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Educate-it at REBO

‘It looks much more professional!’

Martijn Huysmans en Thomas Walther

The knowledge clip is becoming increasingly popular, partly as a result of remote teaching. Their numbers have increased but also their design! Supported by the Teaching Learning Lab, Thomas Walther and Martijn Huysmans (both U.S.E.) recorded some rather professional knowledge clips. They are happy to share their stories with us.

Thomas Walther explains that a negatively assessed course triggered him to make a knowledge video. ‘I felt that, to some extent, the course lacked the necessary information to be able to understand the lectures. My idea was to provide knowledge clips to serve as a solid foundation to the course.’ He followed a course which introduced him to the Teaching Learning Lab (TLL) facilities, which included some high-tech class rooms and a little recording studio. This is where Thomas started recording knowledge clips.

Martijn Huysmans learned more about knowledge clips in the module "(Re)design your teaching in times of corona" by Educate-it. In conversation with a colleague the possibilities of a lightboard came up. Martijn: 'You write on a glass board, so that both what you write and your facial expressions are filmed through the board. The computer then mirrors the written text. With the lightboard you can write mathematical models and draw graphs freely. It works like a real board: you can just point to something where needed.'

Well prepared
When making a knowledge clip, you need to be well prepared. Shooting generally doesn't take too much time. The most time-consuming part is the preparation. Thomas: 'I had to write out the entire clip in Word. Both the slides and the text were then sent to TLL. The text with referrals to the particular slides were transferred to a tele-prompter from which I read during the video. In a lecture, you can easily forget something and come back to it later. In a clip, however, you should be concise but also detailed enough. The slides should not contain too much information, since the speaker takes up one-third of the screen. The video must be clearly structured. All in all, preparing a 15-minute clip usually took me about one whole working day.

"It increases the quality of education."

Recordings using a lightboard also require thorough preparation. Martijn: 'You have to practice your board schedule well, so you know what goes where. For each 15-minute clip I spent half an hour thinking about what to put in it, and then four times half an hour putting it on paper while speaking. To keep it spontaneous I did not write out my texts. I did have my board schedule on paper with me during the recording. In the short term, it certainly doesn't save you time, but it does increase the quality of the teaching. In the long run, if you reuse the clips, you probably do save time.

Warm August Day
The TLL, and in particular Fridolin van der Lecq, provided the necessary support in the preparation and during the recordings. Thomas: 'He constantly told me about different possibilities we could try out and also arranged the cut and the post-production. He uploaded the video, about which I had the final say, to YouTube. Eventually, he provided me with the clip as a video file, which I could upload to Mediasite/LectureNet.’ Martijn adds, 'Fridolin gave me some tips beforehand, for example, to make a board schedule. During the recordings he helped me with the camera and such. When I recorded some clips in August it was very hot. So hot that I got a sweat stain in my shirt. Fridolin was able to get me a hair dryer, so I wouldn't be immortalized on camera with sweat stains (laughs).'

The end result was one to be proud of. Thomas certainly is very satisfied: ‘The added value is that it looks much more professional and thus hopefully more appealing to our students. Plus, the students being able to see my whole body and my body language helped to transfer the message. The students appreciated the clips. Only two students disliked that I was reading, which I tried to avoid to be noticed. In addition, they preferred a lecture-sized video, where you can click from topic to topic.'

Martijn's students were very impressed: 'Some even thought I had learned to write in mirror image (laughs). When I see how often the clips have already been viewed - an average of two to four times per student - they are clearly useful too.'

"It saves you time in class, which can be spent on an interactive class assignment or discussion."

Highly recommended
Both Thomas and Martijn recommend the use of knowledge clips to their colleagues. Thomas: '(...) especially to teachers who teach a course for the first time. It helps enormously in structuring and outlining your course. And hopefully it will also be a trade-off in time for at least the next academic year. For teachers, however, who provide their lectures from the top of their heads it will probably take more time to prepare the material.’

Martijn underlines the added value of the lightboard: 'I would definitely recommend it for teachers who want to explain economic or mathematical models. Students can watch the clip as many times as they want, pause it or speed it up. You save time in class, which can be spent on an interactive class assignment or discussion. For both teacher and students, this is a more fun way to convey basic theory. The use of knowledge clips is also ideal for differentiating by level. The weaker students can process the material in their own time beforehand and repeat it afterwards. And the stronger students do not have to listen to repetition that is unnecessary for them.'