Thursday, December 4, 2014

Vimeo by Kate Parker

I use Vimeo to host video response lectures that I create for all my online classes as a means of responding, directly and personally, to their discussions for the week. By uploading a video of myself talking through the interesting questions and problems raised by their online discussions, I am able to recreate--to a limited extent--the way I might respond to student work in a face-to-face setting. Because the video responses are not too structured, and are not really scripted or edited, the students see me in my true form. I have found this to be a more effective way to respond to student work, as it models synthesizing salient points for the students and enables me to draw broad and meaningful connections across discussions. I also find that students are more likely to access and engage with a video summary than they are to read a series of follow-up posts, even if those posts are assigned by the instructor. Recording these lectures also saves me time, allowing me to channel more of my energies into communicating with students about projects or creating other meaningful and fun content.

I chose Vimeo over YouTube and other free video hosting sites because it has a great quality of video. After creating my account with Vimeo, I record videos (usually of me sitting at my office desk) with my webcam, saving the movies as files on my computer and then uploading the files to Vimeo. I make the videos public and share them with students. After the semester is over, I make the videos private, but I love being able to access past videos to get ideas and inspiration for my current classes. Collectively, this video archive has helped me to see the kinds of questions and ideas that students tend to generate semester after semester. I've also assigned these videos in face-to-face classes, if I feel that they cover important material in a concise way. Because I respond differently to specific students each semester, I do recreate the videos every time I teach an online course. However, I find the process is easier each semester, as I use the previous semesters' video to help outline my thoughts and prepare my comments.

The videos are short--ten, fifteen minutes--and students report enjoying the chance to see me in my element and get to know me as an instructor. In my evaluations, students regularly commented on the videos as one of the activities they found most engaging and helpful in the online course. It also helps to humanize the process of online teaching--and connecting with students personally is extremely
important to me, whether I am in the classroom or on D2L.

For more information about Vimeo visit:

Submitted by Kate Parker, English