Collaborative EdTech for Instructors, Students & Textbook publishers

Three ventures, all involving complex video-editing (see analysis below):

Outline

  1. Site to match educators and video-editors with knowledge of the subject matter, to edit the classroom-lecture-videos and arrange the material as a Youtube channel;
  2. Site designed to present a combination of lecture-based video and text as appropriate for a textbook-replacement in a credit-bearing college-course. Geared for instructors (HS/college) as well as for content-providers.
  3. Site to coordinate a collaborative effort between textbook companies and instructors utilizing their textbooks. Solicited by either instructors or publishers. Process: If an instructor’s course is based on a particular textbook, they video their lectures, tutorials, problem-solving etc and place them on youtube, and then the site associates it as supplementary material for the textbook. If there are many views, and students rate it well etc, there is some kickback from the textbook publisher to the instructor, thus giving value-added to instructors who use a particular textbook. Eventually coursera etc can offer courses and accrediting agencies give credit to combinaitons like this without needing a college etc, so that the textbook company plus instructor become the vehicle for credit (rather than the college). Alternately, the combined video/text material can replace the standard textbook.

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Video-editing Background analysis: There is a large difference between these types of video-courses:

  • a slide-show with narration;
  • video of someone talking in front of a black/whiteboard in an other-wise empty room;
  • video taken during an actual classroom-lecture.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Although the first two can be much more easily created to specification, the last can be most exciting to some students as it makes them part of the class in some sense (and it is always interesting to hear what other students ask or comment, especially when it was what the viewer themselves was wondering about).

However, there are a great many issues which arise when converting a lecture into a video for students to watch on the internet, and the requisite editing is not a task suited to the average instructor. Nor is the required editing suited to the average video-editor:

  • There is a great difference between attending a lecture for a concentrated 90 or so minutes and the typical home-viewer of a video who may be distracted, and be watching segments at different times. And so it may be necessary to separate out topics into smaller sub-videos of about 10 minutes each, not always a trivial task since topics inter-relate, especially when part of one lecture.
  • In a classroom setting the 2nd lecture of the course should include review of the first, this is not appropriate in a video since the student can simply watch the first video as a review. Or the review given in the beginning of the 2nd lecture should be placed together with the first video. Sometimes there are issues which arise later in the course, perhaps misunderstandings manifested during an exam, which are addressed mid-way through the course, but which properly should be part of the beginning. In fact, upon watching my videos, I have sometimes found that the third explanation is best, and have inserted that instead of the first.
  • Often, student questions raise a side-point which is actually a distraction and this discussion is better either left out or placed elsewhere.
  • Instructors can also make mistakes, and then correct them, which is a distraction and should be deleted. I myself have caught a few mis-statements only when watching the video of my lecture. Usually it is something which can cause a bit of confusion – like saying ‘x axis’ when I mean ‘t axis’, or pointing to the t axis when I say x-axis. I believe that students’ brains is eventually understand from the total context, but it is worthwhile correcting these types of errors via editing.
  • There are times when watching my videos that I found myself starting a sentence as an introduction to a topic, but then changing in mid-sentence as something occurred to me as further explanation of the previous topic.
  • Sometimes an explanation could be greatly facilitated by a diagram which can be inserted in the edited version.
  • And so on….

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Service to edit lecture-videos, and arrange the material as a Youtube channel

Since most instructors do not have the technical skills for video-editing – nor the vast amount of time it requires – and video-editors could not possibly make the types of decisions outlined above without being very familiar with the subject-matter, it is necessary for there to be a close collaboration between instructor and editor, and optimally a good understanding by the editor of the subject-matter.

 The site, and the process:

  • instructors create a Youtube channel and upload the unedited videos as ‘private’ (or ‘unlisted’ etc); they categorize the subject matter and level, and specify the knowledge-base required, and the total length in hours of the material;
  • editors register on the site and indicate the topics in which they have close familiarity, or academic background, listing their qualifications (this can be via Linked-in or etc); they upload sample of their work to Youtube (they can also choose them to be ‘private’); they are notified when an appropriate-seeming topic is posted, and can offer their services; the instructor sees their note and can view the editor’s sample videos and cv, and they can interact via the site. The instructor can include the editor as a registered viewer for the videos, and the editor can make some suggestions in order to demonstrate their appropriateness for the task.
  • After choosing an editor, the instructor can upload to the site individual lecture-videos in full-quality for the editor to download; as soon as they do so, they delete the video (as default, the video remains on the site only for some specified maximum amount of time).
  • Standard contracts would be available on the site, and after working together, instructor and editor can rate each other as appropriate. Payments can be arranged via the site, with legal records of all transactions and of the work done. If both sides are satisfied (with the work done, and the payment rendered) after completing the first lecture, they can proceed to the next.
  • Other professionals can be involved, for example consultants who are familiar with other similar courses and who can recommend ways to distinguish one from the other; SEO aspects; ways to monetize; contacts with publishers; etc.

 

(Perhaps this can be for videos of conference proceedings, etc; also, for text-editing as well, preparing manuscripts for publishing using editors with knowledge of the subject-matter;.)

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After editing: Site geared to presenting a combined text/video course as appropriate for a true for-credit college-course.

Youtube by itself is not sufficient, one needs to place various text material before a course, to describe it, and before each lecture as introduction to it, and as Table of contents for the lectures; notes to appear alongside various parts of the lecture; further references; perhaps discussion group chats; button to download a textbook-companion to the lectures; problems, solutions etc.

To those who purchase an accompanying eBook, perhaps additional material can scroll alongside the video …… [does this software exist?]

What exists:  See for example the MIT course  or my playlist, and compare the limitations of this format with my NYU site  as an example of a website which can serve as a template for a course using youtube or video etc as host. Note for those viewing my website, press the “Overview” video (3-minute slide-show), and move the arrow to the end of the video, you will see that the next video on my playlist shows up. Perhaps there need only be one ‘window’ on the website, but with different accompanying text alongside it as each successive video loads…..

See also a somewhat similar layout of this MIT course  where each individual video has a place for associated notes, as on Youtube but more visible.

The combination of text and video can be considered as a form of textbook, sold like an e-book to students taking the course, instead of buying a print textbook from a major publisher; the site will make it look like a nice textbook and arrange for the e-sale, and a percentage goes to the site.

Several instructors can get together on the site to compose their own ‘textbook’ in collaboration, by using video material from both, text from both etc, with graphic artists and diagram-drawers, bibiography and TOC makers etc. People can also offer their services on the site for video editing, marketing courses etc.

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