Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fail to plan is plan to fail!

Mr. Franklin was very right, a good plan is very important for a successful outcome. This is absolutely right when we are talking about the creation of videos for an online course.
In the past I have done my share of video on the moment, with outcomes that sometimes were very disastrous, taking so much time for cleaning up the videos from pauses, stumbling thoughts, and so forth.

Planning a good video is a task that requires time and effort for doing it right.
Various elements that needs to be considered in the planning process are
  • Time-frame - Best practices recommend to stay within the 3 minutes but depending on what you are trying to present, sometime you need more time. No matter what, try not to go over 7 minutes.
  • Consider what you want to present to your audience: what are the sections of the course you want to show or highlight? Why?
  • Focus on the anchors of the course, the important elements that every student should be familiar with right from the start.
  • WRITE it DOWN! Yes, it is important to do it! Yes, often we THINK we know what we are going to say, but the truth is that when we start recording ourselves we can so easily get sidetracked and loose the target we had in mind the at the beginning. The result usually is a very unpleasant and not very functional waste of time!
    Write down what you want to present in a script. Educational Use of Digital Storytelling  is a great site for finding resources for this process, including templates for the storyboard of your video. I like the simplicity of the second version of the Word template found in the middle of the article.
  • Evaluate which tools you ave available for recording your work, compare pros and cons depending on the situation. Sometime you need to make a podcast on the fly, so you are willing to sacrifice on quality of image or sound, while if you have the time and the access to a good video/screen recording tool, is worth to spend the extra time for doing a good final product.
    Personally I like to use Camtasia Studio for creating my videos. It requires some editing, but it has great potentials!
Here below you can see an example of SCRIPT I have done for an introductory video for my new courses, and the final product of the video.
SCRIPT - Introduction to Mrs. Pokryfki's courses

Sure, every project has to have a good share of challenges to deal with. In my case, for this specific video I came upon a good variety.
1. Do not give for granted that the content of your course will be the same next year ... with the Foreign Language department curriculum review will come new material - I am very excited about this, but I will discuss it in another post - therefore the video I have created right now might not be accurate next year.
2. Do not give for granted that the LMS interface will be the same next month!Just last Friday I was informed that in January we will be moving to the new interface which means that all the videos we have made new last August will be to be redone!
3. Plan in advance a general script and be ready to adjust it at the last minute since you do not always have access to the new interface long before students roll in your courses.

These are some of the challenges you might encounter, but I am sure that there can be more to add to the list.... Bottom line, be ready like a Kong-Fu Panda for attacking the content and create your videos :)


  1. You have such a wonderful camera personality! Your video was so organized and accessible.

    1. Thanks Nicole... it is because of the planning :)