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Audio and Video

Communicate Your Ideas Using Audio and Video

Audiofile EngineeringThis section will give you ideas to locate existing media or create your own audio and video. Please take some time to explore these tools, as well as to think about how they might be useful to you. If you are feeling brave, we encourage you to try them out – to do a screen capture or make a video to introduce yourself. Making your own audio or video can be fairly straightforward, and there are lots of freely available tools to use.

To create an audio recording, you need just a computer and microphone (unless you are using a mobile device). Many computers have built-in mics that will do the job, although you may find that investing in an external mic typically improves the sound quality. If you want to do a video recording, you will need a video camera. This could be a simple USB webcam or something more expensive; you can even use your smartphone, together with the tools described in this section.

There are several mobile apps that can be used, instead of using a computer; besides the obvious advantage of being able to record anywhere with limited equipment, the quality of both audio and video recording from mobile devices rivals the quality that can be achieved with traditional computers.

Audio and Video in Teaching and Learning


Using media in learning stems from the idea that all humans have learning styles that are exhibited clearly through the strengths of their "multiple intelligences." Howard Gardner's studies have argued that humans may display strengths in one or more of several intelligences (e.g., visual-spatial, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal).

Utilizing audio in a fully online or blended course can vary. For example:
  • An instructor may record her voice, to give feedback on an assignment. This may be helpful, but written feedback - or feedback typed into files or a gradebook - may be easier to accomplish. Use of audio helps instructors personalize communication; this may be especially helpful with online learners who may have never met the instructor face-to-face.
  • Instructor use of audio feedback in online courses may be an alternative to the heavy text demands.
  • Students can also be encouraged to use the same audio/video tools reviewed here, to respond to assignments or contribute to discussions.
  • Adding audio narration to existing PowerPoint or other standalone "slidedecks" (compilations of slides) can also be a solution for "chunking" content for faculty who have relied on slide presentations for standard lectures. 

What is a "flipped classroom"?
You have probably heard about colleagues who are “flipping their classrooms.” In the original versions of flipping, information typically presented as in-class lecture was put into videos that were assigned as homework; this made more face-to-face class time available for problem-solving, collaboration, and other activities. Since the birth of the model, there have been many variations on this theme. What has been typically retained is that some kind of media supports out-of-class work, to free up valuable in-class time for work beyond the "basics." 

Many instructors record their old lectures via video or audio, but flipping the classroom is more about pedagogy and less about technology. Instead of lecturing in class, the instructor reserves class time for active learning opportunities. These in-class activities have the potential of increasing hands-on, minds-on face-to-face learning by students; in addition, teacher interaction and guidance is more easily delivered. 

Overview of the flipped classroom model by MaDDrawProductions. (3 min)

You do not need be technologically savvy to flip your classroom. In fact, a portion of a flipped session could consist of pages in a book, a journal article, or a few paragraphs written by you, students, or someone else. It could also be video or audio of all or portions of your lectures; however, if you choose this route, you need to ensure that the video or audio is easy to follow and understand. Work assigned for "homework" may also include Internet resources, or even web-based publisher materials.

"Chunking" content is a strategy to increase comprehension. This means that - rather than recording one entire lecture for students to watch in one sitting - you would break it into smaller related chunks. One way to do this is to make an outline of the material that you would like to cover, and put it into the online course management system that you are using. You would also need to write a short introduction to each section, assigning an individual activity to expand on that information, to help facilitate deeper learning. The possible activity options are limitless, including watching a video of a portion of your lecture, watching an online video produced by another source on the topic, reading relevant pages in a textbook, reading a journal article, or using other web-based materials.

How you choose to set up the homework and in-class activities is up to you. The combinations are practically unlimited. The most important point is that the activities match your learning goals and that in-class activities afford time for (a) students to interact and get support; and (b) you to provide needed supports and assess learning. 

Following are some resources to help you understand what it means to "flip" your classroom.

Discovery Resources


Finding Pre-existing Audio and Video Media to Use

A podcast is a series of audio or video files. They are unique because users can subscribe to them, to access "episodes." Podcasts can be accessed from a computer or mobile device. To learn about podcasts, check out this entry about podcasts in Wikipedia. The 5-minute entertaining video Spotlight on Podcasting illustrates nine guidelines for podcast creation in higher education, based on research at University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Are you looking for ways to create podcasts? Check out the links below to get started: 
Podcast Directories 
There are a number of podcast directories that may help you locate podcasts created by others to use in your classes: 
A downloadable application created by Apple, which is the directory most associated with podcasts (iTunes tips for podcast fans).

