How long did it take to create the online lectures and quizzes?

I estimate that, once I figured out how to do everything, it took me an average of 20 hours to produce 1 hour of video and the related quiz questions. The whole course had approximately 30 hours of video, so this was a huge undertaking. Note, however, that the online lecture videos are only 50-70% as long as comparable live lectures (because they are carefully scripted, with no time wasted while thinking of a good example or while rephrasing something that just didn’t come out well the first time).

Why does it take so long to create online lectures?

Much of the time was spent re-creating the PowerPoint files to eliminate most of the bullet points and replace them with interesting graphics that changed relatively rapidly. I also spent a great deal of time writing and rewriting the script for each lecture so that it would be maximally clear, concise, and interesting. Actually shooting the lectures takes some time, and additional time is spent editing. I had paid undergraduate assistants help with some aspects of the production, including creating the “sidebar notes” that appear along the side of each lecture. However, I had to carefully go over everything at the end.

Do you need to show the “talking head” in the video?

Yes, at least for much of the time. Research shows that it makes a difference, and it really helps create a bond between the instructor and the students (which is reinforced when the students interact with the instructor in the discussion sections). However, it’s much easier to record and edit audio without the video, and about 30% of the lecture segments contain audio of the instructor without the corresponding video.

Is this course a MOOC?

No. A MOOC (massive open online course) is online-only, and it is offered for free to anyone who wants to take it. This is a hybrid course that integrates online and face-to-face instruction, and it would not be as effective if taught online only. Enrollment is limited to registered UC Davis students, and the materials are available only to enrolled students.

What is a hybrid course?

A hybrid course involves substantial online and face-to-face components (maybe at least 25% of one and no more than 75% of the other). A large meta-analysis conducted by the U.S. Department of Education finds that hybrid courses are superior to both traditional and fully online courses.

Do you need to include subtitles for the lectures?

Yes. This is an ADA requirement. Beyond that, many students without any disabilities benefit from seeing the subtitles (e.g., when they are having trouble understanding technical terminology). In addition, if you use YouTube to deliver the lecture videos, it can automatically translate your subtitles into hundreds of different languages. This is great for students for whom English is not their first language. The translations are far from perfect, but they can be very helpful in combination with the spoken English and the English subtitles.

Up next: Hints for Creating a Hybrid-Format Course