How do I deliver my lecture online?

There are three main video communication technologies being used to support online classes, video and web conferencing and webinars:

Delivering a lecture online

Using Universal Capture, you can record a screen capture and/or webcam to create a video to replace your lecture. For the best student experience, we suggest you:

  • Break up your lecture into small 5-10-minute video and/or audio recordings
  • Create a combination of small videos, audio recordings, readings and online activities to replace your lecture. See the advice below for the steps to achieve this.

Breaking up your lecture into a series of activities

Understanding the lecture

Firstly, we invite people to stop and reflect on the lecture as a format. While there may be as many lecturing styles as there are lecturers, if you bring to mind your favourite lecturer, they probably use a wide range of approaches to keep their lectures lively. This may involve a dynamic mix of presentation, demonstration, critical viewing, anecdote, discussion, collaboration and problem-solving activities – and even the odd joke and anecdote.

When trying to convert material from a live lecture to a pre-recorded video, the results are often underwhelming, and the student is presented with a playlist of overly long narrated slideshows, with none of the variety of a good lecture.

Unbundling your lecture

One way we help teachers to overcome this is to encourage them to break down the lecture into chapters, map these chapters to a variety of easy to produce video styles, then intersperse these chapters with alternative activities to create a module.

If you have access to a prior lecture capture recording, you can get a head start by accessing an automatic transcription. This should help you identify the logical breaks, and can give you a head-start when it comes to scripting. Find out more about automatic transcription in Lecture Capture.

An example of remapping your lecture in a series of activities

Let’s take a hypothetical example of a 90 minute lecture on the history of art. The typical lecture involves:

  • 10 minutes of subject updates and housekeeping
  • 40 minutes dedicated to the introduction of key ideas historical context for the week
  • 10 minute break
  • 10 minute detailed analysis of 4 famous works of art, accompanied by high resolution images
  • 20 minute Q&A with students to finish.

How would we translate this to an online format?

1. Recording an introduction

When moving this content online as pre-recorded video, we first take out all housekeeping and present it as LMS text so that it can be easily updated. Next, we plan a topic introduction video – presented directly to the web camera – and embed that in our module to set the context for the week. Read some advice on how to self-record a great introductory video.

2. Creating a reading activity

After that, we might insert an active reading activity. Readings can be made available to students through Readings Online. Students should know what they need to read, when they need to read it by, and why. This can be well contained in a reading guide, and you can make the activity more active by including activities that involve Perusall, Feedback Fruits Interactive Document assignments, Canvas discussions or quizzes etc.

3. Recording a discussion video

Next, we might want to map part of our lecture content to a discussion or interview video. A recorded interview can be great way to expand on a topic, and to interrogate newly introduced concepts from a range of angles. If you’re having trouble finding a suitable interviewee, you could even arrange for someone to interview you. Learning Environments have put together a technical guide showing you how to record and embed an interview using Zoom.

4. Creating a discussion activity

After a pre-recorded discussion video, you might want to insert a discussion activity for students, and explicitly link it to the content that has been covered in your introduction video, reading activity and video discussion. More about discussion and chat tools for teaching and learning.

5. Recording a narrated video

For the second half of our lecture, the image-led nature of the content suggests a series of short, narrated videos – one for each artwork – would suit. There are multiple tools available for recording narrated image or slide shows, but the simplest might be to use the Lecture Capture tool, Echo Personal Capture. Read these instructions on recording a narrated slideshow using Echo.

6. Creating a quiz activity

It’s often good to tie together the individual learning activities within a module with a quiz activity, and Learning Environments has collated advice on different digital assessment tools for use during semester.

7. Tying it all together

During the process of rethinking our lecture, we have taken a 90 minute classroom performance, unbundled the concepts and contents of the lecture, created three pre-recorded videos using three simple to produce formats, and interspersed three activities using tools in the LMS.

Our final advice is to (re) discover the narrative from your lecture. A well-designed online module should flow from activity to activity, and good design can really help keep momentum and cohesion for your students. Read some great advice on organising and adding structure to your LMS content.

For further advice on creating great videos, see create your own professional video.

For advice on re-using re-using lecture videos from previous years, see advice for online and flexible learning.

The following guides will take you through recording your videos and audio using Universal Capture and editing them from Lecture Capture plus embedding them in your LMS subject.