As part of creating an online course that subscribes to best practices, I tap into a learning style inventory that identifies tactile, auditory and visual learners. When students are aware of how they learn most effectively, it maximizes their interest and boosts retention. I ask my students how they like to absorb information. Is it in a lecture format? Do they favor group activities? Do slides or graphics offer the best understanding? Can they sit still for long periods of time or do they become restless? Do they like to color code their notes? Is music playing in the background during their study time? Do they listen to a recording of their textbook or give voice to their text while reading?
When students take time to observe how they process information best, their dominant learning style prevails. Once students are aware of their learning style preferences, they can incorporate study strategies for academic success.
Keeping learning styles in mind, I design my courses with video tutorials, recorded lectures and group interactions. Over the years the software has changed dramatically, accelerating the ease of use in creating a video vignette. If I would like to produce an instant more informal video, I have captured my own “Welcome to COD” orientation videos using a selfie stick and ad libbing while holding up my cell phone in my office on campus. It’s the same kind of conversation I would have in a traditional classroom, but recorded for my online students to view as many times as they would like.
I have also taken part in video production within our College of DuPage Multimedia Services Department. In working with their professional staff of recording engineers and studio technicians, we have collaborated on projects integrating Screencast and Camtasia Studio into my online courses. This involved a lengthier series of projects requiring a lot of time drafting the script, practicing in the studio and meeting for post production. But it was well worth the effort and my students have given me positive feedback.
My most current video production project was with our Learning Technologies Department at College of DuPage. Lara Tompkins, Instructional Technologist and computer extraordinaire, filmed me while I read scripts for 12 instructional units, recording approximately 4 minutes of video per unit. Lara then edited the footage, incorporating graphics and scrolling text. Brett Coup, Associate Dean of Learning Technologies and the amazing department staff provide support services in a variety of capacities including media development. Learning Technologies has a sound booth and video production available to all faculty, administrators and staff. They share a myriad of equipment including a microphone, PC, HD camera and green screen — all resources that invite us to create, record and launch podcasts, presentations and student-focused media for our courses. The Learning Technologies staff provide workshops on the latest in video design and functionality. We are really fortunate to have these tremendous resources and professional staff working with us.
Since I have a background in Mass Communication and one of my favorite classes as an undergraduate student was broadcast journalism, the process of scripting, recording and producing really appeals to my creative side. And the biggest impact is the effectiveness of using video in an online course as it establishes both social and cognitive presence — key ingredients in a successful online learning experience.