Online education is changing the world, and when you record online classes, you get to be a part of a groundbreaking shift in what education can mean in the lives of your students.
With the explosion of technology that lets just about everyone have enough bandwidth and pixels to download books and stream movies, more students than ever are choosing to make online education part of their lives. In 2014, over 5.8 million students took part in distance learning during the fall semester — almost a 4 percent increase over the previous year.
It’s no wonder why: Online learning is a major boon for nontraditional students who need the flexibility to work a day job and care for their families while still continuing to learn and grow to get that degree or train for new positions in their fields. And yet, some learners and instructors still admit to feeling hesitant about distance learning, citing the loss of “the personal contact allowed by face-to-face classroom learning as the major drawback to taking online courses.
I get what they’re saying. Diving into that first online course is difficult, and it took me many hours to set up my course, learn the ins and out of my platform, and figure out whether I wanted to schedule chats or just keep up with posts when students wanted to make them. And it was definitely weird not to see my students’ faces. They thought so, too. In fact, the biggest theme of the course evaluations was that my students really wanted to see my face — one mentioned that he could only imagine a robot voice behind all the typing.
That’s when I knew there had to be a better way. Despite being nervous about performing in front of a camera — I’m not an actor! — I decided that the easiest way to add a personal touch to my video courses would be to record the lectures I was already giving during my live online classes, so my distance learners, those who like to learn on their own at their convenience, could get a taste of my real classroom style.
And once I got started, it was easy!
So set aside your fears and put the power of the internet to good use by recording your online lectures for use in your video tutorials or just as a reference for your students when they want to revise the lessons. With virtual classroom software programs that have a built-in feature to record streaming videos make it much easier than ever before, you can offer your students the personal touch they’re looking for in their education even when you’re not around — and gather crucial feedback to improve your teaching in the process.
Still not convinced? These six reasons to record online classes may just change your mind:
1. Record lectures to add value to your course
Part of the challenge of designing a successful self-paced video course is anticipating your students’ questions and needs ahead of time. You have to upload all of the documents and extra resources they’ll need to study, and it’s always smart to include useful links to reputable sources.
But I bet you’re forgetting the number one resource at your disposal — YOU.
The best way to impart your wisdom and add that important human element to a potentially stiff and formal video tutorial is to give your students as much of you as possible. Here’s how your learners benefit from watching a video of you in action:
- Seeing a real person inspires trust in you as an expert.
- Putting a face and a voice to your teaching makes it much easier for your audiences to understand who you are and where you’re coming from.
- Learners are motivated to work harder to impress a real person they admire.
- Learners will feel personally supported by you when they need to go back and check something you said for reference.
Trust me, your students want to hear from you. There’s simply nothing as valuable as your personality when it comes to teaching, so don’t be afraid to give your students what they’re looking for!
2. Give your students the gift of flexibility
One of the things I love most about teaching online courses is that I get to connect with students from around the world — that’s the magic of eLearning! When international students turn up in your online “classroom”, you get to learn just as much as they do because you get to see your material from a whole new cultural perspective.
When you open up your classroom to the world and that too with a personal touch, you get to reach a much wider selection of students, such as:
- International students
- Adults continuing their education
- Nontraditional students getting a second chance
- Single parents
- Part-time learners
- Gifted high schoolers seeking enrichment
I loved getting to know all of these wonderful people, but these aren’t students who can meet at a set time period — that’s why they signed up for a video-based learning in the first place. One of the biggest mistakes online instructors can make is to assume that scheduled classes are the best way to get students to interact with each other — or with you. For lots of learners, that’s a huge burden.
Enter the recorded lecture. It’s a huge feature that allows you to reach students who can’t set aside an hour after dinner for a real-time face-to-face class. A recorded lecture is always there for them, whenever they have time to devote to their learning. They can watch and re-watch the lecture for additional support during their studies or reference it for that final essay. Being able to choose when to see you in action provides the flexibility that many students need to accomplish their learning goals.
