Active Teaching Lab Recap: Media — 10 Ways to Teach Better with It

Wed February 3, 2021

Theme of February 3, 2021 Lab

Media — 10 ways to teach better with it: Present content in ways that are more effective, digestible, and easier for learners (and you) to assess.


GET STARTED: 10 tips

  1. Keep it short to reduce cognitive load and attention lapses, and simplify content revision and updates. Use four 5-min videos rather than a 20-minute one. If longer, organize it with Chapters and Slides to increase viewers’ agency to navigate content.
  2. Use a microphone: Audio quality is far more important than video quality. Even the microphone on a cheap headset is better than the one built into your laptop.
  3. Show your personality in audio and video you add to Canvas. Humor, self-disclosure and sharing your experiences and stories helps students connect with the content and with the instructor. (And let, but don’t require, students show theirs!)
  4. Incorporate outside resources with expert presentations and/or educational videos. Consider the plethora of resources available through UW Libraries and the internet more broadly before you re-create everything new, there is a lot of good information out there already; you just have to locate it and provide access (or have your students curate it!) 
  5. Add captions and subtitles to videos for increased accessibility (required by UW-Madison policy for all non-text web elements). 3Play and CaptionSync are university-approved captioning vendors. Add for Youtube, Google Slides, Powerpoint.
  6. Add interactive knowledge checks via Canvas Quizzes, in Kaltura, or with H5P to help self-assess learning in real-time.
  7. Have students curate or create video examples or explanations of course content (this is a form of elaborative interrogation — excellent learning for students, and, when shared, their peers). This also helps you understand their learning process. 
  8. Use often: Because of the pandemic, the landscape of teaching has shifted. More and more will be online, set up for flexible access. The more you increase your media skills, the better (easier/effective) your instruction will be. Practice.
  9. Try new ways to utilize video. Provide demonstrations, walkthroughs, and virtual tours. Create asynchronous weekly videos guiding students through the course content, clarifying assignments, and summarizing the main points. Video while walking!
  10. Provide alternatives wherever possible. Be considerate of learners’ different levels of access to high speed internet. If you conduct live courses, record (and chunk!) them for students who can’t attend. Supplement videos with readings. 

GET BETTER: 5 Tips to Improve your video game (5:37 video) from David Macasaet

  1. Consider Media Engagement: Understand that student interest quickly falls off. Keep videos short and make your most important points first.
  2. Pre-Visualize: Plan out what you’ll present. Try designing with a thumbnail template (Template 1, Template 2)
  3. Keep a Media Portfolio: Gather together the media that you use into one place so you can see/reflect on how it fits together, and can constantly learn from and improve on your past work.
  4. Optimize Metadata: Choose thumbnail images, titles, and descriptive text that conveys and reinforces the primary concepts that you’re trying to convey through the media.

Review Media Analytics: Dig into the most well-received ones and analyze what worked, and why. What didn’t work in the less well-received media?

To learn more and discover new resources, visit the session’s activity sheet.


Find out more about Active Teaching Labs here.