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Using Video for Class Material
Video, along with audio, slideshows, presentations, and text, has its place in the learning environment. This module will give an overview of what needs to be done to begin including video sources in the online classroom.
(It does not address the inclusion of preproduced, copywritten video. Republishing video to which you do not own the copyright is possible, but more complicated. Contact the Staff Resource Center staff for more details.)
With the growing popularity of online classes, and competition amongst the schools providing them, full-screen video and audio is becoming more commonplace. Using low cost equipment and Gavilan's studio or classrooms, you can begin producing video lectures, demonstrations or tours with very little overhead.
Among your options for creating video is the low-cost consumer digital camera. In recent years, even inexpensive models are capable of creating acceptable video for posting online. This is possible because online video doesn't have to be as high-quality, as say, a blockbuster DVD. Due to the fact that the video will be compressed and sent over the internet, you can get away with less than TV quality video without looking amatuer.
Some examples of equipment that can be used for creating classroom videos are:
Tips for shooting video: Planning, planning, planning! Look at your setting, and imagine how you want the end result to look. Compose your shots. If there are "talking heads", leave the right amount of room around them so they don't look cramped or off-balance.
Pay attention to lighting. Either use natural sunlight on a good day, or make sure the room is well-lit from all directions. Consider trying out a few locations. Good lighting is one of the secrets of the pros. Pay attention to it for a high-quality result.
Hold the camera still. Better yet: don't hold it, let the tripod hold it. Every camera has a way to mount on a tripod. In a pinch, you can even set it down on a pile of books after you set up your shot. Jerky (handheld) video is distracting and even a little nauseating. Let your audience focus on the content, not the delivery.
Practice. Your 2nd try will be better than your first, and your 10th session will be better still! Don't give up. Like any new skill, learning video production takes time and patience.
You have many options once you have created video material for a class. Hopefully, over time, you can utilize more and more of these options to actually deliver video to your audience. Some people might prefer getting material online; others: by dvd, and others might be most likely to watch scheduled airings on the GavTV cable network.
This module will demonstrate uploading your completed video file to a third-party media sharing website, http://blip.tv This method has the advantage of being relatively simple and resulting in video that can be viewed around the world and around the county.
Get an account: If you don't have one already, sign up for an account at http://blip.tv. (or a similar media-sharing site). You'll need to decide on a username / account name, set up a password, and familiarize yourself with the site's options and environment.
Upload your first video: Once your account is created, and (perhaps) activated by responding to an email sent to you by the service, you will have the option of uploading your video.
Get familiar with your new account: Your account should provide you with a personal page listing your uploaded items, and their status. (You should see, for example, how many people have watched each video.) The status page should also have various links to each video, to upload new videos, and a variety of other options. It is a good idea to bookmark this page for future access. Hopefully you'll be using it often!.
Find the large "Upload" button on your account page. This should lead you to a page for creating a new video posting. You'll want to title your video and add a useful description. One button, labeled "Browse.." or "Choose video file..." will allow you to find and select the actual video file on your own computer.
Once you have selected the actual video, and added all the tags, descriptions and other "meta" information, you can begin the process of uploading. Typical video files can be hundreds of megabytes in size, and should therefore take more than a few minutes to upload to the site. Leave the page open while this process takes place. The page should give you some feedback as to how long it will take. Don't be surprised if it takes 30 minutes or more! Leave the page open the whole time.
When the entire video file is uploaded, the website will take some time to do the next site, which is to compress and convert your file to the optimum format and size to be broadcast on the web. This will happen without your intervention -- it should take anywhere from 10 minutes to a day or so, depending on how busy the site is.
After a while, your video will be available for viewing on the web. Your account page should now have a link to it. Note that each video you upload will be given its own web page, with it's own web address. At this point, you can link to or email this address to start publicizing your video.
To create an even more seamless experience for your class / audience, you can "embed" your video into a web page or forum post within your online class. This will allow a viewer to simply click the "play" button on a class web page and sit back and watch!
To embed a video, navigate to the video's web page. Look for references for an "embed code". What you are looking for is a chunk of HTML (with inscrutiable brackets and code). You'll want to highlight and copy that code.
Once your embed code is copied, it is time to paste it somewhere in your online class. You can create a new web page (via the Add a Resource... menu) or a new forum post.
Add whatever text and titles you'd like on your post, introducing the video and giving instrustions. When you are ready, find the "Edit HTML" button (on the far right of the post's button bar). Click it, and watch your beautiful post turn into a jumble of brackets and code (this is HTML markup language) Put your cursor in the part of the post that you'd like the video to appear, and paste the "embed" code from the previous step there.
Click the "Save" or "Post" button to complete your new page. Now is the time to visit your new page and test everything! Look to see that the video appears and plays correctly. Make sure you can get to the video page from your main classroom page. Does your embedded video have a "fullscreen" button? It is usually one of the options you can choose before you copied the embed code earlier. Finally, do your introduction and instructions make sense to the students who will eventually be using it? Is it clear whether this activity is optional or required, and what steps / assignments / discussion they should do after watching?