Cybersecurity for the Stay-at-Home Semester (Infographic)

With the shift of learning to online platforms, cybersecurity remains a crucial objective to keep in mind. By following the below tips, you can ensure that you and your students’ learning takes place in a secure, confidential, and positive environment! The #stayathome semester is here, and we’re excited to help you make the most of it!

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Why You Should Use Videos in Your E-learning Courses

The following is a guest post by Victor Blasco, an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

If you are looking for ways to improve your e-learning courses, then you’ve surely thought about using videos.

As we move onward towards a more interconnected world, video content is a key piece in figuring out the digital landscape. Why, you ask? Well, it’s simple, really. Videos are more engaging than plain text and more dynamic than still images.

People studying online are looking to get the most information in the shortest amount of time, and there’s no better tool to accomplish that than educational video content. However, ask any skilled video production company about it, and they’ll tell you that outside some specialized platforms, it is rarely being used to its fullest potential.

In this piece, we are going to talk a bit about five major reasons why you want to start introducing effective video pieces into your e-learning courses (and how to make the most out of them.)

Let’s get started!

Storytelling as An Education Device

Ever since the first cave paintings, humans have been drawn to stories. There’s just something about witnessing a character go through a situation that speaks to us on a deeper level. But when it comes to using video to overcome online learning challenges, not just any old tale will do!

There are rules and limitations to these pieces, and you need to learn to work within their framework to have them work. While not comprehensive, these tips should set you on the right path when creating videos for your e-learning courses.

1) Likable Character

Let’s start by stating that “likable” isn’t the same as ordinary. Your students need more than ordinary to focus long enough to get the message you are trying to convey across. No, when I say likable, I mean easy to get along with, to form a strong connection to them, regardless of how short the piece actually is.

Generating empathy for a piece’s character helps viewers put themselves in the character’s shoes and better understand the examples and ideas being shown. So, try to avoid generic templates for your video’s protagonists and start with the right foot by establishing them strongly in the first act.

2) An Interesting Plot Point

Here’s is where your story gets exciting! Once you’ve introduced your character, it’s time for the story (and message) to evolve. Now, you don’t have to be dramatic, but please be interesting!

All it takes is a compelling problem, a memento of crisis, or a simple dilemma whose implications affect your character. Since your audience will already feel related to your character, they cannot remain indifferent to this problem. They’ll have an easier time getting invested.

Do it right, and those interesting plot points will spur curiosity and boost engagement in your video.

3) Finish strong with the Takeaway

Remember all those children’s stories that ended with a clear-cut moral lesson? It was an effective formula for thousands of years for a good reason!

The ending of your piece should sum up what your character, and thus your audience, learned from the story. It’s the third act of your video, in which you explain the goal of your video and lay down your lesson.

More Information in Less Time

Videos condense and convey information more efficiently than other media, leading to faster learning. Just look at the explainer video formula, for instance. They are the best examples of short pieces that provide a simple answer to a complex problem. And they work perfectly whether you’re trying to explain a complex concept or going over the steps of a process.

Longer videos tend to lose the attention span of your audience sooner or later, which is why you want to keep your videos as short as possible — condensing your most important messages within the first few minutes.

And whenever you’re going way over the 4-minute mark, remember to end with a summary of the main points you want the audience to walk away with.

Are you dealing with a very long course? Don’t panic! You can always separate it in short-format videos. This way, you can also improve the planning of your course by setting short-term goals.

Oh, and on the topic of attention…

Video Increases Message Retention

Video has many advantages over any of the traditional types of content, but this is one of the most powerful.

Videos give you the creative freedom to use a whole range of visual aids like simple animations, sound queues, charts… it’s your call! Creative use of visual aids will have your piece feel more engaging and fresher.

That said, this is also where it gets tricky. Keep your content well-structured and never lose focus on the objectives of the course. Use as many resources as you want, but be careful not to overdo it! Aids should always help your audience in their learning without becoming a distraction!

Your best pal to make sure you hit the sweet spot? Editing. We can’t stress enough how essential editing is for making your video look professional. A dynamic and clean editing style will make your video cohesive and adds to the learning experience, not detract from it.

