Online Strategies

Online Course Strategies

1) Create a sense of presence
2) Don’t lecture — talk
3) First two weeks critical
4) Create meta-videos (how the course works; technologies to be used)
5) Think Fluid – length based on topic and audience attention (20 minutes)
6) Think scaffolded assignments (even for interaction)
7) Give lots of feedback (even canned)
8) Redundancy and Remindancy
9) Make contact
10) Establish your comfort zone for contact and keep it.
11) Be playful
12) Be visual

Tips for doing your own videos

1) Use Camtasia — an excellent screen recording and video editing tool that has many tutorial videos.
2) Be mindful of the sound quality — good quality sound is one of the most important aspects of video.
3) Use three point lightingsee this article that explains it well.
4) Don’t try to be perfect — it takes much less time to edit out a bit of video than trying to do the whole video in one take.
5) Clap or make a loud sound when you make a mistake (or a moment of silence).  This makes it easier to spot the places to edit.

Faculty Member Comments

* I used lots of music. Occasionally I’d use a song from the time period I was talking about it and discuss it as a primary source. Mainly, though, I used music I liked from any and all periods to set a mood, heighten emotion, enliven a dull moment, underscore a transition, add humor, etc. I often started and ended a lecture with the same music in an attempt to give some sort of coherence. Increasingly, I would start out with prominent music and then lower the music to a low-level while I spoke over it. I don’t think this was even obvious to students, but I noticed many podcasts, radio programs, etc., do this, and I liked how it sounded. Camtasia makes it easy to add music at precise moments after you’ve recorded the lectures and to use audio transitions so the beginning and ending of music isn’t abrupt.

* I took increasing advantage of the audio and video “transition” features on Camtasia, so that I’d always start a lecture by dissolving from blackness into an image or crescendoing from silence to loudness (and vice versa). Without transitions, I found, things felt choppy.
* I used lots of images and got a lot of practice using animations and transitions on keynote (an equivalent of powerpoint) to keep it interesting. I used relatively little text. I always had a title for each lecture, and sometimes I would write out the argument for the lecture. Occasionally I’d write other important concepts or titles or proper names, but I tried to keep text minimal.
* I increasingly used the features in Camtasia that let you insert arrows or circle something you have on your screen. This is all stuff you can do after recording the lecture.
* I did a lot of editing after recording the lectures. If I stumbled or made a mistake when recording I would make a note of it, pause for quite a few seconds (maybe 3-5 seconds), and start the sentence again (all without stopping the recording). Then I’d go back later and edit that part out. The long pause was important because then I could go back and see at a glance on Camtasia when there was a blank spot in the audio, which meant that was somewhere I needed to go and fix a mistake.
*I like to make meta-videos that help students to navigate and do work in the course.  I usually make one video that shows students how to use the course site and where to find things.  I also have a few videos that gives tips on how to do assignments.  I try to think of all the teaching moments that happen in a class that don’t happen online.