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Video Trends in Academia: Q&A with an Instructional Designer
An instructional designer shares her perspective on how video impacts teaching and learning outcomes.
By Alison Roth
Aura Lippincott, an instructional designer at Western Connecticut State University (and former librarian), spoke to us about the ways students and faculty use video today – and how they can work with their library for improved access to media for teaching and learning.
Aura, what is an instructional designer? It’s a role that more and more schools deem necessary, but outside of education, it may not be a familiar job title.
Aura Lippincott: From my perspective, the role of an instructional designer is to consult and collaborate with faculty to help them design learning experiences that are compelling, engaging, and effective in helping students achieve learning outcomes.
I came to Western Connecticut State to help faculty develop online and hybrid courses and transition to new pedagogical approaches appropriate to these different learning modalities. Many of our discussions center on how media and technology can be used to create learning environments that support student learning, engagement, and success. (You can learn more about instructional design in this report from Intentional Futures.)
What trends have you seen supporting the use of video in education?
AL: Video has a huge impact on education in so many ways, but that’s nothing new – VHS tapes have been played in classrooms for decades! Today, I see three different kinds of video used in learning: produced video (like movies and documentaries), faculty-created video (recorded lectures and lessons) and student-created video. What got me interested in the medium was student-created video. When students started showing up with smartphones, it really opened up the possibility of using video more widely.
What are the benefits of using video in academia?
AL: Multimedia supports rich, immersive stories and allows students to connect emotionally with the content in a way that’s richer than text alone. It engages people in a way that other mediums can’t. It also allows students to review concepts at their own pace – they just need to hit the pause and the back button whenever needed. Now we are also seeing new forms of video emerge, like immersive 360 video, that extend the reach and potential impact of learning experiences.
Video can support learning differences. Although the “learning styles” theory has come into question, students may have differences that impact how they engage with course content. Using all text or all video may shut some students out – so it’s important to think about presenting content in multiple ways.
What are the challenges institutions face in providing video resources?
AL: The first challenge is cost. Everyone has a limited budget. We need to make sure we’re providing affordable options that are high-quality, educational and copyright-compliant. There’s lots of free content out there, but just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean it is OK to use in education.
The second challenge is time and resources. There’s a vast sea of multimedia out there, and everyone is pressed for time. It can be difficult and time-consuming to find content that is high quality and well-aligned to the learning outcomes of a lesson or course.
There’s also the very real danger of video as a passive learning experience, particularly lengthy video lectures. It is important to think about selecting and designing videos that are of reasonable length, with active learning opportunities included. Technology has started to help with the ability to embed quizzes and activities.
And finally, it’s very important to keep accessibility in mind and take steps to ensure that all video content used in courses – regardless of the source – is captioned.
How do you work with librarians to ensure that your faculty has the right video content for their courses?
AL: I have many conversations with faculty about “thinking outside the textbook” and including a mix of content, but I often don’t have the depth of subject-matter knowledge to recommend specific content and sources. I regularly call on my subject-specialist librarian colleagues and ask them to help the professor identify sources of content for his or her course.
Librarians are a key part of the collaborative team that supports teaching and learning on campus. Not only are they content partners, but they are also key partners in teaching students how to find, evaluate and use information. I always recommend that professors start with their librarian for content curation.
Alison Roth is the lead business blogger at ProQuest. A former journalist, she enjoys AP style, direct quotes and a good Oxford Comma debate. She was inspired to become a writer many years ago by Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry, and is still influenced by his style to this day. You can follow Alison on Instagram at @five_speed_