Informal Videos: One Approach to Humanizing ERT

In a recent CTL blog post, authored by Kelby Hahn, she discussed ways to invite social connection in Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) using videos. She also shared many great 20 Minute Mentor videos that provide support in the creation and dissemination of them. Many of the ideas shared are also relevant to the work I’ve been doing as I recently presented a workshop for Faculty Affairs, Fostering a Culture of Care.

In my presentation, I spoke about the importance of Humanizing ERT. We know from research, that the facilitation of instructor-student interactions is the feature that most influences online student performance. Keeping in mind that teaching and learning are inherently social acts it is important to be present and show your true self even when teaching remotely. In fact, it is even more important to be intentional about your presence online than in face-to-face contexts. Further, it is even more critical for students to hear and see you during this global pandemic.

In particular, the use of informal videos helps students perceive you as a “real” person and will add authenticity and personalization to their experience. Informal videos can be used to: introduce yourself, your course, a new module, and weekly content. They can be used to tell a story, provide feedback, summarize learning, and remind students of upcoming activities and due dates. Not to mention, if you’ve never created course content videos, informal videos are a great way to start small.

While prepping for my workshop, I learned about and created a Video Postcard. A Video Postcard can be used to send a random good morning message, tell students a story about you, or share a bit about an adventure you are on. While none of us are traveling beyond our own living rooms right now, consider using your phone to record yourself checking in with your students from your kitchen or while walking your dog. Be authentic — let them see where you are and what your day is like.

Since informal videos are used only once lower quality video is fine. This means it is appropriate to use your smartphone or webcam to record them. You might consider writing a script but since these are casual 1-minute videos, an outline may be all you need.

Feel free to check out the Video Postcard I shared below. Also, check out the website I created to view the Fostering a Culture of Care webinar, practice creating a Video Postcard, and to find additional resources. If you are enjoying the 20 Minute Mentor Series, I highly recommend viewing, What Are the Secrets to Making Highly Effective Educational Videos? And of course, don’t forget to connect with us here at CTL if you would like a personal consultation to further explore intentional ways to humanize your course.

Borup, J., West, R. E., & Graham, C. R. (2012). Improving online social presence through asynchronous videoThe Internet and Higher Education15(3), 195-203.

Creating & Cultivating Relationships,

Jaggars, S. S. & Xu, D. (2016). How do online course design features influence student performance?Computers & Education95, 270-284.

Pacansky-Brock, Michelle & T&L Innovations. How to humanize your online class.

Brooke Howland

Brooke Howland is the associate director of the CTL at OSU. She received her B.A. and M.A. in Elementary Education and ESL from the University of Northern Colorado and earned her Ed.D. in Teacher Education in Multicultural Societies from the University of Southern California. Her scholarly expertise is in teacher development and curriculum design. Prior to working at OSU, Dr. Howland taught at USC, UCI, and currently teaches at UCLA.

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