The Teaching Effectiveness Institute (TEI) kicks off each semester by providing faculty new tools and strategies to inspire their teaching and support student success. The August 2020 event provided opportunities for faculty to explore and practice using video and other multimedia tools to transform their courses to build engagement, community, and instructor presence. More than 150 NIU faculty engaged in online sessions featuring best practices to support flexible teaching and learning in online, face-to-face, or hybrid courses.
Dr. Michael Wesch, a faculty member at Kansas State University and creator of the Teaching Without Walls video series, launched day one of the Institute with a keynote address focused on techniques for transforming pedagogy and engagement in courses through strategic use of video. Dr. Wesch shared design principles that provide a foundation for successful integration of video in higher education classes.
As online course delivery increases dramatically, faculty are exploring ways to be comfortable while being in front of the camera. Dr. Wesch shared his personal journey gaining confidence using video and explained strategies that faculty can use to create connections with students in online courses. Dr. Wesch’s tips for “getting on camera” include starting simple, relaxing, channeling energy, connecting rather than performing, and talking back to fear.
Dr. Laura Vazquez, NIU Presidential Teaching Professor and Professor in the Department of Communication, inspired faculty when sharing her experience transforming video production courses from using labs with expensive equipment to using mobile phones and free online tools students could access at home. Poignant clips of student-created videos illustrated empathy, community, challenges, creativity, and perseverance through their experiences during the unprecedented pivot to online learning in March 2020. Dr. Vazquez’s keynote offered practical approaches and examples of techniques faculty can use to build community, empathy, and inclusion with a view toward generating engagement and addressing social justice issues in their courses.
The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) team led six sessions teaching faculty how to use NIU tools, such as Kaltura, and their personal devices to create and edit videos. CITL sessions offered simple strategies and tips for faculty new to using video in their courses. Faculty feedback illustrated their appreciation for practical techniques that could be used immediately to humanize their courses, support active learning, and increase instructor presence.
The TEI Blackboard Community engaged faculty using the Padlet digital bulletin board and Flipgrid video communication tools to provide opportunities to experience new ways to humanize and increase engagement in online courses. 99% of faculty agreed or strongly agreed that participation in TEI had the potential to benefit their students.
Additional recordings from TEI are available through the following links:
- Simple Plans for Maximum Impact https://youtu.be/doag5BqdXP8
- Simple Steps for Recording Video on Your Own Devices https://youtu.be/83-cWOZsH6o
- Simple Edits to Enhance Video https://youtu.be/mB7cKbTZVYA
- Using Different Types of Video for Teaching and Learning https://youtu.be/Oni0lsp9xJc
- Enriching Video: A Multimodal Approach https://youtu.be/4B0T4oaPUa0