One of the elements I include in my online classes is a short (8 to 10 minutes) introductory video to each Lesson. These are not professionally done (unless you consider me a professional) and seem to be something the online students like. I film them in my garage, so I refer to them as my Garage Lectures. I explain that since I’m retired I don’t have a classroom and my wife won’t let me convert our family room into a studio. I hang an easel pad on the wall and use a couple studio lights, along with the garage lights, to make it bright enough to film with my Canon ZR960 MiniDV.
When I first started filing I just opened the garage doors and filmed in the morning when the sun shone into the garage but there were some incidental sounds like the neighbors cutting grass or cars going down the street. I found in the winter that opening the garage doors was not practical since it was cold. That’s when I started using some inexpensive lighting.
Feedback from students has been very positive. I’ve had comments like, “The intro videos on You Tube were a nice feature because it gave a more depth to the “cold” online class. Plus, it gave the opportunity to meet the instructor.” And “The garage lectures were great. Short and sweet, yet thorough. (I loved the costumes).” And “the lecture videos were excellent and I looked forward to them each week.” Students respond positively to seeing, and having some personalized connection, to their instructor. These short videos allow me to introduce material and give some personality to the class.
Over the next few Blogs I’ll give more details on just how simple it is to create short videos that can be used in online classes. In the meantime, you can view my videos on YouTube. One of my new videos is at http://youtu.be/uEdeZEHw-NE and one of my original videos (you can hear cars going by) at http://youtu.be/7elkR2CDqRs.