Online Teaching & Technology Blog

Center for Online Learning, Research and Service @ Illinois Springfield

Category: Presentations

Teaching Tips from UIS Faculty

Experienced UIS Faculty shared their teaching experiences as part of the 2017 Faculty Teaching & Learning Academy at UIS.  This program was administered by the Provost’s Office at UIS.


Creating Video Lectures

Narrated lectures, when properly structured and brief, can be a good tool to deliver course content to your students.

Chunk Your Content

We recommend that you “chunk” your lectures into smaller manageable pieces no longer than 5-7 minutes. Chunking accomplishes three things for you. First, by breaking the lectures into brief topics, the likelihood of being able reuse a lecture in another course increases. Second, it is easier to update or re-record a single short video than a longer video. Third, it is easier for your students to find time to sit and concentrate for less than 10 minutes.

Write a Script

Remember to write a script for your lectures. It will help keep you from using verbal fillers and keep your videos brief, but more importantly, the script gives an alternative content piece to present to students who cannot hear your lecture and for visually impaired students. It is also very easy to create captions for your lecture by using the YouTube caption editor.

Use Images & Visual Explanations

Narrated PowerPoint lectures give you the opportunity to present your materials in a visual way, and can help you reach students who are visual learners. Try to include images that enhance your lecture. Replace text descriptions with visual representations of your topic — flow charts, graphs, diagrams, photographs, artwork, maps. Visuals will add value to your lecture and help to keep you from reading every word on your slide — something that students could easily do for themselves.

Creating video lectures using PowerPoint

Voice Training

Aerobics for your voice: Tips for sounding better on-air (NPR Article)

Wrapping Up the Semester – Tips for Teaching Online

Learn our top tips for wrapping up your online course, including the best practices for ensuring good returns on your course evaluations.

Wrapping Up the Semester Handout

Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL)


The Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a highly-interactive, publicly-available and media-rich online writing lab designed to help students make the transition to college-level writing. In 2014, the Excelsior OWL – ESL Writing Online Workshop (WOW) won the 2013 Distance Education Award by the National University Technology Network (NUTN).

The Excelsior OWL offers videos, interactive PDFs, video games, quizzes, Prezis

Home Page and Learning Areas

From the Excelsior OWL Home Page you can access all of the learning areas, as well as “Additional Resources” found in the header, and “Acknowledgements”, found in the footer.

Each learning area has its own landing page, with access to the content, as well as the “How to Use OWL” and “Additional Resources” pages. Depending on the learning area, there may be additional options available on the landing page.

Page Navigation – How to Use the OWL

Once inside a learning area, you will see the online writing lab menu on the left side of the screen. The active learning area is highlighted, at which point all of the topics for that learning area are displayed below it.  Some of the topics have multiple sections.


The built-in quizzes allow students to check their understanding of a particular section of the OWL. Examples include – paraphrasing quiz, punctuation, and digital writing.


For ESL students using the ESL-WOW area of the OWL, they will learn to:

  • Generate Ideas
  • Develop a Thesis
  • Map Ideas
  • Revise, Cite
  • Edit and Polish

Ideas for using the Excelsior OWL for online or blended classes

  1. Send students to individual links within the OWL

For example, if students are to provide an annotated bibliography, provide a link to the Annotated Bibliography page.  Another example, the Literature review section, which includes a prezi.

  1. Refer students back to the OWL in your feedback

For example, if the student has provided a weak thesis statement, you may provide a link to the Thesis section, or a specific section (such as Stating your Thesis) within the Thesis section.

  1. Support student understanding of plagiarism

The Avoiding Plagiarism section of the OWL provides a thorough overview of the topic of plagiarism.  With audio, video, and supporting documentation, students will develop a keen understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.  The pre-test and post-test provide a method for students to track their progress.

10 Tips for Creating Accessible Online Course Content

In our media-centric society, the desire and need for online learning is at an all-time high. However, as more academic content goes online, the industry is running into a stumbling block as they struggle to make their online courses accessible. With recent lawsuits in higher education and updates to Section 508 on the horizon, it is more important than ever that online learning content be made accessible to students with disabilities.

In this webinar, Janet Sylvia, Web Accessibility Group Leader and Web Accessibility Trainer, will provide you with 10 tips for making your online course material accessible.

Janet will cover:

  • The challenges of making online course content accessible
  • The legal landscape for online learning and accessibility
  • Challenges and solutions for instructors and administrators
  • Developing an accessibility statement and accessibility policies
  • 10 tips for creating accessible course content


Janet Sylvia
Web Accessibility Trainer

Sponsored by: 3 Play Media

Download 10 Tips Handout (PDF)

Including Video in an Online Course

Videos can enhance your course by offering examples, explanations of concepts, and can be a visual for your students to refer to when learning new content.

