Over the past decade, the internet has revolutionized the way we share information about talking dogs, startled felines, and Justin Bieber. But some educators are using this same technology to deliver lectures, demonstrations, and examples to their students in a richly engaging medium. With new generations of students used to receiving information in electronic form, using videos as a teaching resource can help reach every student in the classroom. WebAssign offers many options for you to add a personal touch to your students’ online education experience by adding videos to your courses and assignments. Read more to discover how you can get started adding videos to your WebAssign course.
How do you record a video?
Video recording is a standard feature of most modern smart phones and laptops. Dedicated video recording devices are inexpensive, but odds are that if you do not already own the means of recording your own videos, you know someone who does. The video doesn’t have to be crystal clear to convey a lot of information. There are so many videos available on the internet that you may find that someone has already created the video that you need. There are about 48 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube alone! Just remember to ask permission before using someone’s video.
Where can you insert videos into WebAssign?
Anywhere! You can deploy the video to any field in the WebAssign application that allows the use of HTML, which is most any of them. Here are a few ideas and examples:
In Question Editor
*Question field – Perform a demonstration as part of the question prompt, or ask the students to watch a video before answering the question.
*Solution field – Video yourself working through the problem just as you would in class. Demonstrate the results of the homework question in the real world.
In Assignment Editor
*Instructions field – Give a video of instructions at the beginning of an assignment. Demonstrate a particular method that the students should use to answer the questions in the assignment.
*Announcements – Announcements are visible to the students on the home page for their WebAssign course. Some instructors use this space to deliver video lectures to their students, thereby conducting the entire course outside of the classroom!
How do you add the videos?
Before you can add the video to your course, it must be hosted somewhere on the internet. That means it must already be uploaded to a video website like Vimeo or YouTube, uploaded to My Files in WebAssign, or hosted elsewhere. WebAssign limits the size of uploads to 10mb or less, but most institutions offer free web hosting to instructors and students. Ask your IT people if they can help you host a video file.
You can use a few different methods to deploy videos in any of the locations in WebAssign that we’ve discussed. You can learn about the technical details (i.e. “the code”) of adding videos to your WebAssign courses from our online help documentation, or by searching the internet for how to embed videos using HTML. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of each method of deploying the videos.
Embedded video player – Embedding the video player allows students to watch the video in their web browser without having to use a different application. This is good for adding videos to homework questions, as it requires minimal effort on the part of the student to watch video, and keeps them on the same WebAssign page that they will use to answer the question. You must specify a video player when embedding, and the student must have the relevant plugin for their browser, or the video will not play. If you’re embedding videos, choose your player carefully, and communicate that choice to your students so they can install the appropriate browser plugins. The video recording device you use may determine the file format of the video, and the video player you embed. Consider how you will want to deploy the video before you select your recording device.
Linking directly to the video file – You can link directly to the location on the internet where the file is being hosted. When a student clicks on the link, their computer will attempt to open the video with whatever application the student has set as the default for that file type. If the video is of a common file type, this method makes it easy for students to play the video on a variety of devices, using their preferred video player.
External Web-based video player – Websites like Vimeo and YouTube make it easy to upload and share videos. Adding a video from one of these websites to WebAssign is as simple as e-mailing someone a picture, but even with all of their privacy settings, these sites make it easy for people to find and distribute the video. The system requirements for these websites also fulfill the system requirements of WebAssign, so any student that uses WebAssign can watch videos hosted by these sites.
- Don’t embed several video players on the same page – Each embedded video player will use resources of the computer, and many video players will use many system resources. This could impact the time it takes for the page to load, and the performance of the video players themselves.
- Don’t deploy video solutions using a direct link, or video hosting website if you do not want videos shared – Direct links to video files, and links to video hosting websites make it easy for students to share the videos with their classmates. Avoid using these methods if you do not want students to share videos that reveal solutions to homework questions.
- Don’t use an esoteric file format or codec – Just because you can play the video on your computer, does not mean that your students will be able to play it on theirs. Before you deploy the video to students, try watching the video on a different computer, such as one from your institution’s computer lab or library.
- Do ask for help! – Don’t feel like you have to figure out how to add videos by yourself. If you need help adding videos, or with anything else related to WebAssign, don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.