Professors are increasingly moving away from the traditional 60-minute lecture format, instead acting as guides that connect students with new experiences, places, and people beyond the physical classroom. 

Technology is supporting this evolution in pedagogy, driven in large part by video. 

We spoke with three professors who are using video to expand the boundaries of their classrooms to learn how they’re introducing students to new perspectives and enhancing the educational experience through video.

1. Breaking down boundaries of time and space at Samuel Merritt University

Video learning can provide access to new places and people far beyond the limits of the physical classroom. Through virtual field trips, instructors can connect students to experiences they may not be able to easily access in person – whether it’s a museum, landmark, laboratory, or living room on the other side of the world. Inviting guest speakers into the classroom through recorded video or real-time discussions offers students new perspectives without the need for travel.

Video also brings the classroom experience to students, no matter their location. In the Basic Sciences department at Samuel Merritt University, assistant professor Karissa Legleiter records videos of archaeological material and models in the laboratory to provide access when students can’t come to the lab themselves for review. 

“I’m able to walk through a femur or tibia or humerus, and they can watch that video at home again,” Legleiter says. “It’s this continuous repetition of the material that students love.” In this way, video has helped create a richer learning environment, expand access to material, and increase student engagement in her courses.

2. Transforming static assessments into engaging discussions at the University of Birmingham  

Instructors also use video to easily and quickly communicate complex topics and comprehensive feedback that they may not have time to document in writing – from recording assignments and skills testing to capturing feedback and evaluations.

Dr. Jeremy Pritchard, Senior Lecturer and Head of Education in the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham, frequently records feedback on student assignments, for example talking through a student’s work while using screen capture to highlight specific parts of an essay. 

“I find myself giving more nuanced, in-depth feedback when I record myself compared to when I just write comments on a student’s essay,” Pritchard says. “I also say more about the positives, rather than just focusing on the areas where the student needs to improve…My students really appreciate their video feedback – it helps them focus on their strengths and weaknesses more clearly.”

3.Flipping the classroom to facilitate higher-level thinking at Butler University

A flipped classroom model delivers lecture content through asynchronous – or pre-recorded – video so that in-person class time can be used for interactive activities such as demonstrations, skills practice, or student collaboration. 

Associate professor Jennifer Snyder, who teaches in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Butler University, taps into video for flipped skills assessments. When students practice new skills, either through role-play or with simulated patients, she records those sessions so the students’ peers and professors can view them at any time and evaluate the performance for proficiency. The recordings also facilitate student self-assessment, helping them gain a new perspective on their work and help them improve.

Flipping the classroom has strengthened the quality of discussion in Snyder’s classes. “It’s a much higher level of thinking when you go into the in-class discussion. It allows the students to really be ready for what you’re going to discuss that day, so it’s a richer discussion of the material,” Snyder says.

How might video elevate your classroom?

As professors and universities shift away from the traditional 60-minute lecture format, there are more possibilities than ever to expand your teaching with the freedom and flexibility of video. Without restrictions of time and place, where can you take your students? How can you expand the interactivity of your classes and provide new perspectives and experiences?

Related reading: 7 Unique Flipped Classroom Models: Which is Best for You?