Rudi editing a teaching video in his office
Introduction: There has been an increasing usage of online micro-modules to assist teaching in universities. The micro-modules are parts of the teaching content and usually involve videos to help deliver complex concepts. We have interviewed Mr. Rudi Chow from the Faculty of Engineering Media Studio of CUHK to share his experience of producing micro-modules and teaching videos.
Q - The KEEP team
A - Mr. Rudi Chow, Faculty of Engineering Media Studio, CUHK
Q: How many teaching videos and micro-modules have you produced?
A: So far we have produced over 50 micro-module videos from 9 engineering foundation courses that join together under the faculty umbrella TDLEG micro-modules production and management project.
Q: How long does it take to produce a teaching video?
A: It all depends on the topic and the style of the micro-module. You can produce a video within just a day or even can be up to three months for one 2D animation video with 5 minutes’ duration. Yes, that’s true, three months and we have received a very good and positive feedback about the quality of the final result following those long hours of production.
Actually, the teachers decide for themselves how much time they would like to spend to produce all those micro-module videos and the kind of style they would like to present the subject. The variations include simple PPT or slideshow recording, lecture videos, lab demo, virtual or graphic presentations, screen recording, 2D or 3D animations, video blog, simulations, music videos and short feature film, etc. They decide the style that would be best for their topic and audience.
Teaching with animations
Tips: choose a style that follows and in-line with your personality and in which you are naturally confident presenting. It would affect the production process in terms of time-saving, the development, the effectiveness of the micro-module and the final result. Don’t choose a video blog style if you are not confident talking in front of a camera. However, teachers can also develop that act and skill for them to be able to speak effectively in front of the camera. Every teacher is unique and they have their own style of teaching. They can start and build their micro-module presentation style from there. They can also watch others’ video as a reference so to gain some ideas. Be creative, be unique, be you and be confident about it.
For example, one programming teacher loves to use humour and illustrations in his or her class. The teacher can develop a comedian-animation style of micro-module in explaining one key concept of basic programming.
Teaching in creative ways
Q: What do teachers need to prepare before producing the video?
A: From the very beginning, the teachers need to have a clear objective of what they would like to achieve from the video – how and what they would like the students to learn from it. It’s a video about one particular part or sub-topic. It is called micro-modules for a reason, it’s not to replace or put the entire course in one video. Well, you can, and you end up with over 2 hours of video. That would be a “Module-wood” style feature film instead of a micro-module video.
Directing learners to another micro-module
The focus and the priority here should go towards the improvement of student’s learning in-class and outside the class. How are they going to benefit from the micro-modules? Could watching micro-modules be included as a contributing factor to their academic performance? Would in-class discussion and activities (teaching & learning process) become more effective after the students watch the video? Instead of a traditional teaching presentation, what kind of method and type of micro-module video can be used to explain one particular engineering concept in a meaningful, inspiring and attractive way for students?