There are several ways to add video to your course:

Hollywood movies or documentaries (copyrighted)

Brookens Library has many films freely available through film collections to which the campus subscribes. If you find a video you would like to include, contact the library for help linking to it in your Blackboard site.

If the film you wish to show is not available in these collections, it may be available in the library’s film collection or available for purchase. The library can work with you to find obtain copyright clearance for the film.

You can also request that your students find a film at a local library or video store. Contact your Brookens Library Liaison for help teaching your students to use the WorldCat database to find films at their local library.

Free videos from the Web

YouTube and are just two of many great sites for free video on the Web. The embed codes provided by sites like these make it easy to add the videos to Blackboard.

To embed a video player from or in your Blackboard course site:

  1. Copy the embed code from the video website.
  2. Go to your Blackboard course.
  3. In the upper right corner of your Blackboard site, make sure Edit Mode is ON.
  4. Click on the content area in which you would like the video to appear (for example, Course Materials or Course Information).
  5. Click on Create Item.
  6. Enter the title of your video next to Name.
  7. In the Text box that appears on the screen, click on the HTML button to view the HTML code.
  8. Paste the embed code you previously copied.
  9. Click Submit.

Create your own video

Check out a digital video camera from ITS or record your screen using Camtasia Relay. Once you have created your video, you need to put up for your students to see it.

Please upload the video to Kaltura Media through Blackboard. Learn more about Kaltura Media here.

Hints about videos in online courses

  • Remember that large files can take a long time to download if a student has dial up internet service. Please be careful not to upload videos directly into your Blackboard course. Always link from an outside source as stated above.
  • Videos should supplement content. Use videos to explain text book content more in depth, create examples of concepts, and extend the learning environment with outside curriculum resources.
  • Other purposes for video in your course might be:
    • Introduce yourself to students
    • Student presentations
    • Specific examples of past projects
    • Feedback on assignments

SoftChalk at UIS

SoftChalk is a tool to help enhance text-based lectures. It allows instructors to “chunk” their content into smaller pages, add images, flashcards, graded or self-test quizzes, and more. Learn more about SoftChalk.

Instructors may access SoftChalk using Citrix Virtual Desktop. View instructions for installing and using the Virtual Desktop app.

Kaltura Media Overview

Kaltura Media is the video management solution at UIS. Faculty and students may upload video from other sources (MS Lync, camcorders or phones) or record web cam and/or screen capture videos through Kaltura Capture Space Lite. A fantastic feature of Kaltura is the statistics for video use. It will tell you the percentage of your video that each student watch, how many times it was access, and the average view time. Across UIS, the average view time for a video is 7 minutes and 35 seconds, which is on the longer side of the recommended 5-7 minute length for video lectures.

For detailed videos on how to use Kaltura, please see the Kaltura Company’s training videos on Kaltura and Capture Space Lite.

UIS Kaltura Resources

Access and Upload Videos to Kaltura Media

Faculty and students access Kaltura Media through Blackboard.

  1. Go to the “My Blackboard” tab and locate the My Media module on the page. Click on “My Media.”
  2. Click on “Add New” and then select “Media Upload.”
  3. Click “Choose a file to upload” and select your file.
  4. Your video will upload automatically. Depending on the size, this may take a while.
  5. After your video uploads, edit the name, description, tags (key words), and privacy settings.
  6. Click “Save”  to complete the upload process.
  7. Follow the steps in this post to add your video a Blackboard course.

Video Lectures

Beginning in Fall 2014, faculty may reserve time in the COLRS Faculty Video Recording Studio to record lectures or interviews. The room is equipped with a high quality video camera, lighting, microphone, green screen, and a computer for editing videos with Camtasia Studio.

Please contact COLRS to discuss your project.


Voicethread is a Web 2.0 tool for conversations around media — images, documents/powerpoint slides, and videos. Students and faculty can make comments using video (from a web cam), audio (upload audio file or phone in comments), or text (typing).

Ideas for Use

  • Icebreakers
  • Interactive lectures
  • Student presentations with authentic peer assessment
  • Group and personal reflections

How to Access

VoiceThread is free for K-12 educators, but not for higher education. Pricing is based on who needs to create and how often.  COLRS purchased a small number of licenses for Voicethread to explore the technology. If you are interested in trying this technology in your class, please experiment with a free account which allows you to create three Voicethreads for free. If you find you use Voicethread heavily, please contact us for a full license.

Helpful Hints

More Information

Viewing Narrated Lectures (Impatica) for Students

This video covers how to us the controls for Impatica lectures. It covers the especially important method for switching between Flash and HTML5 mode for viewing the lecture in different browsers. If you create narrated lectures using Impatica software, you may want to share this video with your students.