Thursday, February 26, 2015

Scheduled Blackboard Outage (2-27) - COMPLETED

To resolve an issue Blackboard users may experience a loss of connection or the inability to login between 6 - 7 AM Feburary 26th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

UPDATE: The outage is over and Blackboard is now working normally again. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Best Practices for Using Video in the Classroom

Video is everywhere! This is very evident when you look at statistics on YouTube.  On average there are 1 billion YouTube users in the world.  These users watch about 4 billion videos per day (YouTube, n.d.).  Romanov in 2007 did a study that showed students had higher learning gains in programs that included video compared to programs without video (Romanov, 2007).  Reflecting on experiences, we all have experienced the distraction of videos that are irrelevant, have too much extra information or are too long and boring at some point in our education.  The question is how can video be used to enhance learning.

Here are several recommendations to help you use video effectively in your classroom or online course:

  1. Focus on the key information:  Keep the video focused on one learning objective and make sure information is presented in a way that is clear to the students.  Don’t throw in a lot of extra information because this will distract learners and will stress their working memory capacity (Mayer, 2009).
  2. Use short clips:  Short clips help learners learn from video clips better because they can only process a limited amount of information at once.  Breaking information into multiple short videos also gives the student more control over the speed and repetition of the content (Fujimoto, 2015).
  3. Provide User Controls:  If the video is available to students online, provide users with stop, pause, play, rewind and fast-forward controls. Learners process information differently and providing this option helps them control the speed of the content and easily navigate to portions they need to review.  This helps reduce cognitive load and differentiates for learners who need more time or more repetition to process (Mayer, 2009).
  4. Include narration and pictures:  The Redundancy Principle shows us that learners learn better when information is presented in different channels.  The best format is graphics or animations and narration because learners can process these two inputs together the best.  Pictures and words are both processed with the eyes which makes it more difficult for students to process.  Avoid the “talking head” lecture format.  Seeing the speaker does not add to learning (Mayer, 2009).
  5. Use Signaling: Signaling is when key words or main ideas are highlighted or emphasized in someway so that the learners are signaled of their importance. This can be as simple as underlining a key word or it could highlight or bring forward a specific item on the screen that learners should focus on.  Signaling is most effective when it is used for only key information (Mayer, 2009).  
  6. Use video for demonstrations:  Videos are great for showing students how to do something because it can provide audio and visual information on how learners should move and complete complex procedures.  Good demonstrations break the task into steps that are easy to follow and are available for learners to reference (Fujimoto, 2015).
  7. Use video for complex systems:  Video can show things that are complex and can signal learners to the important aspects.  Examples include human development, body systems or for medical procedures (Fujimoto, 2015).
  8. Respect Copyright and Fair Use: If you use videos from an online source, it is best to get permission to use the resource or to link to it.  You can link to the video in your course.  You should only upload a video in a course that you created or that you own the rights to use in your course (Linking, n.d.).


Fujimoto, Randall. Using video in interactive learning programs.  Shoyu Learning Solutions. Retrieved February 17, 2015, from

Linking to copyrighted materials. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2015, from

Mayer, R. (2009). Multimedia Learning. 2nd Edition. Santa Barbara, CA: Cambridge University Press.
Romanov, K., & Nevgi, A. (2007). Do medical students watch video clips in eLearning and do these facilitate learning? Medical Teacher, 29(5), 490-494.

YouTube stats. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2015, from