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 to produce an effective teaching video? Any rule-of-thumb?
There is no specific formula for this. Again, every teacher is different and they have their own unique style of teaching. Be yourself, build your story and build the engagement with your students. Practice, practice, and practice again until you master the set. Watch your own video after you finished the final product and try to take it from the student point of view - if you are the student, would you be inspired, would you learn new things, would that video help to build up your skills and understanding of that particular topic?
The way we suggest to do it:
First, you can simply start by drawing the roadmap for your micro-module video. It acts as a blueprint for your micro-module. For example: for a 3-minute video, you can divide it into the following sections: 15 seconds introduction to the sub-topic, 90 seconds of short explanatory, 30 seconds of example, illustration or application, 15 seconds of closing remarks or summary, 30 seconds of short assessment - two to three questions for recall or a short quiz to measure the students understanding of the topic in your video.
You might think that 180 seconds is a very short video and how we can explain it to the student in that short period of time - again that’s why we call it as micro-module instead of macro-module. Keep it short and simple. Ideally, it would be better to keep it no more than 5-6 minutes per video as (according to an online video research, the viewer retention level would drop significantly after 3 minutes), this is just a guideline and recommendation. If you still think you can’t make them into 5 minutes and you need more, you can always have that option and flexibility as well.
Second, plan the structure of your story and start writing your script. Work together with your instructional designer, screenwriter or even your TAs, share with them – what are your expectations and goals for the video. The instructional designer and screenwriter can help you translate technical language into visual or screen language. We call this as a pre-production stage.
Third, start producing your script, start the recording, and let it roll. Don’t worry about making minor or even lots of mistakes. As the word says, practice makes perfect. From our experience, no one has done it in one single take straight away (except lecture recording – you can’t undo this, unfortunately). So when do we stop? Until you, the teachers, and director are happy with the recording of course. That what we called the production stage.
A teaching video that Rudi is editing
In the last stage, post-production, you get into the final editing of combining together all the selected cut from the recording clips. This includes review and revision where you give comments and feedback to the video editor for refinement and adjustment. Finally, your micro-module video (compiled together with short quizzes as an assessment form) is ready for release to students.