SIP 13.12 Use Video Clips to Enhance Learning

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

Student wearing Roadrunner gear studying on laptop outside Union Station.In a recent conversation on Teams, students were commiserating about the tough upcoming month, the last month of the semester. Several students shared that they were behind on reading or didn’t feel particularly confident about the last exam. Typical mid-semester blues. One student said, “I always fall asleep while watching the lectures.”

There it was – the first sign, for me, that maybe remote learning is beginning to normalize and that students’ learning needs in the Before Times are also the learning needs of Now. In other words, what disengaged students before disengages them today. Who hasn’t seen a student nod off during a lecture? And while we’re showing scars, whose head hasn’t bobbed up and down during a conference panel? It isn’t necessarily that the content is boring or that we’re even tired; it’s that active learning requires active listening and interacting.

Over the years, we’ve shared a variety of SIPs (Examples: SIP 9.11, SIP 10.2, SIP 10:12, SIP 10:13, SIP 13.11) on how to facilitate inclusive, active learning. In face-to-face class lectures, many of us have shown film clips, played audio clips, drawn on the whiteboard, hung posters or broadcast memes in PowerPoints. All of this is adaptable to remote learning. Last week, in SIP 13.11, we shared tips for recharging the enthusiasm in your remote learning courses. This week, we’re continuing this theme with suggestions for successfully incorporating video clips into your synchronous and asynchronous lessons. Video clips provide high-tech with high-touch outcomes that enliven digital lectures and increase student engagement.

Take a SIP of this: Use Video Clips to Enhance Learning

First, decide which content within your lesson could work well in a short visual moment.

The majority of your students have grown up using Instagram, Snapchat and other social media and technologies. They understand the 60-second video. However, not all content can be condensed into a short clip. Incorporating video clips into a lecture is similar to incorporating research into an academic article. Some information serves well in a summary (the video-clip equivalent), and other information works best quoted at length (assigning the entire film).

Second, decide your “why.”

  • Is the objective of the video clip to create spontaneity or to relieve some intensity?

In your face-to-face classrooms, you might have shared a funny meme or clip to lighten the pressure of the lecture. A few video-clip “Easter eggs” (a message or image hidden in your clip) embedded in your digital lecture would garner the same release while increasing student comprehension (if the Easter eggs added another layer to the lecture) or friendly competition among classmates (think: gaming). Chemistry students at Boston University (“Incorporating an Online Interactive Video Platform to Optimize Active Learning and Improve Student Accountability Through Educational Videos”) have been using EdPuzzle to interact with lecture videos. The free version of EdPuzzle allows you to insert open-ended questions, multiple-choice questions and images into your closed-captioned videos. Imagine interactive clips inside a longer video. EdPuzzle integrates with Canvas and links with YouTube, TED Talks and Khan Academy.

You can embed comments and Easter eggs into a video clip or film within Yuja as well. Be warned, though, that if the video clip or film is used by others, your comments will show unless you create a duplicate just for your course.

  • Is your goal to demonstrate or illustrate a complex concept?

Video clips often reinforce and clarify dense information not only for students who prefer to learn visually but also for auditory learners and reading/writing learners. For impactful video clips, the short run is essential. For example, film students learn to identify cinematography techniques, such as a close-up or an aerial shot, by watching clips that run from seconds long to under five minutes. These clips are excerpted from full films of 90-120 minutes. Students are more likely to rewind to rewatch video clips than they are to rewatch an entire film. Rewatching garners greater comprehension since students control the direct learning process, according to Edutopia.

Video-clip Sources:

Auraria Library’s streaming databases – Academic Video Online, Films on Demand, Kanopy – allow you to create clips with your own commentaries and embed or link the clips inside Canvas modules or pages. Students access the clips after logging into the Auraria Library. This brings unique and otherwise-hard-to-find content straight to students.

For YouTube, the low-tech option is to link the video to Yuja. You also could embed the YouTube video into a Canvas page. Here are some instructions on how to do so.

To use clips from content you own, integrate them into Yuja. The Center for Teaching, Learning and Design has tutorials for editing inside Yuja. Here is a link to take you to one of the tutorials.

  • Do you want an alternative assessment type instead of a written quiz or exam?
  • Incorporate video clips into Canvas quizzes or exams.
  • Ask students to post no more than a 60-second video to a discussion thread. With GoReact, instructors can provide text or audio comments inside the students’ videos, and feedback connects to the Canvas gradebook. The CTLD has a GoReact tutorialFlipGrid is another free option that includes closed captioning.

Students also could record and post using Yuja.

You might set parameters for a video-clip response similar to the rules for posting text responses. Stress that video-clip responses need only to be clear, on-prompt and within the required time frame. You’re not expecting polished filmmaking.

Finally, remember that context is everything.

  • In your face-to-face classroom, before you hit play, you likely provide a synopsis and suggestions for what and why students need to take note. Do the same online.
  • Tell students how long the clip is.
  • Be sure the clip includes closed captions, use Yuja to auto-caption it or include a link to transcripts.
  • Compose questions that cue students to pay attention for specific details. If you’re using the Canvas sample pages provided by the CTLD, then fill in the “VIDEO” page.

If you used video clips and more in your face-to-face classroom, pull them out of your Teacher Toolbox for your digital classroom. Students become consumers of knowledge by interacting with video clips that support a more in-depth lecture.

Still thirsty? Take a SIP of this:

SIP 9.11 Creating a Human Component in Online Learning

SIP 10.2 Establish a Strong Teaching Presence Online

SIP 10:12 Recreational and Competitive Gaming on Campus

SIP 10:13 Using Active Learning Strategies in Online Courses

SIP 13.11 Help! My Tricks Aren’t Working Anymore

Pulukuri, S. and Binyomin, A. (October 2020). “Incorporating an Online Interactive Video
Platform to Optimize Active Learning and Improve Student Accountability Through
Educational Videos.” Journal of Chemistry Education. 97, 12.

Robinson, Avra. (March 2021). “Teaching Students How to Learn From Videos: Instructional videos can help students learn at their own pace, but only if they know how to use them.” Edutopia

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