Internal - Faculty & Staff

Effective Online Lectures and Demos

Creating online lectures and demos can feel like a daunting task, especially if you haven’t done many (or any) in the past. Following these best practices will help you avoid common pitfalls and make the process smooth for you, and effective for your students. 

Outline, But Don’t Script

Keeping notes in front of you will help you keep on track and remember key points you want to highlight. This is definitely recommended. However, over-preparing to the point of writing a script often does more harm than good. You want to be able to speak freely, just as you do in the classroom. If you are reading from a script, your personality will be lost and the lecture will be flat. Keep a decent outline in front of you, but don’t go overboard.

Practice Before You Hit Record

Doing a quick run-through of your lecture before you record helps you work any kinks out of your presentation and gets the words out if your head and into your mouth. Take the time to do a practice run and you’ll have a more succinct, better-flowing lecture (and it will reduce the chance of needing to do extra takes).

Perfection is Not Required

When you teach face-to-face, there is no “edit” or “do-over” function, right? When you misspeak or make a mistake, you correct yourself and move on. You should follow that same pattern when you record an online lecture. Be yourself, keep talking, and focus on teaching the student. The minute you start to expect perfection and keep starting over is the minute you get inside your head and become hyper-critical. Remember, you’re a professional at this. It’s just in a different setting

Break it Up

It can be hard for students to know how well they are internalizing content when they are learning on their own. Providing some simple, ungraded self-tests and checkpoints at the end of lecture videos can help students assess how well they understand the material and discover what they need to focus on moving forward.

Picture Your Student

Remember, your lectures and demos are being watched by a single student. Picture that student on the other side of the camera, and speak directly to him or her. And remember to smile. We naturally smile when we are face-to-face with people, but you’ll have to remember to make a point of it when recording into a computer. This will help your personality come across and make the learning experience more enriching for the student.