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In-person to Online - Additional Information

by Fabiana Cardetti and Amit Savkar

Here we provide more details on what it takes to make a video. As we mentioned in the main article, it is not necessary to use state of the art technology to prepare a Micro-video. You will need a quiet place with good lighting, a blackboard or a white board, a digital camcorder, and a movie editor.

For example, one could use a hand-held Cannon Vixia HF R100. This is a standard/high definition camera that records in MPEG4-AVC format. This has a USB terminal which helps directly transfer your recorded files to your computer. Once you have the file on your computer you may want to review the file for its audio and video quality. We have found iMovie software with Macintosh operating system to be extremely useful in terms of its video editing features. We have used iMovie to enhance the quality of the audio and to cut the parts of video that were unnecessary such as idle time or bloopers. The time taken to carry out the editing process depends on how well prepared you were at the time of videotaping. If you did a good job at the blackboard, then editing can take only 15 minutes.

In our experience it took a couple of tries to get a good product at first. Thus, we strongly recommend that you start by videotaping yourself explaining a simple 5-minute example. This will allow you to focus on the video quality rather than on the specific material. You should observe the same teaching practices you use in the classroom. That is, do not speak to the board, speak loudly, do not cover the writing with your body, present the material in an organized way, and so on. As you watch your first attempt, be sure to check on (a) sound clarity (audible, clear, distance from camera, microphone), (b) lighting on the board and on you (watch out for glares!), and (c) readability of your writing (distance from camera). Once you are satisfied with your 5-minute video it is best to show it to colleagues and students for feedback.

In our experience, once the initial challenge of choosing the appropriate content is taken care of, the making of the videos is a smooth process. Each 10-minute video can take anywhere from one hour to 3 hours. This includes the time to get the equipment set and everything ready to record (pre-processing), and the time to edit the video and make it ready for streaming (post-processing).

We have used a SMART board and have been very satisfied with the quality of the end product. If this technology is available at your institution, we recommend you try it, but it is not necessary for the success of this teaching practice.

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