Become an Innovative Online Nurse Educator

Orienting Students to Your Online Course - 3 Part Series - Part 1: Creating an Orientation Video

Dec 10, 2019

Teaching an online course isn't easy, but neither is taking an online course. Why not make it easier for your students! It's no secret that retention rates in online courses are significantly higher than face to face courses. There are many factors that could account for this such as the need for high levels of proactiveness, time management skills and self-motivation among learners. Additionally support, communication and presence from the online instructor can also be key for students in determining whether or not to continue in an online course. 

One of the things an instructor can do to help students be successful in an online course is to help them get off to a good start with an orientation video. If students start off bad, they tend to continue on that path without intervention. However, getting them started in a positive way can make the difference between them being successful or withdrawing from your course. 

An orientation video doesn't have to be a daunting or scary task. Think of it as taking someone on a tour of your house, except it is a virtual tour and instead of showing them different rooms in your house, you're showing different sections of your course.

What you will need:

For a project such as this you really only need some type of video and audio capture tools.

  • Audio Capture: Most computers come with a built-in microphone but you can also choose from other options like these:
  • Video capture: There are many video capture options you can choose from to record the actual video. Here are some options:
    • Screencast-o-matic (Cost-free for up to 15 minutes)
    • Zoom (using the Record and screen share options) (Cost-free for up to 40 minutes)
    • Camtasia (this is what I use because I received a free license from my college) (Cost- $249)

What to include in the orientation video:

Similar to your house tour, you will take students on a journey exploring the different sections of your course. Walk them through all the sections and let them know what they can find and when to use the resources that can be found.

  • Tips:
    • Walkthrough one Course Module explaining the set-up. For instance if your course has 15 modules (your actual course content / lessons) and they each have a similar set up, you don't have to review each one; just give an overview of one and explain that the others will be similar.
      • DO NOT explain every assignment and how to complete them. This will make the orientation video unnecessarily long and can be done in a separate video.
    • Walkthrough the assignment and the discussion board sections so students know where to locate them.
      • DO NOT explain how to upload an assignment or how to make a discussion board post / comment. This can also be done in a separate video.
    • Walkthrough the Resources sections
      • DO NOT open every link here. Just explain when a student would need to use this section.

Continue walking though each tab/section of your course simply explaining what it contains. You can create additional videos explaining how to use individual sections later on. Remember, we don't want to overwhelm students, just give them a brief overview. I would recommend the orientation video be no more than 15 minutes long.

Are you thinking of making an orientation video? Have you ever made one before? Share your thoughts in The Online Educator Facebook group.

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