“Video offers lecturers so many new opportunities to improve teaching – it’s worth trying!”
Part one of a two-part guest blog post from Assistant Professor Till Winkler, Copenhagen Business School
I am one of a growing number of lecturers at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) using video to support and enhance their teaching practices – from recording lectures to flipping the classroom. My aim is to improve both the quality and flexibility of the learning materials I can offer my students, and to do so in an efficient way that makes the most of both my time and theirs.
Getting started with video
My journey with video began when I needed to find a way of offering access to lecture content to students who had valid reasons for not being able to make face-to-face sessions. For instance, some of my students had part-time jobs or parallel classes which made it impossible for them to all my lectures. I didn’t want their learning experience to be compromised and consequently recording my lectures so that they could watch the content on-demand seemed like a good solution.
The more I began to think about it, the more I appreciated how useful these recordings would be to the students who had already attended the lecture too – allowing them to study after class or recap before exams. If they wanted to go back to the material and re-listen to what I said about a specific topic, or even in relation to a specific slide, they could use the lecture recording to do that. The self-paced learning that on-demand video makes possible is especially beneficial to students with disabilities or special educational needs.
Another spur to my initial adoption of video was my involvement in a particular elective course which included a lot of guest speakers from Danish companies. Some of these guests had a long journey to get to the university and I realised that it would be a better use of everyone’s time in the long run to record their lectures the first time they visited. I keep the recordings and reuse them whenever they are needed in subsequent semesters so that the speakers don’t have to come in personally.
Beyond lecture recording – new uses for video
Having become increasingly familiar with Panopto through lecture recording, I wanted to take my use of video to the next level, either by producing something that was more of a blend of online/offline material or that employed a flipped learning approach. I was also questioning whether doing the same lectures semester after semester genuinely offered an inspirational learning experience for my students and video opened up the possibility to try something different. After all, explaining the same content to students over and over again is neither rewarding for the students, nor very efficient for me. This motivated me to develop a blended learning course, which included several fully online sessions. I am planning to use these sessions to flip the classroom in the future – saving valuable classroom time for discussion and interaction.
So what have I learnt during this process? Well, in addition to the efficiencies I’ve already discussed, I discovered that by having to pack all the key lecture content into videos of 4-6 minutes and combining them with online activities such as quizzes, polls, and essays, I am actually more in control of each session. I think this compares favourably with a live lecture, which can actually be more variable in terms of quality and usefulness. When you go to a physical class, there’s always a ‘situational’ element. After some classes, you think, ‘oh, it was a great class!’, but after other classes you may think, ‘I could have done that better’ or ‘I lost too much time on this or that discussion’. With video, you can craft consistently high-quality resources for your students. After all, you design the video lectures, you script them, you record them, so you can make them exactly as you like. And then, of course, by including other online activities that take place around the recording, you can foster a more collaborative approach to learning and often respond to students’ learning needs in a more timely way.
Although it takes a while to script and record the lectures, ultimately I think that these efforts will pay off in the longer term. From a pedagogical perspective, I definitely think it’s the right way to go – both for me as a lecturer and for my students. My advice to any lecturer thinking about using video? It’s worth trying it!
If you’re interested in using video to enhance the student experience, you can find out more by joining delegates at the forthcoming Panopto Conference ‘Video from every angle’, taking place on Wednesday 9th November. You can sign up here: https://panoptoconference2016.eventbrite.co.uk