Instructor Led Videos: Best Practices

Image of woman sitting in front of camera.

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

Published November 12, 2020

As one of the Learning Designers at UB's Center for Educational Innovation, I have the great opportunity of teaching faculty course design and best practices. I often get asked by faculty when and how to consider using pre-recorded instructions for asynchronous delivery. I begin by stating that video by no means can replace you as the instructor, nor should it in my opinion. I advise that you use video sparingly. However, videos can be made quite effectively when some basic rules are followed.

“Practice makes perfect. But videos don’t need to be perfect, do they? I think it shows the students a human side to their professor. ”

Chunk video content

To ensure that the students are engaging with the video, it is recommended to chunk the video content into smaller recordings and keeping videos focused on the small learning goals.

Use welcome videos to create sense of community from the onset

Taking away the teacher’s presence in an online class often makes students feel not as engaged as they could be in a traditional face-to-face class environment. Establishing a social presence using class videos will help to make the learning space is welcoming and inviting. One best practice is to create a welcome video message to students. Your welcome message could be recorded using a smartphone or any video conferencing software, such as Zoom or WebEx. Panopto is also a good option for video recording. Luckily UB Learns has Panopto, WebEx and Zoom, which are all integrated and very easy to use. The welcome video doesn’t have to be limited to opening the class. Think about using a welcome video at the beginning of a new topic or lesson. Just a short video to make the class feel more connected to you.

Videos should meet accessibility standards

Zoom, WebEx and Panopto all have an auto captioning feature built in. Using the auto captioning features while recording your videos will make the videos easier to watch and accessible by all. After you record, make sure to go back and read the auto captioning to ensure video captioning is accurate (for example medical jargon, scientific terms and mathematical equations often get transcribed inaccurately). Easy to correct captions allow everyone the opportunity to learn on the same level.

On-campus recording options

There are plenty of on-campus options for video recording. UB is doing a good job of equipping more and more classrooms with recording, livestreaming and video conferencing. There are also recording studios on-campus to help with video creation. Lastly, there are Instructional Video Production resources to help you.

Have fun!

I think one of the best pieces of advice I have is to try to make the videos fun and engaging. Ask yourself, if you were watching a class video, would you want to watch your teacher drone on and on or would you rather watch something that was created in a fun but effective manner?

Bottom line

I promise after you make your first video, and get over the horror of watching yourself on camera for the first time, that videos will become easier and easier to create. Write a script if you need to. Practice makes perfect. But videos don’t need to be perfect, do they? I think they shows the students a human side to their professor.