Audio is just as important, if not more important, than the video. Most people are willing to tolerate bad video if there is good audio, but not the other way around. Ecampus has wireless lavaliere mics (the little black mic that clips on to your shirt) that can be checked out with the camera to capture good audio.
2. Consider your Background
What is the background of your video is just as important as the subject of the video. Avoid windows in the background or shooting with the sun at your back. Flip cameras have no control over exposure so they adjust according to the brightest light in the frame. If you are shooting in your office with your back to the window, the camera will adjust to the light outside which will make you, the subject, really dark and underexposed. Also make sure there are no plants, pillars, signs or anything right behind your head or that “split the frame in half”. These are common distractions that pull focus away from the subject
3. Keep the Camera Steady
Handheld, shaky, video is very distracting. If you have a tripod, use it. Ecampus has small, desktop tripods, which work well for placing the camera on a table or shelf.
4. Here is a link to the OSU guidelines on shooting video http://oregonstate.edu/brand/video-best-practices
There are many ways to get engaging discussions started in a discussion board, but my favorite is to have students make something to share with their classmates as discussion starters. The tools students can use to create many types of presentations have become incredibly powerful and easy to use. These tools range from the more traditional presentation tools such as Prezi and Google Presentations (part of Google Drive) to the more creative such as slideshows in Vuvox or Animoto, interactive digital posters such as Pinterest or Padlet, animated cartoons with Go!Animate, or digital multimedia timelines with myHistro. Having students create things to share with classmates leverages the “write” part of the read/write web (also called web 2.0) to turn students into producers of content rather than consumers of content. This also creates a greater sense of student ownership of their own learning, especially when they are free to select the tool with which to create their discussion starter. Best of all, it reduces the likelihood that after half of the class has posted their thoughts in the forum everyone else struggles to come up with something new to say—usually ending up saying exactly the same thing with different paraphrasing. The accessibility of Web 2.0 tools varies. Giving students a choice of tools to use is a recommended approach; instructors seeking to create content for online courses should consult with Ecampus for recommendations about accessible tools.
Here is an example of what a typical set of assignment instructions might say: Part 1: Create a presentation addressing your assigned topic using Prezi, Google Presentation, or Vuvox. Part 2: Post a link to your presentation in the discussion board by clicking “Create Thread”. (Due Wednesday of week 1) Part 3: Read at least 5 classmates’ presentations and give in-depth responses. Respond to classmates’ presentations which have the fewest responses. (Due Friday of week 1) Part 4: Read the responses you received from your classmates and reply to each one. (Due Saturday of Week 1)
Do you find yourself typing the same thing over and over?
Do those fingers and wrists hurt after typing the same comment on every student paper?
I’ve got a solution for you!It doesn’t matter if you are a Mac or a PC, you can find a program to create shorter statements for you to type and have your computer input the entire comment for you.
For Mac users, aText ($5 after free trial) allows you to create a typed code of your choice in order to input a longer statement.For example, you choose to type “zzchoice” and the program would put in “I like your choice of voice here.I can hear that you have thought about the content and used the knowledge in order to form your response.”This allows you to give expanded feedback to students in their papers without typing that same statement 30 times.This program runs in all applications as well, making email responses quick as lightning too!
Just think of the possibilities for the time you can save with a text expander program!
Are you looking for a new way to engage your online students without leaving your Blackboard course site? Consider using a wiki, blog, or journal! Wikis allow your students to collaborate on a single document within Blackboard and you are able to track their participation. This is a great tool for brainstorming, collecting research, or producing a student-created FAQ or glossary.
A blog is meant to be a place where students can post their opinions or climb on a ‘virtual soapbox’ and deliver a message. There are opportunities for others to comment, but the focus is on the initial posts and what the student had to say.
A journal is usually intended to be used as a private space for reflection. It is a space that can only be ‘written’ on by the student and the instructor, although you can control whether the rest of the class can read each others’ journals or not.
Sometimes using a different tool for a week or two gives the students a break from the traditional discussion board routine – -and that in itself can improve student engagement in a class. Instructions for setting up a wiki, blog, or journal are found here.
You or your students might encounter a bug when playing Adobe Presenter lectures where the audio track will not produce any sound or “No Audio” will be displayed. Try re-installing flash and playing the lecture again, if that does not prove success then try this workaround:
Open up a youtube video on a new window.
Play the youtube video.
Now reload the Adobe Presenter lecture, audio should now be playing.