Quick Weekly Intros Using Tips from Mike Wesch

Mike Wesch has been a hero of mine for years … ever since he posted “Web 2.0 – The Web is Us/ing Us” in 2007.  Mike is an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, and I was lucky to not only hear him at several conferences, but also to meet him when he visited Virginia.

Two months ago, Mike posted a wonderful video to help others dealing with the rush to move learning online due to the pandemic.  This video – one of a series – was “Make Super Simple Videos for Teaching Online.”

I love how this video starts almost as an “Outtakes” video, with his son wandering in.  Mike discusses five reasons to use simple videos in online teaching:

  1.  It humanizes your online class
  2. It builds relationships
  3. Videos can validate and motivate students
  4. Videos can save time
  5. It let’s you get key points across – implicit messaging

Now, I have been recording welcome videos for years for all of my classes, and had routinely recorded weekly short “lectures” for my doctoral classes.  But in my Masters classes, I always felt that my organized layout and weekly flow were enough.

Yet, I was blown away when Mike revealed the magic behind his videos:

At 3:06 in his video, he shows that he has duct taped his phone to the window, with a script underneath, and that is his simple set up for a weekly video,

Wow!  I could do that.

And so for my upcoming Summer Masters class for Northeastern University on using technology as a medium for learning, I have recorded not only the Welcome video … important since the students will be moving from Blackboard to Canvas for the first time … but I also have recorded the first four weekly videos. They range from one minute to five minutes in length.  I am trying to do them all outside (better lighting and more interesting than my study).  I also am not getting dressed up.  It’s hot here in Virginia, and T-Shirts are the norm!

Rather than duct tape my phone to the window, I went with the low tech solution of a selfie stick with a tripod attachment:

I do create a short script, that I tape right to the selfie stick and camera, just to keep me on track.

And I still have to edit what I shoot.  I never realized how loud cars are as they drive by the back of the house!  I also never paid attention to all the flying insects … as this 16 second video shows:

As my good friend Bud Deihl noted to me, “bugs” carries multiple meanings when dealing with edtech!

I use Camtasia for editing…and for Week 3 where I needed to demonstrate how to use Diigo Groups, I was able to weave in screen recordings with my backyard recording.

I am no Mike Wesch … but I am enjoying humanizing my course a little more.  I am going to let the course get going Monday and get some feedback from my students before recording the final four weeks.

So … here is the one I just added to the course to introduce the 4th week … recorded on July 4th!

Thanks, Mike, for simple tips that really work!  (…and ever notice that your tongue is sticking out at exactly the half way point???)

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