Apple's iTunes U is is Apple's free service for educational institutions. iTunes U links to a variety of freely available audio and video files posted by educational institutions worldwide. Some schools make iTunes U available to students and faculty; this makes audio and video uploading easy. There are options to make the files public, accessible just within the school, or even course-specific. iTunes U is a great option for maintaining audio/visual course content, as course pages can be created to organize course specific podcasts, lectures, and videos, as well as linked to from a course website. 

Below are some of the most popular iTunes U collections:
Consider these search tools to find music or audio clips to use in your own videos or presentations

Record your own audio

AudioBoo allows you to record, tag, and instantly share audio with the world. You can have free unlimited 3 minute recordings. Sign up, take the tour and download the app, if you want to use your smartphone or tablet.

Next, try recording! You could record a brief lecture, outline how to do an assignment, give feedback, or comment on a reading. You could record yourself giving a lecture, giving a student feedback or reading and commenting from an article. One major advantage of using a service like AudioBoo is that the site hosts the file; once you have uploaded or recorded, you will be able to share its URL easily.

While recording feedback, keep in mind that you should sound informal and warm; in contrast, you would sound less informal when recording a demonstration or lecture. To save time and produce the best results efficiently, write and rehearse your script before recording. If you do this, you will not be searching for words and be creating a podcast with a lot of "umm's or "uh's" in it.

AudacityVisit the Audacity website to download this free software. Click this link to download Audacity. To export in MP3 format, you also need to install the Lame MP3 EncoderView Audacity's Help Pages for introductory tips and tutorials.

Using Audacity's basic features is easy. When you have created a file (and possibly even done some easy editing), you have a number of options for exporting and publishing. Different than tools like AudioB

A few additional audio recording tools include: 

Online video editing tools
Free online video editing tools are increasingly available. WeVideo - Collaborative Online Video Editor in the Cloud is one of the tools that lets you tell your story with video. This online video editing platform is simple to use and also collaborative. 
Windows Movie Maker (WIN) and iMovie (Mac) are basic and easy to use video software tools that you may want to use on your computer. 

If your campus has the latest version of the Blackboard LMS, a new feature called Video Everywhere allows for easy capture of a webcam that posts video directly into your course.

The TOEP Collaborative Spaces section also contains options for recording audio and video.

Consider finding pre-existing video content. Instead of building video, you may wish to find content that you can link to. For example, explore the following as a start:

Screen capture tools allow you to make a video, often narrated, showing how to do something on a computer or tablet. They record your mouse as well as everything you click, showing what appears on your screen. Screen capture is a great way to show students, colleagues, or a wider audience how to use an online tool. Screen capture software lets you take anything you can view on your computer screen and save it as an image or video. Screencasts help you create audio narrated presentations and screen-based tutorials. Screencasts may also be helpful when introducing a new assignment to students.

Check out Screencasting - Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everythingfor helpful info about screencasting, including examples and rubrics. Note: Many institutions may have a video server for uploading screencast videos. Contact your campus' IT department, to examine options. 

Udacity, Khan Academy, and Canvas are just a few of the organizations that offer free and premium online courses of all sizes (including large courses called MOOCS); they often use screencasting to create tutorials and brief lectures.

Jing is a free screen capture tool that allows you to make screenshots or videos that are up to 5 minutes in duration. Jing is a light version of SnagIt and Camtasia software; these premium tools help you take advantage of extra bells and whistles (e.g., advanced editing, adding call-outs, arrows, captions, or to create clips longer clips than the 5-minute limitation allows). TechSmith, the company that owns Jing and Camtasia, does a good job making use of their own tools to create tutorials about how to use their products. Once a recording is created with Jing and uploaded to Screencast.com, you get a private link that can be pasted into your LMS (e.g., Blackboard, Angel, Moodle), or that can be emailed directly to a student. Techsmith limits free storage to 2GB, which is a functional start. Instead of keeping your files at Techsmith, you may alternatively choose to download them. If you run out of storage space, you may download files to make room for new files and re-upload the files next time that you teach the course. Check this site for an extensive list of Jing tutorials. Alternatively, depending on storage through your campus, you may upload them to your LMS or elsewhere.

