Big Ideas to Follow as You Create Video Content

The video has become a key tool of instruction in higher education. While the video is often used by instructors in face-to-face course environments to augment or enhance the content, it is more often integrated as a key component into blended/hybrid and online course structures. In some instances, video instruction serves as the heart of the course content. Given the importance of video, instructors should keep these big-picture ideas in mind before creating video content or asking students to submit video assignments.

In the world of instructional design, we think backward. In other words, we first identify and state the objective(s), then determine the assessment best aligned to assess the objective(s), and then outline the activities and resources students will need in order to perform well on the assessment. As an instructor, this should be your thought process when you decide to integrate video into instruction. Before you begin the creative process, identify the purpose. It’s your mission to state clearly the purpose of the video (the ‘learning objective’) and explain why it’s important to the lesson at hand.

Who is the audience for this video? Is it one student? Is it many? Perhaps the video is intended for a small group of students that serves a one-time purpose, or perhaps it is a video that may serve multiple groups of students over the course of many semesters. Before you begin to record your video, decide upon the audience and tailor your video for that audience.

You will play a key role in setting the style and tone of your video. Do you want your video to have humorous elements or bits of whimsy? Or is your video serious in nature? Of course, different videos address different needs, and there’s a place for both types of videos and those in between. You set the tone and style of your video by the choices you make in voice tone (happy, upbeat, measured, serious, etc) and the presentation style of your content (look, color, graphics, etc).

If you’re asking your students to record a video for an assignment, consider their geographical location. Where are they located when creating the video? Are they in their apartment? In their home? On-campus? In a school? In a hospital? Knowing where your students are located will help you determine the strength of the Internet connection as well as whether they have a wired or wireless connection. Both factors will influence how successful students will be when it comes time to record or upload a video for assignment submission. Do not assume that students will have ideal recording circumstances.

Instructors often assume that students just “know” how to record a video and upload it to an assignment submission. This is a mistake! Some will know and some won’t. You have to plan for both! We mention ‘prerequisites’ because there is often a set of skills students will need to possess prior to recording and uploading a video. This pre-set toolbox of skills involves knowing the following:

  • the best device (or best options) to use to record the video
  • the proper software or app to record the video
  • available conversion software in case students need to convert the video to a more easily transferable format (Mp4 format)
  • editing or video compression software available to edit or compress the video to a more easily transferable size
  • the best method(s) to submit the assignment online (if they’re submitting it in Canvas)

Students need to know all of these skills before they begin the recording process, or at the very least, they need to know where to go to access the needed resources, instructions, and tutorials that can assist them through the process, from recording to submission. It’s your responsibility to teach them or provide resources.