Educational Videos for Legal Education
Educational videos are becoming one of the most popular online learning formats in K-12 and higher education. It is time for law professors to start thinking about how to incorporate online educational videos into our courses as well.
Since last year, I have been working with law professors to begin to incorporate educational videos into legal education. Together with FWD.us, a group of law professors recently launched a series of educational videos on immigration law and additional videos are currently being produced. The videos were made by several law professors from a host of law schools, including: Lenni Benson (NYLS), Amanda Frost (AU), Lindsay Harris (Georgetown), Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez (Denver), Laila Hlass (BU), Hiroshi Motomura (UCLA), Michael Olivas (U of Houston), Jayesh Rathod (AU), Philip Schrag (Georgetown), Ragini Shah (Suffolk), Juliet Stumpf (Lewis and Clark), Shoba Wadhia (Penn State), Virgil Wiebe (University of St. Thomas), and Michael Wishnie (Yale).
I learned a lot from making these and other educational videos on law and law teaching. Many of my colleagues have asked for advice on how to get started. Over the next 3 blog posts I will detail the 3 easy ways to produce educational videos for legal education together with some lessons learned. The three posts will be on (1) Voiceover Powerpoint/Keynote Slideshow, (2) Screencasting (3) Whiteboard Animated Videos.
Post 1: “Making Educational Videos for Legal Education”
Voiceover Powerpoint/Keynote Slideshow
Both Powerpoint and Keynote allow you to record yourself talking over each slide in a slideshow. It is quite easy to record an audio narration over a Powerpoint or Keynote slideshow. Open the slideshow on your computer and speak about each slide at your normal pace. As you move through the slideshow, your voice is recorded. Then, when you are done, save the presentation as a movie, a function available on both Powerpoint and Keynote. Here are useful articles about recording narrations over slideshows.
If you use Prezi, the program does not have an embedded system for adding audio. You will have to record your voiceover using a different program, such a Quicktime or Garage Band and then import the audio clip to your Prezi. Here is a quick Prezi that walks you through that process.
Paid images- iStockphoto is the largest and best solution for paid images. http://www.istockphoto.com
Pricing depends on the size and quality of image you need. Getty Images, which has a lot of professional photography, recently announced that its photos can be embedded for free in certain material. http://www.gettyimages.com/embed
Lesson Learned: To improve the visual quality of your Powerpoint or Keynote slideshow, use as many images as you can and try to reduce the amount of written text on each screen. Research on learning sciences teaches us that learners have both an auditory and a visual track. When they see an image, while listening to a presentation, both tracks are fully engaged. This is best for retention and transfer. When text is on the screen, learners use their auditory track to read the text. Therefore, if you speak as they are reading the text, your students have to make a choice of whether to listen to the narration or to read – they can’t do both at the same time.
What type of images do you use? Do you have any experience with keynote or PowerPoint? Please share with us! If you know of any additional resources add them in the comments below.
At LegalED, we are also looking for teams of law professors to curate (think book editor) video content for the site. If you are interested in curating a collection of videos in your subject area, please let me know! You can leave a message on twitter or email me at email@example.com
Don’t forget to follow the conversation @LegalEDweb
Post 2: “Making Educational Videos for Legal Education”
Screencasting refers to a technique where you can record your computer screen while adding a voiceover. It is commonly used for technical training, software training, and step-by-step video tutorials. You’ll likely want to edit the beginning and end of each video segment, so look for a screencasting tool with some editing capabilities. For Mac users, iMovie works well for basic editing.
Tools for Screencasting
- Jing (Windows or Mac)
- Camtasia (Windows or Mac)
- RecordIt (Windows or Mac)
- Screencast-o-matic (Windows or Mac)
- QuickTime Player (Mac only, basic version is preinstalled)
Lesson Learned: Best practices are to keep each video segment short (evidence suggests 6 minutes or less). Think of the videos as short chunks of information that can be packaged in many different ways. If your topic warrants more than one video, then break it into 2 or more, trying to keep each video to 6 minutes or less.
Have you used Screencasting before? Share your experiences in the comments below and don’t forget to follow the conversation at @LegalEDweb
At LegalED, we are also looking for teams of law professors to curate (think book editor) video content for the site. If you are interested in curating a collection of videos in your subject area, please let me know! You can leave a message in the comment section below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Post 3 “Making Educational Videos for Legal Education”
· Take a look at the 1st post in this series-Voiceover Powerpoint/Keynote Slideshow
· And second post on Screencasting.
Whiteboard Animated Videos
Whiteboard animations are very professional looking and visually engaging. However, they require an upfront investment of time in connection with learning the software and planning your presentation.
The first time I made a whiteboard animated video, the process was cumbersome and time consuming. It took about 6 hours to create a 7 minute video. Now I can do it in much less time, but each video still takes about 2 hours to produce. I find that because of the significant upfront investment of time, this technology is best for topics that will not change over time.
Programs to make Whiteboard animations.
Note: *I use Videoscribe. I have not tested the others.
1. Tape the voiceover first: We want the audience to engage with you. Rehearse your lesson, including the intonation, the pauses, the places where you need to provide emphasis. This is a performance. It is different from teaching a live, interactive class. So find that hidden actor within and exploit him or her.
2. Audiotaping the voiceover: Audio quality for videos is important. See whether you can borrow a microphone from your school or firm’s IT department. If not, you can use the audio recording on your computer, iPhone, iPad or other mobile device. Audiotape in a quiet place. And relax. It may take a few attempts before you feel OK with the product. That’s all part of the learning process; in my experience it gets easier with practice.
3. Upload audio into the program: Once the audio is uploaded, you can use it to design the video and set the timing of your animation. Again, with practice, this will get easier.
Do you have any experience with whiteboard animation or want help testing it out? Let us know in the comments below!
Whiteboard Animation videos
If you want to add video to your course materials, the 3 methods discussed in my previous 3 posts each provide an easy way to experiment with video-based lessons. Thanks to popular online education websites, students are more accustomed to learning from video and many like the ability to go back and review material as many times as needed for mastery. Our digitally native students also appreciate the convenience that online learning affords.
I encourage you to experiment. As with anything else, this also gets easier with time. Through experimentation, you will find out what works best for you, and what doesn’t work at all, and each time you try it you will learn and grow. While producing educational videos does take us out of our comfort zone, you can feel comfortable knowing that you’re not alone in testing these new learning modalities. Feel free to reach out to me with questions along the way.
Once the videos are produced, please consider sharing them with LegalED (legaledweb.com). That way, other law professors can see your work and possibly assign them in their courses. In our view, there is no need for everyone to do this alone. If we collaborate, together the community can create a dynamic collection of teaching materials that everyone can learn from.
At LegalED, we are also looking for teams of law professors to curate (think book editor) video content for the site. If you are interested in curating a collection of videos in your subject area, please let me know! You can leave a message at email@example.com
Don’t forget to follow the conversation at LegalEDweb.