Time is the commodity, which none of us seems to have enough of. For those who make their own class videos, I’d like to save you some time. Based on most cloud based video services, the average watch time of a video is 2:03. When we’re thinking about educational videos I like to think of this as the maximum per video in an introductory or 100 level course, perhaps adding about 2 minutes per course level maxing out at around 10 minutes. However, different disciplines may have different student demographics, and for those faculty I’d like to show you a way to check out how much your students are watching.

When you first login to BlackBoard, on the left, usually at the top is the My Media option, click on it.

Blackboard login screen My Media in upper right corner

You will then see a list of your media you use in your class, select one of the videos to click on. Either click on the video or the video title.

Video title Intro of Vance Martin with corner of video image showing you can select either

Below the video on the right is a back button and an actions drop down menu, select the actions drop down menu and select analytics.

actions dropdown menu, analytics is third option

You will then see the analytics for the video.

general metrics showing 29 visits, 24 views, 38% dropoff rate, average view time 10:43

There is some interesting data about the video, which is about 27 minutes. It has been visited 29 times, and played 24 times. To protect student information I am not showing that on the right of the analytics screen you can see which students played the video, and the number of times they did so. Several students played the video a few times.

I think the most useful piece of information here is that the students stop watching about 38% of the way through the video, at 10:43. About 16 minutes of the video is unviewed. So how can I use this data to improve my videos, and help my students learn more? I can do one of two things:

  • I can edit and split this video into three smaller videos of about nine minutes each which should be lower than the 10:43 overall. Then next semester see if the average view time overall for the three videos has increased.
  • I can see what I am covering in the video, and rerecord it in one smaller segment or several smaller segments aiming for each to be under 10:43. Then next semester see if the average view time overall for those videos has increased.

So where does the time savings come in? If we know the average overall time our students are watching our videos and we make them within that range, then can save that time to create a shorter, better video they will be more likely to watch entirely.

And to bring this back to accessibility I’d like to point out two things:

  • If you’re reshooting your videos, please think about adding audio descriptions to the video. In practice this means if you’re using images, , talking through a PowerPoint, or walking through something on your computer in the video describe what you are doing.
  • It usually takes around three times the runtime of a video to accurately caption it. So a ten minute video takes about thirty minutes to caption, an hour video, three hours. If we make more succinct videos the captioning time overall is decreased.

A final note. On the analytics screen in the upper right there is a dropdown menu which should default to 30 days. You can choose the amount of time the analytics cover. So if you are looking back on a Fall video, select Last 365 days, if you’ve used it for several years use the custom setting and go back as far as you want.

Last days drop down menu, 7, 30, 120, 365 or custom options