101 Tips for Creating Simple and Sustainable Educational Videos

A Guide for Online Teachers and Flipped Classes

February 2020
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing, LLC
  • ISBN 9781642670851
  • Language English
  • Pages 240 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
February 2020
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  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing, LLC
  • ISBN 9781642670844
  • Language English
  • Pages 240 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
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February 2020
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing, LLC
  • ISBN 9781642670868
  • Language English
  • Pages 240 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
February 2020
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing, LLC
  • ISBN 9781642670875
  • Language English
  • Pages 240 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"

The research is clear: online learning works best when faculty build regular, positive, and interactive relationships with students. A strategy that helps forge such a relationship is the use of videos. Student satisfaction and course engagement levels also increase with the use of instructor-generated videos – the subject of this book. 

Beginning by outlining the different types of videos you can create, and what the research says about their effectiveness, Karen Costa explains how they can be designed to reinforce learning, to align with and promote course outcomes, and to save you time across your courses. She then describes how to create successful videos with commonly available technologies such as your smartphone, and without a major investment of time, demonstrating the simple steps she took to develop her bank of videos and build her confidence to deliver short, straightforward learning aids that are effective and personal.

If you’ve been wanting to include videos in your teaching but haven’t found the time or confidence, this book will help you to develop a simple and sustainable video development process, supporting both your success and the success of your students.


1. Current Landscape of Online Education

  • Huge and sustained growth
  • Mixed outcomes pointing to a need for a focus on online pedagogy and teaching strategies
  • Support for online faculty
    • Online learning is often treated as an afterthought

2. Why I Wrote This Book

  • My online teaching and video creation journey
  • My belief in the power of online learning
  • Access and success
  • My passion for faculty success
  • Faculty success in its own right
  • Goal of quality online education

3. Prioritizing Accessibility

  • Including in the introduction because it’s critically important
  • Best bet: consult with your institution’s accessibility office first
  • The system I recommend will include a simple method for adding captions
  • References for UDL

4. Consult with Your Team

  • Who are the stakeholders on your campus who might be invested in your video creation plan?
  • How can you harness support for your videos?
  • Investigating institutional norms and policies on video development
 Section 1: Why Videos Will Work for You

1. Be part of a movement to improve online education

2. Recognize your power. (Teachers matter in online learning)

3. Build relationships with your students

4. Make students happy (Include my own experiences with student feedback on videos)

5. Have fun (I enjoy making videos and being creative)

6. Get connected (How video decreased my own isolation as I connect with my students)

7. Save time (Decrease FAQ emails)

8. Build students’ self-efficacy (teach them to fish)

9. Better understanding of course concepts (Teaching content in mini-lectures)

 Section 2: Supporting Instructional Goals with Videos

10. Determine instructional goals

11. Three goals: Humanity, instruction, clarification

12. Show your humanity

13. Explaining a concept

14. Clarify a task or navigation

15. Tell a story

16. Mini-lectures

17. Course module tours

18. Graphic organizers to show connections b/t ideasSection 3: Guiding Theories & Research

19. COI-Community of Inquiry

20. Validation Theory (Rendon)

21. Brain-Based Teaching (Medina and Hardiman)

22. Aesthetic Usability Effect

23. Fear Factor (relational versus professorial model of Rebecca Cox)

24. Emotions (Jill Bolte Taylor, Antonio Damasio, Sarah Rose Cavanagh)

25. Summarize current research on videos

26. Suggestions for future research

Section 4: Which Type of Video Will Work Best for You?

27. Keep it simple (Many edtech products, but simple is often most sustainable)

28. You aren’t a Hollywood director (conference story)

29. Satisficing (Focusing on what will work, not the ideal)

30. Making decisions (Think about what type(s) of videos you want to create)

31. Headshot videos

32. Webcam or phone?

33. Screencasts

34. Combining screencasts and headshots

35. Field trips

Section 5: Video Timing and Course Placement

36. Course announcements

37. Emails

38. Discussions

39. Within course content/modules

40. On the fly (to address a course wide concern or learning gap)

41. Individual students in need (can be personalized or open to all students)

42. Video responses to papers/discussions (I don’t do this as it breaks my simple and sustainable rule but you might)

Section 6: Creating a Video

43. Don’t use a script

44. Don’t read off a PPT

45. Make eye contact

46. Keep screen level with your face

47. Don’t let the camera eat your energy

48. Don’t be too specific (Make it sustainable, avoid holiday or weather talk)

49. Use a microphone (earbuds work great)

50. Find decent lighting

51. What’s behind you?

52. Time on Task (Stay under 10 minutes, Ideally less than 5)

53. Brush your hair (Considering the time investment in being on camera)

54. Plan extra time at first

55. Reduce background noise (dogs, phones, trucks, family)

56. Tell students how long the video will be

57. Tell students the content and how the video will help them (relevance)

58. Break some eggs (Mistakes are okay so just keep going)

59. Model and own your mistakes (Show students how to handle a mistake)

Section 7: Using PowerPoint in Your Videos

60. Death by PPT

61. Telling isn’t teaching

62. Neuroscience of PPT

63. Presentation Zen

64. Use images

65. Limit text

66. One idea per slide

67. Create speaker’s notes

68. Use structured notes/handouts esp. for longer videos with more complex ideas and for newer learners

Section 8: Is Video for Everyone?

69. The wool sweater test, how uncomfortable are you on camera?

70. Practice makes perfect

71. If you still look like a deer in the headlights, it’s okay

72. Consider Alternatives

73. Try Screencasts with audio only

74. Animation Options (Powtoon)

Section 9: Sharing the Video with Your Students

75. Use your LMS (Many LMS allow you to record basic headshots and post in the LMS)

76. Use YouTube (At print, you cannot record in YT any longer. You record elsewhere and upload to YT. iMovie is fairly complex. I previously recommended that you record through YouTube Webcam Capture but you can’t anymore.)

77. My Current Simple & Sustainable Recommendation (All video types: my current recommendation: Screencast-o-matic. Free version allows for everything you’ll need.)

Section 10: Building Your Video Creation Practice

78. Develop a plan

79. Prioritize-what are your main goals?

80. Humanize (story type connection videos)

81. Inform (improve understanding of course content)

82. Clarify (help students to navigate your course, first year teacher)

83. Keep it simple

84. Start with a welcome video

85. Begin by identifying two or three spaces in the course where a video might best serve you and your students

86. Build on Your Base (You could have one type of each video in each module of your course)

Section 11: How Face-to-Face Professors and Teachers Can Use Videos

87. Flipped Learning (Lecture Video-Classroom is for active learning)

88. Snow days

89. Sick days

90. Mid-term or final review

91. Welcome week

92. Online handshake

93. Get their attention


Karen Costa

Karen Costa has over fifteen years of higher education experience and formerly served as the Director of Student Success at Mount Wachusett Community College. She is a national presenter on brain-based teaching and learning through the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD). Karen is currently an adjunct faculty member teaching college success strategies to online students at multiple institutions. She is also involved in various faculty development initiatives including as a facilitator for Faculty Guild. She regularly presents on topics related to student and faculty success.

Karen is a staff writer for Women in Higher Education. Her writing has also appeared in Inside Higher Education, Philadelphia Inquirer, On Being, and Faculty Focus. Karen graduated with honors from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She holds a Master of Education in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership from Northeastern University. A proud lifelong learner, Karen will complete her Certificate in Neuroscience, Learning, and Online Instruction from Drexel University in 2020. Karen is also a certified yoga teacher and Level 1 Yoga for Arthritis teacher. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.

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