One of the key benefits of teaching online is being able to review your class recording. This article explores ways of using the recordings to improve your presentation style and class delivery.
Approaches for Improving your Teaching
Video recordings are a valuable resource for improving your teaching. While normally the hassle of recording an in-person class makes this prohibitive, the integrated recording feature in online classes removes the challenges in capturing and reviewing your class. Some broad areas that reviewing class recordings can help improve include:
- Presentation Style: Using the class recording to identify ways of improving your delivery of the content. As discussed below, key areas that you can focus on improving from reviewing class recordings include reducing your usage of filler words, improving your eye contact, or improving your office backdrop.
- Class Structure: It can be useful to experience the class as your students do. Reviewing the overall structure of your classes may help identify areas that seem repetitive or drawn-out, areas where more explanation or examples would help, or opportunities of increasing student engagement by ‘mixing the class up’ with variations in activities.
- Class Content: Class recordings are a great resource when preparing to repeat the class again – not only may reviewing the recording help speed the process of class preparation, but systematically reviewing the content can help identify areas that you may be able to improve in subsequent iterations.
While you are unlikely to find reviewing class content fun – few people enjoy listing back to their own voice – it can prove a valuable approach for improving the class.
Reducing filler words
A common distraction for students is a educator using filler words – ‘umm’, ‘ahhh’, ‘uhhh’ and ‘like’. Although occasional filler words may be inevitable, you may notice substantial use when reviewing your recording that becomes distracting from the presentation.
A key challenge of reducing filler words is that you may not be aware of using them – indeed, they are generally used without us realizing. Reducing a tendency to use filler words may not be easy, but becoming aware of the issue can be an important first stage: The greater your awareness of your natural tendancy to use filler words, the easier it is to focus on removing them when presenting. This is where the class recording can be useful.
If you have a substantial tendance, one useful approach is to count the number of times that you use filler the words in a minute or two minute period. You may be surprised how often you use the words – it may be as high as once every few seconds. Becoming aware that your tendance to ‘umm’ or ‘ahh’ is substantial can help you concentrate on ‘catching’ your-self using the words when presenting.
Improving eye contact
Another key component of your presentation style that it is important to be aware of, and maybe especially in online presentations, is your eye contact. With many different applications loaded on-screen, it is easy to spend the whole class looking away from the webcam, with little direct student eye-contact.
While reviewing other loaded applications may be necessary, including monitoring student attempts to participate, it is also important to ensure at least periodic focus on the webcam camera.
Reviewing the class recording can be an important way of identifying periods where you appear to be looking away from the students. As with using filler words, being aware of attendance to look away is an important first step to concentrating on addressing it; if the recording indicates that most of the time students can see more of your hair than eyes, then this should be an indicator of a need to work on this component of your presentation style.
Improving your office backdrop
Another area to examine when reviewing your presentation is your backdrop. It is easy to assume that small clutter will not be noticeable – seeing how students see your office can be an important motivator to ensure that background distractions are removed.
If you can see clutter when reviewing your presentation, your students can also – make sure that you spend those extra few minutes before class starts tidying your office area and removing any unnecessary items.
Although you are unlikely to find reviewing your class recordings fun, and it is something that is easy to put off doing, they can be a great resource when looking to improve your presentation style and class content. Taking the time to examine your presentation style is an important step in identifying key areas to work on, and being able to continually assess progress towards improving your delivery of class content.
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