Student Use of Online Video – Your Questions Answered!

On Thursday, December 11, SAGE’s Elisabeth Leonard, Executive Market Research Manager, presented in a webinar about the use of video as a tool for students and in today’s learning environmenst. Check out the recorded webinar above and click through the slides and #SAGETalks twitter conversation below.

We were delighted that many of the webinar’s audience members participated in our Q&A session. Because we were unable to address all the questions during the webinar, Elisabeth took some time to answer here on SAGE Connection.

1.       Are there data about what percentage of an assigned video is generally watched by students before they give up or get distracted (on average)?

Students tell me that they are easily distracted and that they will give a video anywhere between 2-8 minutes.  Very few students say that they will voluntarily watch an entire 60-90 minute video.

2.       Have you ever heard from students about “serendipitous” viewing, where students come upon video at a particular location and learn more about a topic that way?

I used to hear that a lot about finding books in the stacks!  It seems like that is lost a bit in the virtual environment, but some students do find following links to related videos useful.   I have not yet heard from a student who is watching a list of educational videos gathered together on a website (on a YouTube channel for example), just to watch them.  In that way, serendipity seems to apply for watching recreational videos, rather than educational video.

 3.       How can we strike a balance between the needs of non-traditional students and the tech-savvy students of today?

I am not an expert in instructional design or in learning theory, but I think this can be done in several ways, and the first is to recognize that nontraditional does not necessarily indicate that a student is not tech savvy.  Similarly, traditional aged students may feel more comfortable with technology, but they may not be tech savvy either!  However, I recognize that for many nontraditional students, technology can present an unexpected and difficult hurdle.

When I have been asking students what their problems are with streaming videos, they mention that they have problems finding a good video, that they want a video that doesn’t speak down to them, and that they want videos that they can easily embed into their presentations.  These are issues that transcend students’ age!

What I think this means for anyone producing video is to remember that there should be a wide range of people and topics represented in video (people identify with people like them), that platforms need to be easy to use and designed by applying universal design principles, and that metadata is incredibly important in order for the right videos to be found.  Traditional students don’t always have the patience to find the best resource or to work around a platform to conduct a task and a nontraditional student may experience increased anxiety unnecessarily if the tasks aren’t easily performed.

There is an interesting article on nontraditional students and educational technology in a recent Educause Review that you might find useful if this is a topic you want to pursue:

4.       The student who attends a video club – what type of videos are they watching?

It depends on the week!  Members get to choose what to watch and they take turns picking the videos.  It sounded like they were mostly watching documentaries and feature films.

5.       Did you interview any non-English speakers from Europe?

Unfortunately, my foreign language skills aren’t up to the task!

6.       We seem to get lots of questions whether the YouTube terms of use allow classroom use.  Is this more of a Canadian concern?

I haven’t heard it come up in any of the librarian interviews I have conducted, but that is not to say it is only a Canadian issue.  I would love to hear from others on this question!

7.       I wonder to what degree not using the library for video is a factor of libraries NOT cataloging video. 25% do not catalog streaming video at all…. larger numbers do not catalog term license, etc. (Per Survey of Academic Library Streaming Video). Thoughts?

I wish I believed that cataloging video would change how students search, but very few students are expecting their library to offer streaming video so they aren’t even trying to search the library.  For those students who are searching for library holdings, adding title level catalog records can certainly help students, especially if your discovery layer includes those records.

In the meantime, I think the more librarians can educate faculty about the libraries’ collections, the more those collections can be embedded into the student experience,  and the more that both discovery and usage will increase.

8.       Would putting the video in a course management system help? Students here say they can’t live without Moodle.

Yes!  I think embedding the videos anywhere the faculty and the students are is an easy way to make sure they find and use the videos.  The next step will be how you can make sure they are aware that the library has funded the videos they are using so that the value of the library isn’t lost as the experience becomes more seamless for your users.

9.       Sounds like SAGE is coming out with videos on Counseling, Education, and Media & Communications in April 2015 – any hints on what this will be or how this research will impact those products?

Yes, we are applying what we are learning from faculty, students, and librarians.  For us, the research we have conducted with faculty has led to the creation of original videos that address the need for engaging instructional videos that discuss concepts, videos that show how to do something, video case studies, and even short video definitions that can be embedded into a learning management system so that faculty can illustrate how a single concept can have multiple definitions.  In this way, faculty can use a segment of a SAGE video during class or assign a video to be watched prior to class, moving from a video that discusses a concept to a video that illustrates that concept being applied in a real-world setting.

This idea of creating a video that discusses a concept and also creating a video that illustrates the concept applied in a real world setting appeals to students.  Students are searching for videos to help them prepare for an exam, so having great AND knowledgeable speakers can provide a breakthrough moment that students need.  Additionally, one student told me that she can get good grades on her exams, but she still doesn’t understand what the real world applications are for the advanced concepts she is studying. When she looks for videos that illustrate real world applications, she has a hard time finding them (but she can find similar videos for more introductory concepts).

For students, and for the librarians who often represent them, we are addressing platform issues, as well as ensuring that our videos are current and appealing.  Features and functionalities we have added due to the research include the ability to clip videos (and adding video tutorials on how to embed a SAGE video into PowerPoint because so many students tell us they can’t successfully embed a YouTube video into PowerPoint), to have transcripts that auto-scroll along with the video in order to address the issue students have of not fully understanding what a speaker is saying, the ability to speed up or slow down the video, and the ability to download the transcript so that students who want to analyze the text can do so easily.

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