3. Create opportunities for differentiated instruction
Recorded lectures can also enhance the learning experience of students you teach in your live, face-to-face classes.
No two students learn at the same pace or in the same way. Making video available at home helps each student address his or her own learning styles:
- Auditory learners can listen in class without taking notes, then refer to the video later.
- Visual learners will enjoy seeing your slideshows and board notes over and over to help absorb them.
- Kinesthetic learners can fidget at home as much as they want while watching your video — or even study on the treadmill.
Recording your lectures is really about giving your students that chance to revisit the material in the ways that suit them best. Everyone can review material when they’re at their sharpest — whether they’re morning larks or night owls. When your students process the material on their own time, they can come to class armed with better questions and ready to contribute to class discussions in a more productive and confident way.
4. Try a flipped learning model
If you’re thinking that those last ideas sound perfect for building a flipped classroom, you’re right! When you flip the script on your teaching, you send your lecture or reading home with students first, so they come to class prepared to put the basic information into action.
What can you do during class time? Try these ideas for making the most of your classroom time:
- Interactive discussions
- Formal debates
- Hands-on experimentation
- In-depth Q&A
When you record online classes and lectures, you give access to the exact information you want your class to focus on, rather than bogging your students down with a lot of extras that don’t relate to the topic at hand. It’s the perfect way to tailor material for a streamlined, laser-focused flipped learning model.
5. Use analytics to your advantage
Can you always tell when your students are engaged in what you’re saying? Many are quite good at looking attentive, even when they’re bored or confused. And in an online chat room, and you have nothing to go on.
One of the least-appreciated benefits of making your recorded lectures available online is the data you can gather on your students’ engagement. With video analytics, you’ll be able to measure the following:
- How often they watch the video
- Which parts of the video get replayed
- When students stop watching
- Which students are most engaged
How will you use that data? When something’s a hit, you can do more of it! When you notice that a certain lecture was highly engaging, adjust your delivery of other topics to hit that sweet spot for your students. When you leverage the full power of online video, you can actually make yourself a better teacher in the process.
6. To increase your ROI
Though a good quality virtual classroom software provides you with a built-in capability to capture streaming video, editing it takes extra time. You might also want to add more narration to the captured video to turn it into a great video course.
Are you paying extra for this feature? In a way, no! In a way, yes! You’re spending time editing the recorded session, and time is currency. And why would you do that? Of course, to offer more flexibility and help to your learners. But also to make more money out of it. So, when you record streaming video classes, you can:
- Use them as additional resources for your students
- Put them together and float self-paced video tutorials
- Use them for flipped learning for a different batch of students
- Share recordings with absentees so that you don’t have to spend another session doing the same thing
So, you’re achieving multiple objectives with just one resource. Doesn’t it still convince you to record online lectures?
How to record online classes
To get the most out of recording your lectures for students’ online access, you’ll need a comprehensive virtual classroom software that has a built-in functionality to record your streaming lecture. Also a high-quality camera and good editing for a professional-looking final product. Researchers at North Carolina State University also recommend using a conversational tone and keeping the videos on the short side — 20 to 30 minutes is sufficient.
You’ll also want to present your hard work on a user-friendly online learning platform for best results. WizIQ Virtual Classroom allows you to capture your live lectures. You don’t have to be technically sound to do this. Here’s a step-by-step process to record your live classes.
How to record online classes in WizIQ
1. When scheduling your class in WizIQ Virtual Classroom, select ‘Record this class’ option, in order to capture your live streaming session.
2. After you launch your class, a setting screen pops out. Test your camera and microphone and other settings. Click on ‘I’m good to go’ once you’ve changed the settings.
3. Check if the recording is on. Take the pointer at the bottom of the screen.
4. WizIQ Virtual Classroom gives you an option to pause and resume recording as and when required. You can pause and later resume live screen capturing even during the class.
5. After your class is over, go back to the home screen and click on ‘live classes’ on the left-hand side to see the recording of your session.
6. You’ll be able to view, download and delete the recording.