Improve Your Online Instruction with Quality Videos

By Kelly McGowan, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

New Recording Studio Enhances Online Statistics Courses

A mobile recording studio is the latest of CELT’s innovative solutions serving Iowa State’s online students. 

As the Department of Statistics develops its new Master of Applied Statistics online program, faculty now benefit from an in-house recording studio to create high-quality course content. And it’s just a walk down the hall to a small office in their building, Snedecor Hall.

Department of Statistics Chair Dan Nettleton said the studio is a comfortable space for instructors to focus on their recordings “without having to wonder if the audio and video will be up to technical specifications.” 

For online classes, CELT Media Production Manager Andrew Sevcik said videos made intentionally in a studio geared toward online instruction are best.

“It provides that step up in quality from sitting in their home or office recording on Zoom, Webex or Canvas Studio,” Media Production Specialist Kyle Solberg said. 

The CELT Media Production Team worked with faculty in the department to assess needs, and how to best meet them.
That solution consists of a lectern cart that holds the equipment, a computer, a monitor mounted on the cart, a high-quality webcam, a wireless mic system, a Wacom tablet that allows presenters to draw on their notes, a light kit, and a backdrop with custom branding.  
The elevated recording quality provides a better student experience and a sense of consistency across courses in the program, Sevcik and Solberg said.  
That uniformity, Nettleton said, lets students “focus on learning our course content without the distractions and frustrations that can come from lower-quality media.” 
This is just one example of CELT working with a strategic program to advance student-centered learning. Is your department wrestling with providing the best experience for online students? The CELT team is happy to discuss options and best practices. 

The New CELT Video in Online Courses Toolkit Provides Video Guidance for Online Instructors

CELT’s new Video in Online Courses Toolkit is a resource for instructors looking to improve their online courses with engaging videos. 
Released this week, the ten-page toolkit is packed with helpful, researched, actionable information on how quality video content impacts students and how instructors can create it.
The toolkit explores best practices such as creating “micro-lectures,” tips on video length and structure, ideas to amplify engagement, and more.
Six faculty members’ course recordings are highlighted as examples of different presentation styles. Morrill Professor Dr. Steve Butler, Department of Mathematics, uses body language and expresses enthusiasm in a clip showing “expressive presentation.” ISU Professor Dr. Cindy Haynes, Department of Horticulture, welcomes students back from break and warms the class for the upcoming lesson in an example of “direct presentation.”
Video recording setup tips are also included, along with recommended technology tools for different types of content and definitions of video platforms supported by Iowa State.
Use the toolkit when developing online courses or revisiting them for improvements. It’s never too early to consider small improvements to enhance an online course!
Looking to dig even deeper? CELT’s Course Design Institute touches on many aspects of course design and development, including using media content.