The project aims to help teachers and students produce and share quality video presentations in an innovative and beneficial way. The project offers a presentation recording application and online video sharing platform.
The application synchronizes a variety of visual aids, including instructor’s audio and video footage, PowerPoint slides, whiteboard, drawing board, and browser content. With visual aids, like the drawing board, the instructor can draw lines, curves, graphs, and shapes on the screen to emphasize or clarify an idea or concept, so the demonstration can be clearer. The whiteboard helps the instructor to type text on the screen while presenting the slides, making it an ideal tool to add more details or explain slide content using words, numbers, and symbols. The online platform allows instructors to upload and share their video presentations and involve the learners via scrollable slide thumbnails and discussions. Video presentations are accessible via any operating system, standard browser, or mobile device and used in conventional classrooms settings and e-learning environments. Preliminary usability evaluation results showed that faculty members and students found the network effective, efficient and satisfactory in terms of producing and sharing video presentations. Online video presentations are perceived as useful in improving students’ learning and increasing their overall level of satisfaction and confidence, providing students with a valuable resource to complement their studies, saving time giving face-to-face lectures, and re-organizing teaching time. Through this implementation, the benefits of the project are being rapidly disseminated to many schools, universities and organizations around the world.
Research on video sharing networks emphasized the importance of considering the potential possibilities that video content presents when deciding how to support learners. Proponents of videos argue that there is increasing interest in providing students with recorded materials and video is demonstrated to be an expanding channel for presentation. Providing video on demand to students is used to support facet-to-face, online, or blended learning. Students can choose when and where to use the material and can spend as long or as little time on each learning activity. Watching video is considered as a basis for mental activity. It is socially acceptable and widely used and supported by multimedia cell phones and portable media players. Video is a more forgiving and powerful presentation medium, and does not have to be stand-alone, like a television program. Learners can play, rewind, forward, or pause the video to address their specific needs. It can be used in many ways to encourage interactions between the instructor and students and create engagement.
In conventional classroom setting, an instructor uses a large wall screen, whiteboard or flipchart and wants to video everything, including him/herself. But if the camera is pointed at screen or play area, students would not be able to read from the video because the low quality of the video output (e.g., contrast, reflective surfaces, glare, shadows, small text, limited area, positioning, etc.). This necessitates having a camera operator to pan and zoom as the teacher works. Therefore, the need was emphasized for the development of an unconventional network to assist instructors to automate the process of producing effective video presentations using their existing PowerPoint slides. The network offers the application and platform for helping instructors to pre-record effective video presentations. The application and the platform accommodate the technical differences among instructors, as well as the requirements of producing and sharing effective video materials for students. The project has been developed and maintained by Dr. Alaa Sadik in early 2012, as a result of his research, teaching and training experiences and with SQU faculty members and students.
The project aims to:
1. Establish an online network for producing and sharing quality video presentations.
2. Provide training and support teachers on producing and sharing effective video presentations.
3. Offer meta-tagged, high-quality, classified, and relevant online video presentation library that would be immediately and easily used by teachers and students.
4. Promote effective use of information technology for the production and dissemination of quality e-content.
5. Develop positive attitudes toward producing and exchanging of online resources and learning objects among teachers and students.
6. Evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of online video presentations on improving student learning and satisfaction.
Development of the Network
The review of the educational technology literature and existing classroom technologies revealed that choosing an appropriate system for producing and sharing video presentations for teachers is not easy. There is a wide range of what is known as “conversion”, “presentation recording”, “screen casting”, “lesson capture”, and “lecture capture” technologies available and used today. These technologies range from very simple converter software to highly sophisticated capture stations with multiple cameras and dedicated computers. The majority of these solutions are either sophisticated applications designed for advanced university settings, and intended for large scale distribution. None of these solutions has been developed specifically with teachers’ needs in mind.
Therefore, faculty members will not be able to integrate any of these technologies into their classroom practices. Even when a basic level of sophistication has been decided on, there are many offerings with very similar feature sets that make choosing one somewhat difficult. This situation has placed an emphasis on the need to use a simple but usable solution specifically for producing effective video presentations for teachers. The solution should leverage existing technology that can be directly administered by instructors without the need of significant support services, and accommodate the technical differences among instructors along with the pedagogical and psychological principles of multimedia design.
The general design principles of the system are derived from the experience of the developer and grounded in results from the literature in e-learning, multimedia learning, and software design. In addition, many existing solutions, as mentioned above, are reviewed and analyzed to learn from their characteristics in the design of the proposed solution. The review revealed many important principles, guidelines, and features for consideration in designing the proposed solution. Examples of these findings are:
Research indicated that the skill level required to produce videos and make them available should be fairly minimal without the need for significant support services. In addition, the solution should make videos available as soon as possible after a class without further manipulation or editing before they are available for viewing, since most students need to watch the video for a few hours of a given lecture.
Multimedia research emphasized that the system must combine audio, video (via digital camera or webcam), and slides simultaneously into a single video frame. Overall, the solution should synchronize PowerPoint slides, freehand drawing and typing, and the instructor’s audio and video into a single video frame that students can view outside of classroom. The output should be produced in a standard and high-quality output format capable of running on any computer or mobile device.
The design of the network
Overcoming the limits of working memory (cognitive load theory) requires presenting part of the information being taught in a visual mode and part of it in a verbal mode. Presenting lesson information in both visual and verbal formats helps students to construct their own knowledge and retrieve information more easily in the future.
The concept of video presence and personalized narration within multimedia environments. Research indicated that although displaying the video of the presenter along with the slides creates a visual distraction, taking students’ attention away from the visual information in the slides, the presence of the in instructor view is important to give students a sense of interacting with the teacher (sense of social presence) while watching the video lesson and may improve learning outcomes.