Empathy and Emotional Resonance

“Feelings” is not a topic we usually consider when it comes to teaching, but you should never underestimate the role emotions play in our learning. Making an emotional connection with your audience is key, especially if you want your message to stick with them long after the content is over.

After all, it’s most likely that you’ll remember the teachers that made you feel something, as opposed to those that merely droned on.

Your educational videos will be more effective at engaging your audience if you get emotions into the mix. You can use imagery that causes a strong sense of familiarity in your viewers. Or you can highlight how your lessons can have a direct impact on your viewers’ everyday life.

Either way, you must remember that your audience will always react to content that makes them feel something. People remember feelings stronger than facts – Combine both, and you’ll have a powerful mix in your hands.

Accessibility and Availability are Key

In this day and age, you can stream high-quality videos on any computer, tablet, or smartphone from almost anywhere. This means that while using video, your audience will have access to your lessons from practically everywhere and at all times. Can you think of a more convenient and flexible way of teaching?

Accessibility will motivate your students to incorporate your courses into their daily routine. People even use the term “m-learning” (or mobile learning) when talking about learning using personal electronic devices. Being able to learn through a mobile device seems like a fantastic and utopian idea… and it’s real!

This also sets a couple of technical requirements for your video. First of all, it might be a good idea to include subtitles, since you never know the audio quality of the device used by your audience. Also, optimizing the technical aspects of your piece (resolution, file size) is also a great idea, as it makes it easier for your audience to download or stream.

In Short

If you’re looking for a way to boost engagement in your e-learning courses, then video is the answer. Audiences are drawn to well-structured audiovisual experiences, with professional editing and an effective way of communicating.

We all know that a bad or boring lesson can bring our hopes down and make us abandon that passion for learning about something altogether.

Video can give you an excellent medium to prevent that from ever happening!

Author’s Bio: Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Why Visuals are Vital [INFOGRAPHIC]

Online education has drastically evolved over time. What began as simple correspondence courses has developed into a rich, interactive learning experience which has completely reformed the world of education.

While early online courses were largely text based, today’s technology opens the door for instructors to teach via many forms of media. At first glance, such a change from traditional teaching methods of gleaning from text might seem like an unnecessary leap. However, research has proven that it is worthwhile to include visuals in curricula not only because modern students are used to viewing multimedia but also because brains process visuals faster than they process text.

Check out this infographic below from Allencom.com to learn more about why it is important to include visuals in any lesson.

Boosting Learner Engagement with Rich Media Infographic

Source: E-LearningInfographics.com 

Open Source Textbooks [INFOGRAPHIC]

Imagine thousands of students acquiring digital versions of their college textbooks. Imagine that each textbook was tailored to precisely suit the exact needs of each course. Now imagine that those textbooks are free.

This is the reality that open source textbooks, a new phenomenon in higher education, might one day create.

Open source textbooks are textbooks composed of material that is open and free to the public. Textbooks might be created through a Creative Commons license or simply compiled by professors using resources which are always available to the public, like articles or certain videos. In addition, companies such as OpenStaxCollege, FlatWorld, Lumen, and Boundless strive to produce open source textbooks on a grand scale and still enable professors and students to use them free of charge or at a very low cost.

While most instructors do not yet embrace this new textbook design, some positive factors might propel opens source textbooks into mainstream education.

  • Price – The rising price of textbooks hurts many students. In response, some professors are turning to open-source textbooks as a way to enable all of their students to participate in the course and keep their money.
  • Personalized – Open source textbooks enable professors to have much more control over what the students study. Instead of skipping chapters or distributing piles of handouts, they can customize the textbooks to exactly what they want to teach.
  • Comtemporary – Professors can update the textbook based on current event. This is an easy way to easily demonstrate a subject’s practicality to students.

Check out this infographic from eLearning Infographics to learn more about the history of open educational resources.

The History of Open Educational Resources Infographic

eLearningInfographics.com

Sources:

New Strategy Would Drop College Textbook Costs to Zero by Carrie Wells on BaltimoreSun.com

Free Textbooks Shaking Up Higher Education by Victor Luckerson on Time.com

How Some Colleges are Offering Free Textbooks by Emanuella Grinberg on cnn.com

Video Animation in an Online Course

tv photoThis title might seem like an anomaly. Animation brings to mind silly cartoons and juvenile programming. Animation, however, can be an appealing and advantageous supplement in an online classroom.

