Tips for Making Accessible Videos

If you plan to include videos of your lectures, or screen recordings demonstrating software or navigation of websites, here are some simple, easy to apply guidelines to keep in mind as you are planning and creating your videos. These simple ideas will greatly improve the likelihood that your students will watch and benefit from your videos.

Chunk Your Media

Instead of recording yourself replicating the long lecture you would do in a classroom setting, review your lecture content and break it down into several short, topic-based videos that are sequenced within a unit in Blackboard (or other LMS). Try to chunk the lecture content into several short videos of no more than 10 minutes each (less if you can manage it!). There are several reasons for this:

  • Most people will simply not watch a long video. The average "watch-time" for all YouTube videos is 4 minutes and 20 seconds, and in general should not exceed 10 minutes--so chunking your videos into shorter segments is likely to increase the likelihood that students will watch the whole thing.
    • Note: Kaltura provides built-in reporting that will enable you to determine which students watched your video(s), and how much of it they watched.
  • Chunking lectures into shorter segments provides the opportunity to intersperse them with short reflective activities or quizzes that can help students encode the new information.
    • Note: Using the Kaltura tool that is built into Blackboard, you can create quizzes that are an interactive part of the video itself. Some research suggests that when videos that contain quizzes are compared to videos that do not, users tend to watch a larger portion of the videos that have built-in quizzes.
    • Research suggests that in-video quizzes have a positive impact on student engagement with the videos. (See "Effects of In-Video Quizzes on MOOC Lecture Viewing" PDF and Video.)
  • When videos are kept short, students can more easily experience a "win" by successfully completing a discrete learning task (i.e. watching a video) within a short time-frame. If a student can't get through a long lecture video in one sitting, it's less likely that they will return to it later to view in its entirety. But if the student can complete the viewing of one short content segment in 5-10 minutes, they may be more motivated to find additional short periods of time to work through the entire series.

Write a Script

If you have delivered a particular lecture many times for a particular course, don't just record yourself delivering the lecture without taking some time to consider the questions that repeatedly come up at certain points. Then write a script that you can follow while narrating the recordings, and include answers to those common questions as part of the script.

Script Your Videos So They Work As "Audio Only"

Inevitably, you will have students in your courses who may only be able to hear the lecture, but may not be able to see (or may have difficulty seeing) what is being shown on-screen. So with this in mind, if you are showing images or demonstrating how to use a website or computer application in your video, be sure to write your script in such a way as to avoid saying things like, "now just click this button at the bottom" or "click this tab" or "we can see the problem in this graph."

Instead, consider how you might need to describe more precisely what it is that is being shown on the screen, in order to describe actions through a spoken description. So using the examples above, you might substitute as shown below:

  • Instead of "Now just click this button at the bottom", you could say "Now you must click the Submit button at the bottom right of the screen."
  • Instead of "click this tab", you could say "click the subtab labeled 'My Media' at the top left of the browser window."
  • Instead of "as we can see from the error in this graph", you could say "the graph shows that the second calculation's result, 74, is incorrect."