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Dim the lights! Producing video as a substitute for live lectures

Scott Moore piloting use of video lectures in BIT 330

Dr. Scott Moore, Associate Professor of Business Information Technology, is producing his own video lectures this semester in BIT 330 as a pilot for future courses.

Moore dove right into the project, acquiring a high-end microphone and using a green-screen backdrop that allows him to splice in slides and demonstrations behind himself. The operation takes place in his home, and he uses a Mac desktop computer with Camtasia software to produce the video.

Moore said that he was presented with a good opportunity to test the waters this semester with a course that’s all about putting technology to use in learning.

“Before, in the lab, I’d do a short lecture, and the students would work on guided exercises,” Moore said. “They didn’t ever interrupt during my lecture—no matter how often I tried—so if we didn’t have any interaction at that point, then why do we need to be there? There was support that I was giving, but it could all be done remotely.”

Moore's in-home "studio."

Moving his lectures online means the students can watch at any time, and since Moore hosts the videos on a web site he created, it allows for the students to post comments and interact with their classmates as part of an online community.

VIDEO: See this in action

It also means the physical resource that would ordinarily be reserved for his class can be freed up for other events.

“I’m guessing we wouldn’t need to reserve the classroom,” he said. “We had our first class completely in person, and from then on instead of holding class I’m holding office hours. We meet in the Winter Garden, which is where I normally hold my office hours, anyway.”

Moore plans to produce around 60 videos this semester, all of which average around 15 minutes in length. At this point, one fifteen minute video takes about two hours to produce.

Interested? Ross Technology can help get you started.  Here's what Scott used...

  • Digital video camcorder
  • Microphone (Samson C01-U)
  • Pop-filter for microphone
  • Lighting kit
  • Apple Mac Desktop Computer
  • Camtasia Studio Software
  • Green screen

“It takes me now, about eight times the length of the final video,” he said. “That’s down from around twelve times the length. So for about fifteen minutes [of final video], after all the takes, watching it, cutting appropriately, doing the titles, putting in the slides, doing the edits, transitions, wrapping up, putting annotations, that’s [ about two hours].”

Although it may take a time commitment to get the lectures watchable, it does allows for some editorial discretion that isn’t available in a live lecture.

“You can do five takes that are very horrible, and then do one that’s decent and get rid of the bad versions. So the student doesn’t have to listen to the bad versions,” he said.

Moore said he got a taste for what works by watching a ton of various how-to videos online, which can give you a sense of what to try, and most importantly what not to try.

He offers the following advice to those who’d like to try something similar: “Practice, watch yourself, watch other people. Get a taste of what works, what doesn’t. Don’t expect your first one or your first two or five to turn out. Keep practicing, keep calibrating, show it to other people—you can’t be shy—watch it on your iPad, your computer, your phone, because that’s how they’re going to be watching it.”

BELOW: The Story in Moore's Own Words



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