Monthly Archives: January 2013

Instructional Television Best Practices

Brief Background

Streaming media technologies allow real-time and asynchronous online dissemination of multimedia. One such streaming media technology, instructional television (ITV), helps deliver educational programs to improve the effectiveness of distance learning. A lingering challenge of turning instructional design and technological processes into sound pedagogical practice is the narrow focus on hardware. The benefits of a technology-rich classroom include increased social interaction, a greater attention to teaching style, and heightened student motivation (Earle, 2002; Tiene & Luft, 2001). By focusing on the interaction between learner, instructor, technology, and spatial context as a dynamic and changing system, it is possible to develop a list of best practices. Below I will focus on best practices for education video streaming, especially ITV.

For Instructors

When designing instructional material for ITV, the challenge is to consider the visual aspects of the medium. Presentation design and organization are key to a successful telepresence learning experience.

Instruction & Interaction
  • Alternate between lecture and discussion regularly during the class.
  • Utilize multiple forms of student interaction: polling, discussing, reading, writing.
  • Reinforce the concepts presented with quizzes, games, and group projects.
  • Engage students with direct questions and reward their contributions to the class.
How to Make Your Presentation Great
  • Less is more. Students need to be able to absorb both the information on the slides and the lecture. Instead of complicated single slides, create multiple slides that each contain a distinct idea or concept.
  • Avoid reading your lecture when possible. Talking directly to the audience is more engaging, especially when dealing with distant learners.
  • Hand gestures and body movements, in moderation, can also make for a more dynamic presentation.
  • Vary your tone of voice and the amount of eye contact with the camera.
  • Keep the lecture area clutter free. Book bags, coats, power cables, loose paper, and open folders can be visual distractions.
  • Similarly, avoid wearing neon colors, bold stripes, bright reds, or elaborate patterned clothing.
  • Practice in front of a mirror or camera if possible before the lecture.
Useful Tools for Your Lectures and Presentations
  • You can search and freely download images, audio, and video for your lectures using Creative Commons search.
  • Resize, crop, and edit images and graphics in browser using pixlr.com.
  • Your presentation should use colors that fit the tone and content of the lecture topic.Adobe Kuler is a great color scheme planner.

For Students

Make Connections
  • Introduce yourself to classmates at your location.
  • Often lectures will be supplemented with additional online materials. Check your email and course site regularly for updates, class notes, and handouts.
  • Show up on time. Participate in class discussion.
Communicate
  • It’s important to make the instructor and other students aware early of technical problems or learning challenges presented by the technology. For example, if the instructor or a classmate is speaking too quietly, ask them to speak up or adjust the microphone.
  • When you are asking or answering a question in an education video streaming environment, sometimes the audio can be heard before the video switches to your location. For this reason, you should first state your name and location (e.g., “Prof. Jones, this is Jennifer in Sugar Land, and I was wondering….”).
Be Courteous
  • Cell phones, even when set to mute or vibrate, will cause audio disturbances during the lecture.
  • Be aware that you can be seen by everyone at the connected receive site(s) and not just the instructor.
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