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4.3 Preparing and rehearsing your video before recording

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A very common method of creating lecture content it to record what is happening on your computer screen. This could be a powerpoint presentation, a coding environment, a web tour, or anything that is relevant to your learning objectives.

Before you begin, and this means well before you sit down to record a new piece of content, there are a few things that will save you some time and help you create great content.

Define your learning objectives

Write these from the learner's point of view - what will they be able to do once they've participated in your learning module or watched this video? You can include this orally and visually, by preparing text content and then reviewing them at the start of your video.

Prepare an outline

While your lecture need not be fully scripted, it is extremely helpful to have an outline. This way, even before you begin, you can ensure that you are meeting your learning objectives.

It is encouraged that you maintain your personality while you are recording your lectures. Don't be afraid to venture a touch off course, as long as it is useful. On the flip side, don't just read your Powerpoint presentation either.

Rehearse your Content

The more preparation you put into your content, the more effective it will be. While there is never the expectation of perfection - this can be a natural, organic process - you do want to be organized and professional. Rehearsing can help you work out any kinks - is there an area that is unclear? Does the content flow well? Is the content clear and concise? Is how long you think it will take actually how long it takes?

Practicing should include both your verbal component and the visual component. You might know what you'd like to say, but saying it at the same time as navigating your computer applications might take a bit of time to perfect.

Introduce the lecture

In point form, articulate what this video will be about. An ideal video length is 5-7 minutes, which only gives you enough time to cover a few concepts. Articulating your introduction can help you ensure that your planned content will be of appropriate length.

Summarize your main points frequently

Unlike in a classroom, there's no visual indication or feedback from the students about how they are doing. In order to assist with comprehension and to increase clarity, it works well if you repeat your main concepts clearly and often. This will also reassure your learners that they are following along and are focused on the right pieces of information.

Tips and Tricks

Creating online content is a time intensive process. Not only are you re-thinking your content, and how to teach it, you're often faced with a multitude of new technical tools. In order to maximize your time invested, you want to create high quality content that can be re-used year to year. Things to keep in mind to make this happen:

  1. Do not reference the Course Title, Course Section, or any other identifying course details: Doing so limits the re-use of the video because it is so specifically embedded within that one course.
  2. Do not number your video order: Doing so makes it more difficult to add in new videos (it will disrupt the order) or to re-use your videos in other courses. You might, in the future, want to use only a few videos versus your entire set, or perhaps a fellow instructor wants to use your content in their course.
  3. Do not reference current events: While making jokes and being yourself are highly encouraged, it's best to not date your videos by referencing current events (say, a great Jays season).

Go for it!

At the end of the day, this is your content! Work on a design and process that you're excited to get working on. If you're strong in front of the camera, use that! If you have a great hand for drawing, use that! Play to your strengths, don't be afraid to make a mistake, and always, always test using a 30s video before you record something longer (you want to make sure your audio and video are recording properly!).

Previous Article 4.2 Consider using a video template
Next Article 4.4 Select between full or partial screen recording
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