What do you need in a video lecture? A thread of provocations, by me. First, here's what you don't need: new camera, new microphone, new lighting, new software. You can make EXCELLENT class videos using consumer-grade tools you already have. 1/
You know what else you don't need? A lecture, actually. Lectures project the human voice to a crowded room full of synchronous learners. A video is an intimate interpersonal communication, that happens to be "broadcast" but is experienced as from-me-to-you. 2/
In a lecture hall, we lecture because we have to: we talk loud, and slow, and show slides or write on the board so that 40-200ppl can follow along for 50-80 minutes. In a video, we don't have to do those things because the context is different. 3/
In a video, we can use our quiet voices. We can make facial expressions. We can lean in and sit close. We can do one minute or five minutes or 20 minutes or whatever. It's more like office hours than a lecture. 4/
In a lecture, students have to sit there the whole period and that's how we plan. On video, students can watch wherever and whenever for however long. Plan for THAT instead. 5/13
What you need in your video, then is: connection, intimacy, brevity, and the scale of office hours. Use your web cam. Sit close. Make eye contact with the camera. Talk, don't read. That's to start. 6/13
Connection: I'm making my videos one at a time, as the term proceeds, and in response to student questions. That way the videos feel real and fresh and relevant, and not like something canned. I respond to the students who have to watch them. They feel engaged. 7/13
Intimacy: A lot of people will watch these on their phones. Their tiny phones. Put your face close to the camera. A mid-shot is not going to work here, it's too small. Intimacy just means "closeness" here. Get closer. 8/13
Office hours: Imagine you have a student in your office, asking you to explain what's the difference between literary and rhetorical genres. The way you would answer? That's your video "lecture" on genre. Short, direct, personal. 9/13
More of what you don't need: Stock images, stock video footage, decorative video effects. None of these are semantic and thus they are distracting, like icing on a turd. If your video is not interesting, a royalty-free music track overlay is not going to help. 10/13
Even more of what you don't need: Fancy anything. If you are afraid your video is boring, make it less boring, don't make it more fancy. Make it shorter. Improve your delivery. Get closer. Make a joke. 11/13
If you have to make powerpoint lecture videos: do you really? Are the slides enough? If you really do, then screenrecord with yourself visible in a video app on the screen over the ppt show: they need to see your face, be a human. 12/13
Be more like a YouTuber recording on their couch. Be less like a university lecturer on a stage in a raked hall. It doesn't have to be hard. The connection is what matters, don't get lost in all the rest of it. 13/13
Here's a class video I made yesterday, that took me 20 minutes total to plan, shoot, edit, and upload.

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More from @digiwonk

9 Dec 19
Some things I have learned from student self-evaluation assignments in my first year writing class, a strange and wonderful thread of personal growth and useful feedback. #AcademicChatter 1/12
1. Five paragraph essays, banishment of personal pronoun, fixed topics, check-box rubrics, and literary analysis of books they don't like is what they do in high school and they learn to produce teacher-pleasing writing that they hate and find irrelevant. 2/12
2. They understand writing, then, as a chore with no point other than securing a grade so that they don't have to take another English/Writing class ever again. 3/12
Read 13 tweets
15 May 18
To my tenured colleagues: A thread on how we can be part of the solution, not just a precious relic of the way things used to be, and the manifestation of disproportionate privilege and inequity in the academy. Let's talk; please share and add. #cdnpse
A lot of us with tenure are watching PhDs leave without finishing, go into debt, suffer lousy adjunct jobs, destroy their mental health. We are watching our undergrad programs turned into scaled-up piecework. Our administrative structure turn managerial. What can we do?
Because *we*, the tenured, are the ones to do it. Who else? Marginalized scholars? Contingent workers? Trustees and boards? No. If anyone has the footing, power, and safety to push back, it's tenured people. What are you going to do?
Read 14 tweets

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