What Makes a Good Video? By Emily Spicer

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Date of Publication: 06 May 2019

A few weeks ago, I attended a conference at Oxford University which was all about video. So far, so dull. Video is nothing new. VHS video tapes launched in the 1970s and now look like a museum relic - how many of you even know what a VHS tape is?

But never has video been so present, so accessible and so much part of our everyday.

Have you ever wondered how many snippets of video you watch every day? What if you added up your time spent on Netflix, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and even unwanted video ads? Video really is all around us.

It’s never been easier to shoot video, edit it, and share it. It’s a matter of seconds.

But as I gathered with academics, videographers, and media production specialists from around the UK to discuss video in education at Oxford University’s Said Business School, I realised that video is not always effective.

We all know that video can be – quite frankly – boring. Unengaging. Not enough to hold our attention.

How often have you been watching something on Netflix but still found yourself reaching for your phone because the stuff on the screen in front of you just wasn’t quite enough? Or do you ever just watch half of an Insta-story before losing interest?

Switching off is fine in your everyday life, but what if you are switching off to important educational content? What if poorly thought-out, uninteresting video was causing you to miss out on learning something amazing?

As I heard from people experienced in delivering video to students, like James Youdale at the University of York, and Kate Francis at Kings College London, I was inspired. Small tweaks make a big difference in video.

James shared that students learn best from video when they are helped in understanding how to best take notes and use the video experience.  Kate told us that students often get more out of video when they know where it’s going, and why they are watching it. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But it’s easy to get it wrong.

This week, partly spurred on by the conference at Oxford University, I’ve been speaking to some of you – our alumni – about what makes a good online course, including what makes a good video. And I’m excited; you guys are full of good ideas.

Here at Oxford Summer Courses we want our students to experience truly innovative education. But we also want it to be effective. For you to go away changed. Having learnt something new. Having had your curiosity piqued, your mind stretched, and your attention held.

As we plan our new online courses and think about some of the possible elements – video being just one – we want to make sure we’re giving you the best. Exciting, interesting content, which will keep you watching and – more importantly – allow you to learn and reach your full potential. We want to combine good ideas with groups of students empowered to learn together, and make the experience truly connected.

What do you think makes a really good video? What keeps you watching? What makes you switch off? Tweet us here or drop me an email.

* Added note: We are very pleased to announce that our online courses have now launched. Please visit the Melio Education website to find out more!

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