Empower students with your personal story

Every teacher wants their students to feel engaged and excited in the classroom, connected and thriving through daily activities and lesson content. Of course, building that rapport and that environment is a bridge that needs to be built every day, through every interaction, in any course. It is not an action, an intervention or a step. But an intentional step that many teachers take is to create introductory material for the course. Whether it’s an announcement or a video, a block of text or an audio clip, instructors often go out of their way to greet students as they walk through the “doors” of the classroom. online class.

But shouldn’t your introductory material talk about more than the weather outside your window, your cat’s antics, and your list of titles, degrees, and accolades? Couldn’t your introductory material powerfully connect with your target audience – your students – and find a way to bridge your experiences and theirs? By leveraging your personal story, articulating your “why” and demonstrating your dedication, you can take steps to ensure students feel more engaged and focused in your new course, and that they feel connected. comfortable and connected with you as an instructor. And while you can certainly put it all in words and embellish it with images, video has proven to be a very dynamic way to connect with students.

Creating an introductory video that connects students with the power of your personal story can transform those early days of class, which can translate into real benefits as the course unfolds. By bringing a human face to the classroom, to teaching, and to the very processes of education, we can help students navigate the materials and deadlines imposed on them from the start and ensure buy-in. commitment that leads to perseverance. and retention. But it doesn’t have to be difficult.

A few words about technology

Technology can be a big stumbling block for teachers when recording videos for use in the classroom. Rather than prescribing a specific tool to use, it’s more important that you feel comfortable when preparing to record. Most smartphones have the ability to capture video, and free online apps like Screen-Cast-O-Matic make the process even easier. Of course, most laptops also have built-in photo and video apps. Schedule some time to play around with your chosen method before you start recording for real, just to make sure you’re comfortable with all aspects of the video you’re going to produce: is it easy to start and stop recording? Are the audio and light levels correct? Which setting do you find the most comfortable?

I used Screen-Cast-O-Matic to capture my footage, then dropped those video files into iMovie for editing. Keep in mind that you may not need to edit your video at all. I made a few mistakes along the way so you don’t have to!

The contents

We ask students to be real and vulnerable every day in the online classroom. Creating an intro video that does the same thing is a perfect way to model this practice. The main purpose of a video like this is to make sure you literally come alive for your students. In an online course, it may be the first time they hear your voice, or see how you pronounce a sentence, or how you move when explaining and discussing. In fact, it may be the only time! And these types of keys and triggers can be important as they work their way through your teaching materials.

When planning your video content, keep a few things in mind:

  • Try to keep your video as short as possible, while giving a clear and detailed picture of who you are. YouTube analytics show information about any video content and viewers tend to stop after a few minutes. Try to keep your video under five minutes to ensure students watch and are engaged!
  • Having a few guiding questions can really help shape your content. Prompts like “Why did you become a teacher? or “What does education mean to you?” can help students connect with your passions and feel more engaged in their own educational journey.
  • Start with a powerful or inspirational commentary, something that will pique the viewer’s interest from the get-go. In my video, I tried to express what education meant to me. But always keep your audience in mind. The student perspective will help shape your content choices and delivery.
  • Don’t forget to identify yourself! Editing software makes it easy to embed text that does this, but taking a moment to personalize content and clarify who you are means students will feel even more welcome when they watch. In my video, I started with a powerful quote, then paused to identify myself before moving on to other content.

My video combines a few of these different methods. Look at this as an example. One thing I really tried to point out was that my educational background was not a traditional one, which many of my students can relate to! However, when you think about it, no two paths are truly the same. So try to highlight what’s unique about your passions, driving motivation, and journey to the front of the class.

If you look closely, you’ll see that I haven’t really answered my own prompts, at least not directly. My advice would be to have a two-sentence “answer” to each prompt in your head, but then allow yourself to ramble a bit to capture some real, improvised gold!

I found myself a little uncomfortable with a full-length style video, perhaps because the content of the video was about me. I’ve recorded dozens of videos and met my students live, but something about speaking so personally made me feel a bit exposed. That’s why I chose a profile angle as if I was being interviewed. The truth is, no one else was in the room! Try different angles or framings to see what you feel most comfortable with. And, if you like, pair up with a colleague and interview using Zoom or other video conferencing software!

Delivery Options

After recording your video, you need to decide how to distribute it to students. And, since first day students can interact with the class in different ways, my answer is that you should put it wherever you can! Include it as one of your first announcements and post the link in a class email. If you have a “Post your introduction” thread in class, add your video there as well.

Creating an intro video for your courses that helps demonstrate your connection to student success by leveraging your personal narrative doesn’t have to be difficult. I spend about 60-75 minutes (spread over four days) making a shot, but only about 15 minutes recording. I also spend an extra 60-75 minutes editing and producing, although that’s mostly because I wanted to try out different footage options. If you plan well, you can rip your video in one take!

Of course, there are as many ways to record one of these videos as there are instructors teaching classes, and that’s as it should be. Each should be as unique as the people teaching the classes, and they should reveal their personalities and quirks. The goal is to find a way to connect with your students, to show them that the life you live and the pattern you set aren’t as far apart as they might feel. Some students don’t have the support or any real connection to the power of education. Sharing your personal story can help bring that connection to life.

Dr. Nathan Pritts is an award-winning educator, course designer, and faculty mentor with a strong focus on innovation with practical applications. He brings his expertise in writing, corporate communications, advertising and marketing, and online user experience to the general education classroom to maximize student learning and increase engagement, infusing the curriculum with foundational outcomes. reinforced by clear links with the student’s academic and professional development. A professor at the Academic Engagement Center at the University of Arizona Global Campus, Dr. Pritts has also authored or co-authored twelve books, including Decoherence (Indiana University Press), Film: From Watching to Seeing (3rd), and The essentials of academic writing (4th). He was also an editor and wrote the introduction to, Living Online: A Handbook on Digital Fluency. He is putting together a handbook of strategies and best practices essential to designing and delivering meaningful learning experiences for students online, one chapter at a time, at www.Radical-Humanity.carrd.co

Post views:

Comments are closed.