Here are five great benefits of using animated videos:

  1. Create a “trailer” for your course – Spark interest. Show by example that the course will be dynamic and exciting, not a simple correspondence course.
  2. Demonstrate professionalism – Fireworks and special effects are not enough to grab a student’s interest. While students value technology, they appreciate technology that makes sense. A video animation tool assists you in merging your logic and creativity to produce a clean and exciting delivery of your ideas.
  3. As an assignment – An instructor needs to evaluate a student’s progress. Generally, evaluations are conducted in the forms of writing responses. The assignment to create a short, animated film can be a different and compelling way to encourage student involvement and assess student progress.
  4. As collaboration – Group work is always important. Videos can be produced in groups and easily shared through many social media. This can generate stimulating discussion about the subject matter.
  5. Provide visual instruction – Educators know that it is important to teach to all types of learners; audial learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners. Animated videos can serve as visual and audial instruction and even create a broader learning experience.

Video Animation Tools

Though it may look difficult, it is easy for instructors to produce professional-looking videos. Check out these five video animation tools which empowers design novices to create incredible productions.

  1. VideoScribe – This tool specializes in whiteboard animation, a very popular promotional animation style. Images are drawn on screen imitating what an instructor might do on a whiteboard in front of the classroom. VideoScribe can be accessed on a computer, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle.
  2. Go Animate – This tool aims to give their customers a professional style videos which are easy and fun to create. Users can choose themes, backgrounds, music, and even animated characters to enhance the presentation.
  3. Wideo – With the ability to choose pre-existing templates or start from scratch, Wideo users can take advantage of the intuitive interface to easily create modern and sleek animation.
  4. PowToon – This animation tool strives to enable users to design exciting and professional videos. Recognizing the importance of education, PowToon also specializes in enabling and training teachers to use it in their classrooms.
  5. Moovly – Complete with state-of-the art animation features, Moovly can students and teachers with special deals and educational licenses in order to harness its functions in the classroom.

How do you use video animation in your online classroom?

Learner Interactivity in a Synchronous Classroom

In this interesting presentation, Claudia Dornbusch of Facilitador.com demonstrates how to promote learner interactivity in a synchronous classroom. Topics include maximizing visual and whiteboard potential, chat and breakout sessions, and polls and audio discussions.

While these suggestions are intended for employee training sessions, the concepts can be implemented in higher level higher education as well.

 

E-learning: How to deliver an engaging Virtual Classroom presentation by Claudia Dornbusch

 

What is Augmented Reality?

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, an augmented reality experience might be worth ten thousand.

Augmented reality (AR) is a new technology that combines virtual reality with reality. Most of us are already familiar with virtual reality experiences, which are commonly accessed by wearing specially designed headgear or interacting with a computer that allows you to see into a different world. Augmented reality, on the other hand, does exactly the opposite – it brings the virtual world into our own reality.

How does it work?

Simply download some augmented reality software, and point your webcam or mobile device camera at a predesigned pattern that has been printed onto a piece of paper. The AR software will recognize the pattern and display text or 3D models on your screen, superimposed on your view of the printed pattern.

Watch the following video from The Franklin Institute to better understand what Augmented Reality is and how it works.

To learn about how Augmented Reality can be used in education, see 3 Ways to Use Augmented Reality for Learning.

3 Ways to Use Augmented Reality for Learning

Augmented Reality is the ability to display multimedia, information, or 3D models as an overlay on top of our view of the real world.

Here are 3 videos that explain how augmented reality can be used for learning:

  1. Create interactive textbooks with pop-up multimedia.

    Augmented Reality for Education – a Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology 2006 Computer Systems and Networking batch Final Year project.
  2. Experiment with physics concepts, understand the deep layers of the earth, visualize detailed 3D anatomy diagrams.

    Augmented Reality for Contextual Learning in Schools & Higher Education by SIfyInnovations.

  3. Visualize the 3D structure of molecules, join atoms, or break molecules apart.

    Augmented reality with chemistry, molecule structuring by Aalborg University in Copenhagen.