Tim Lorang Blog

Why Would Anyone Videotape a Lecture?

Posted by Timothy Lorang on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 @ 03:00 AM

TED lecturer Wael GhonimIn yesterday’s blog I talked about the success of TED’s approach to videotaping and distributing lectures online. By this time it would seem evident why this was valuable but I still talk to many people in and out of the educational field who feel this is a waste of time. Generally the objections are similar to these:

  • Videotaped lectures cannot replace the classroom experience
  • It’s demeaning to popularize my academic field
  • I don’t want to give up my intellectual property
  • I’m not being paid enough
  • If I can’t get millions of views it is not worth it

Some of the reasons may be legitimate. You will be lucky if most lectures get over a thousand views. The lecture DOES NOT replace the class room, although at the University of Washington when we videotaped lectures for those large lecture classes, typically with 200 to 300 students in a lecture hall, the students who watched the videos had the same grades as the students who attended the lectures.) You’ll need to protect your intellectual property in the same way you do when you publish. Few talk about why they SHOULD video tape lectures, especially short, to the point lectures like those produced by TED. Here are a few reasons:

Reach people outside of academia: There are more people interested than you think. You may not have millions of viewers but would a few hundred of the “right” viewers be worth it?

Present your side of the story: Do you study the life cycle of Lake Woebegone newts or the gamma rays of Vulcan? Is your research often listed on Congressional boondoggle lists? Let voters and the public know why what you do is important.

Draw attention to your school or department: Use the lectures to draw people to your field of study whether they are potential students, faculty or grants.

Give back to the community: A large amount of the research and study that goes on in public and private universities is paid for by public funds. Here is your opportunity to tell the public what you are doing with the money.

Use it as a teaser: If you are this amazing in 15 minutes imagine what your students will learn.

Show it to your mother: She really has no idea what it is you do.

Do not think of the videotaped lecture as a replacement of the classroom. Do not think of it as giving away everything you know. Think of it as a way to reach out, give back and educate.

I would like to hear your reasons for using or not using videotaped lectures. Leave your comments below. If you would like to find out more about using online video, either in an academic or business setting, please contact Image Media Partners for a free consultation.


Photo credit: TED

Training and WorkshopsFree Video of the One Camera Lecture

Topics: Video