in a number of ways and in the next few segments we will look at some of the ways in which videos can be created. Generally there are two ways in which we can crated and instructional content video:
1. Through the use of screencasting
2. Video cameras
Screencasting is the process of recording what is on your computer screen with sound/voice overlay. This works very well for anything which is projected onto your computer screen which you would like to share with your students such as Powerpoints or Web sites. Software like Jing and Snag it do a very good job capturing screen content. These can also be enhanced with the use of Camtasia or some other presentation video software.
Using video cameras allows you to capture live action such as lectures and demonstrations. They also allow you the ability to move around in different locations. This is great if you wish to do content instruction that involves visiting remote locations.
If you have a story about a class or even a lesson that you have flipped I would love to hear about it. Good examples will encourage others to try flipping a lesson or two and experiment with the process. You can submit your example by clicking on the “About” button and submitting through my contact link or by sending an email directly to me at: