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3 Tips to Make Your Online Course Lecture Like A TED Presentation

Posted by Timothy Lorang on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 @ 11:00 AM


TEDx Patti DobrowolskiIn my last blog 5 Ways to Add Variety to Your MOOC Video Classes I gave several examples of how to use video for your online classes and MOOC videos that are not lectures. I do not think that videotaping a lecture is bad, just a tad overused and not always the most effective choice. I think some videotaped lectures are great. A while ago I wrote a blog entitled TED Shows How To Videotape Lectures, and I had the opportunity to produce the video for the TEDXRainer event in Seattle in 2011. From this experience I learned that the TED event organizers approach the videotaped lecture a bit differently than most educators. Some educators and lecturers feel they know their material and years of lecturing before students and their peers have made them comfortable before a large audience. This does not mean that a videotape of their lecture will be as effective as the live lecture. To begin with the experience of sitting in the audience is completely different than watching the same lecture on TV or a computer screen.

TED Lectures

Most TED lectures are just as effective online as they are in person. TED encourages a certain style of lecture that translates well into video. To achieve these results speakers follow some specific guidelines.

  1. Length: Most TED lectures are between 12 and 20 minutes long. Most MOOC video segments are about this long and would fit perfectly into the TED format. Few speakers and topics can maintain an audience’s attention for much longer. Does your topic demand more time? Break up the lecture into smaller segments. This will make it easier for the students to follow the lecture and to find topics and lectures for later review.
  2. Tell a Story: The typical TED lecture is a mini-epic tale with the speaker describing their heroic journey through adversity, setbacks and eventual triumph. Stories have always been a part of teaching and a speaker without a story rarely makes it to the TED stage. Maybe not every topic lends itself to storytelling and not every topic should be given as a videotaped lecture.
  3. Rehearsal: TED lecturers do a lot of rehearsals. Above I mentioned that many educators feel so comfortable with their material that they feel they do not need to rehearse. The problem with videotaping is that you cannot fix the miscued slide or that awkward digression in the next class. TED speakers rehearse their opening, where they will stand, how to use visual aids, transitions, timing and especially how they will end.

If the video for your online class or MOOC is meant to be used over time it should be, like all of your educational materials, of the highest quality and professionalism. The majority of TED lectures stand the test of time, they are informative and enjoyable. Online video classes and MOOC video segments can be like TED lectures with planning and preparation.

What are your biggest challenges in preparing online video classes? Can MOOC video segments be improved? Tell us what you think in the comments section below. If you are searching for ideas to help improve your online video classes contact us for a free video production quality evaluation.

Photo Credit: TEDxRainer   

Topics: Higher Education, Video