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This content was published: January 22, 2018. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Video resources and customizing the start/end time

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What is your preferred method of presenting instructional content to students? Textbook? Text lectures with images? Publisher resources? Website resources including text, podcasts, video? Self-created audio or video lectures? Research shows that it is a good practice to offer a variety of instructional materials to students, which will allow students with various learning styles to interact with the content in different ways. Indeed, this is also specified in Quality Matters Standard 4.5: A variety of instructional materials is used in the course.

In my role of guiding instructors in course design at PCC, I have the opportunity to look at numerous courses every term, and it’s interesting to see the varying approaches to making content available to students. I’m seeing an increasing number of courses that offer instructional materials in a variety of forms, including online video resources. If you find that your course is rather text heavy, I encourage you to explore other resources that are already created that can be used to engage students with your content.

One relatively simple yet effective way to embellish the variety of instructional materials is to make use of free educational videos already available. This is a simple first step instead of immersing yourself in the time consuming effort of creating your own. In order to narrow your search, here are 10 video repositories that are worth looking at. (Oh, and if you know all of this, don’t miss the crucial tip at the end of this list.)

  1. YouTube – University Channel
    YouTube is massive, so start your search at the YouTube University channel. This one is further subdivided by specialties such as social sciences, math, science, history, business, arts, law, medicine, and education.
  2. NPR channel organized by playlists
  3. National Geographic channel
  4. BBC News
  5. Wireless Philosophy (Collection of videos about knowledge, ethics, skepticism…)
  6. TED
  7. TED-Ed (TED talks with an educational focus, some including lessons and materials)
  8. Top Documentary Films (over 3,000 films categorized and rated)
  9. Khan Academy (excellent collection of instructional videos)
  10. Vimeo (another large repository, searches can be filtered by category)

Crucial tip!

This tip is what makes many of these videos usable, the icing on the cake…

The problem

I found this excellent video to use with my class, but it’s 55 minutes long! There’s a 7-minute segment I’d like to use, which is still pushing the limit since the attention span for viewing maxes out about that point. It’s cumbersome telling students where to start and where to stop. Isn’t there an easier way?

One solution

Yes, here’s something you can do that works on YouTube videos. Here are the simple steps, and there’s a short video demonstration below.

  1. Open youtubestartend.com
  2. Paste in the YouTube link at the top center, and click on Preview Video.
  3. Enter your exact start and end time information, minutes/seconds.
  4. Click on Submit.
  5. Click on Copy Link, and paste it in into the desired location in your course in D2L Brightspace.

Note: This does not crop the video. It simply sets the starting point, and cuts it off at the end point. Students can still move the video time slider to any point in the video to watch more.

Here’s my quick video demonstration of the above steps.

A final point… this is the simplest method, and it’s only used for linking to the video. The same can be done by manually modifying the URL. The video could be embedded as well, but that’s another lesson. If you have an immediate need for help with that, feel free to contact me. Any of the ITS could help with that as well.

For more details on finding educational videos, check out my source article from Online Classroom, “Best Sources for Free Educational Videos” by John Orlando, December 2017. Access to all Online Classroom articles is super easy, right through D2L.

  1. Log into D2L
  2. Find the “Instructor Resources” menu at the top, and select “Access Magna Publications.”
  3. Click on “Online Classroom Archives.”

About Greg Kaminski

Online Learning: online course design consultant, coordinator of Online Faculty Mentors, Quality Matters facilitator, interactive teaching practices enthusiast. more »

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x (Comment #31862) by Peter Seaman 4 years ago (Comment #31862)

Thanks, Greg, for these excellent tips. I did want to make one comment about the idea of “learning styles.” I’ve come to think of them more as “learning preferences” than styles. In other words, there are certain ways we may prefer to learn, but they are not deterministic, by which I mean that an auditory learner can learn ONLY by listening, and a visual learning only by seeing, etc.

An excellent article on this subject began:

“The basic idea behind the use of ‘Learning Styles’ is that learners can be categorized into one or more ‘styles’ (e.g., Visual, Auditory, Converger) and that teaching students according to their style will result in improved learning. This idea has been repeatedly tested and there is currently no evidence to support it.”

To read the rest of the article:



x (Comment #31873) by Greg Kaminski 4 years ago (Comment #31873)

Thanks for adding this point Peter, and the link to the article. I have read about this in recent research. Perhaps a better way for me to phrase it is that students have options for how they consume or interact with the content. The phrase “learning preferences” makes sense as well.