Neljä hymyilevää ihmistä seisoo vihreän taustan edessä. Ympärillä kuvaustekniikkaa.

Imagination is the only limit in using video in education

The University of Oulu is making more video clips for teaching purposes than ever before. Video can be used to improve the quality of education.

The number of video clips produced by the University of Oulu has increased steadily over the past 18 months, ever since studio services have been free of charge for teaching purposes. Video is an increasingly familiar teaching format for teachers. The videos feature hundreds of experts, and some of them come from outside of the university.

The university’s Vimeo account already features 1,400 highly-viewed videos. Over the past year, the videos have been viewed 77,000 times, amounting to a total viewing time of 13,200 hours. Translated into ECTS credits, the total viewing time would earn nearly 490 credits.


Improved interactions

It is important to approach the video by considering how it will be used by the teaching entity. The idea is not to make videos of the entire lecture series but rather only of the appropriate portions of it.

“No video can replace the teacher or the course. Pedagogically, the most important thing is that the video is interactive in some way,” says educational IT service manager Paula Vaskuri.

The student’s assignment may be to, for example, comment on the video or write a summary or an analysis. One option is to assign students to watch the video before the lecture so that they already possess the basic information when they enter the lecture hall. That way, the lecture can focus on advanced analysis and discussion.

“Face-to-face meetings are valuable time, which should not be spent on one-way communications,” says designer Antti Peltonen.


Importance of bite-size information

At the studio, the aim is to make videos 6–10 minutes long. Based on studies on the use of pedagogical video, the viewing intensity greatly decreases after 9 minutes. This is in line with the university’s video statistics; the average viewing time has been approximately 10 minutes.

“People watch 60–80 per cent of the video, which is a good percentage compared to, for example, entertainment materials,” says IT user support specialist Harri Hämeenkorpi.

Therefore, teaching videos apportion information carefully. One video is made of one topic, and the essential information is expressed clearly and succinctly.

“In a video, the topic is handled in a more condensed format. It might take three times as long to go over the same topic in the lecture hall,” says Hämeenkorpi.

In a video, the teacher does not need to worry about breaks to internalise the information because students can always pause the video if they want to. The teacher can also ask the viewer to pause the video so that they can study a diagram or other material at length.


Kameran näytöltä näkyy neljä ihmistä studiossa.

Pictured: Antti Peltonen, Kalervo Kalliorinne, Harri Hämeenkorpi and Paula Vaskuri.


Opportunities opened by a variety of videos

There are many different types of videos. The most common type features a teacher with teaching materials in the background. There are also interviews, videos shot in a laboratory, play-acting various situations, screen-capture videos or short animations. It is possible to link one’s own videos and images to a teaching video.

“Imagination is the only limit. With video, you can show things and not just tell about them,” says Vaskuri.

If a highly qualified expert is coming for a visit, they can be asked to stop by the studio while there. The visiting expert’s core message can be used in video format also at a later date.

Although there are all kinds of technological solutions, the teacher should not completely efface themselves.

“Based on feedback, 95 per cent of students want to see the teacher’s face in a video,” says Pelkonen.

Approximately one-half of the views are on a mobile device. This should be considered in the design, avoiding small text sizes. Visible keywords make for easier viewing.

“In our concept, the teacher has the content and we have the technical execution,” says Hämeenkorpi.


You can be yourself in videos

Being videotaped feels difficult at first, but you will quickly get used to it. After the first time, many people get excited and start seeing more opportunities in videos.

“No one has ever said that they will never come again,” says IT designer Kalervo Kalliorinne with a laugh.

There is no need to be nervous about shooting the video because any blunders can always be redone. The idea is also not to lecture by rote but rather to act naturally.

“It is better to think of it like you’re making a video blog. You can bring notes, a cup of coffee or even a friend,” says Hämeenkorpi.

The more effort you put into making the video, the more versatile it will be and the better it will stand the test of time. It is usually not worthwhile to make a video that will only be used once.

Videos are generally seen as professionally positive. You can rehearse being on video by making an introductory video for a course, for example. By using videos, it is possible to change a course piece by piece.

Last updated: 29.10.2020