Publishing your videos and screencasts
Online video hosting sites have exploded in the past several years, allowing users to easily upload and share videos on the web. Video hosting refers to an Internet website service that allows users to upload video clips. Often the best way to begin is put your video on a video hosting site such as YouTube or Vimeo. Once you have uploaded a video, it is easy to grab a code snippet that allows you to embed your file in a blog or on another website. These sites are also great resources to find pre-existing video content to use. Check with your school to determine if the Apple's iTunes U service (described above) is an option for you to host your media files.

Online video hosting and editing tools include the following: 

YouTube continues to be the "top dog," serving 3 billion views a day. YouTube makes it easy to upload video content, and to embed the clips into website, blogs, and learning management systems. Playlists are easily built, as well.

Vimeo is another popular video-sharing website that allows people to upload, share, view, and build playlists.

Note: It is important to consider the accessibility of media resources that you share or create. Ensure that you check out the section on Web 2.0 Accessibility linked to at the bottom of TOEP. One way to create a transcript for your media files is to let the automatic transcriber in YouTube do the work. After YouTube transcribes your video, you may wish to edit the captions, to improve accuracy. You can then copy and paste the resulting text-based transcript almost anywhere.

For more information, use this link to go to the Audio and Video section of the TOEP Resource Library.

Discovery Exercise


Choose either Option 1 or 2 below, depending on your current knowledge/practice and interest. 

Option 1: Explore Audio and Video Sharing Sites

  1. Explore YouTubeVimeo, iTunes U, or another popular video-sharing website; find an education related video. You may also use Google Video, an extensive online video search.
  2. Create a post in the TOEP Google+ Community about your experience. What did you like or dislike about the site and why did you choose the video that you did? Can you see any features or components of the site that might be interesting if they were applied to teaching and collaboration? Remember to add a link to an audio or video you found in your post. 

Option 2: Create Audio or Video 

  1. If you are feeling adventurous, create an audio track. Alternatively, upload some audio/visual content that you already have, by trying YouTube, iTunes U, or another audio/video hosting service
  2. Create a post about how you successfully incorporate audio/visual materials into your class. How does the use of these tools increase collaboration between students and with you as the instructor? Remember to include a link to an audio or video that you have created in your post. 

Now, Request Your Badge!

Complete the badge request form to earn your TOEP Audio/Video Badge. Include the URL (link) for the audio or video file that you shared in your post in the TOEP Community, as detailed above in the Discovery Exercise. 

What Does the Research Say?

Bull, G., Ferster, B., & Kjellstrom, W. (2012). Connected Classroom - Inventing the Flipped Classroom. Learning and Leading with Technology40(1), 10.

Chester, A., Buntine, A., Hammond, K., & Atkinson, L. (2011). Podcasting in education: Student attitudes, behaviour and self-efficacy. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 14(2), 236-247.

Donkor, F. (2011). Assessment of learner acceptance and satisfaction with video-based instructional materials for teaching practical skills at a distance. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 12(5), 74-92.

Fernandez, V., Simo, P., & Sallan, J. M. (2009). Podcasting: A new technological tool to facilitate good practice in higher education. Computers & Education, 53(2), 385-392. 

Greenfield, S. (2011). Podcasting: A new tool for student retention?. Part of special issue: Simulation/Technology, 50(2), 112-114. 

Jarvinen, M. K., Jarvinen, L. Z., & Sheehan, D. N. (2012). Application of core science concepts using digital video: A "hands-on" laptop approach. Journal of College Science Teaching, 41(6), 16-24.

Kay, R, & Kletskin, I. (2012). Evaluating the use of problem-based video podcasts to teach mathematics in higher education. Computers & Education, 59(2), 619-627.

McCullagh, J. (2012). How can video supported reflection enhance teachers' professional development? Cultural Studies of Science Education7, 137-152.

Smyth, R. (2011). Enhancing learner-learner interaction using videocommunications in higher education: Implications from theorising about a newmodel. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(1), 113-127.

Yi He, Y., Swenson, S., & Lents, N. (2012). Online video tutorials increase learning of difficult concepts in an undergraduate analytical chemistry course. Journal of Chemical Education, 89(9), 1128-1132. 

Additional research is information available in the Audio and Video  section of the TOEP Resource Library.

*Note: Access to the research articles may require logging into your campus' library system; alternatively, you may request an article through Inter Library Loan (ILL).