recording video on a smartphone

From Super Simple to Deeply Engaging: How Video Can Be Used to Transform Teaching to Build Connections with Students

August 13-14, 2020
Virtual Event

A two-day online Institute focused on the pedagogy and technology for creating videos for your courses

Registration is closed.


As the number of courses relying on online technology dramatically increases, educators are exploring ways to create connections with students in virtual environments. They are considering instructional strategies for providing a sense of presence in the online space and fostering development of learning communities that are essential for students’ success. Research shows that video can be a powerful tool for building presence and community all classes 

The Fall 2020 Teaching Effectiveness Institute is designed to provide opportunities for learning to effectively use video to support flexible teaching and learning, whether you are teaching face-to-face, hybrid, or online courses. The first day includes sessions that focus on planning, recording, and editing of simple video content. Day two extends the conversations by considering different ways to use video and techniques for enriching video. Several sessions will include “mini hands-on” activities that provide participants opportunities to practice simple techniques for recording and editing videos. The final session will be a showcase of participants’ work created during the event and discussion of lessons learned. 

Register once to attend both days! 


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Creating Simple Video: Instructor Presence, Engagement and Building Community

michael-wesch.png"I just could not imagine how any of the special magic of a classroom could be replicated online. I worried about the degradation and ultimate loss of everything I loved about teaching. I started my online teaching journey by experimenting and exploring what could be possible if we imagined our class beyond the limits of the walls of the classroom, and beyond the traditional expectations of what a 'class' should be."

In this opening keynote, Dr. Michael Wesch, Kansas State University, will share his experience using video to transform pedagogy and engagement in his online courses. The techniques have proven so effective and popular with students that they have inspired a radical revision of his in-person teaching as well. Dr. Wesch's hope is that we can not only thrive through this particular cultural moment, but perhaps many of you, like him, will find a love for online teaching and the lasting effect may be better online programs and courses for students who simply cannot join us on our campuses.

Michael Wesch is the creator of the Teaching Without Walls video series which includes the top ranked YouTube video for college online teaching.  The New York Times listed him as one of 10 professors in the nation whose courses "mess with old models" and added that "they give students an experience that might change how they think, what they care about or even how they live their lives."  His videos have been viewed over 20 million times, translated in over 20 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide.  Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including the US Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation, the Wired Magazine Rave Award, and he was named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic.  He is also co-creator of and author of The Art of Being Human, a free and open textbook alternative for Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.

Planning is key to creating a video that has a powerful impact on teaching and learning. This session will address audience analysis, learning objectives, content planning, scripting, and other factors required for successful video development. Plan to achieve results!

You don't need expensive equipment to record video. This session will review techniques for recording video using your smart phone or webcam. You will practice recording a simple video that could be used to increase your presence in any course. Record your presence!

Note: All are welcome to the event. However, to complete the "hands-on" activity, participants will need to have a recording device, such as a smart phone or web cam, and recording app on the device.

Simple editing tools can be used to improve video content and enhance the viewers' experience. This session will review the process for completing simple edits using tools such as Kaltura Editor. Edit for impact!

Note: All are welcome to the event. Participants may choose to edit the video they created during the earlier session or use a video provided by the CITL, which will be available in the resources for the event.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Taking Video to the Next Level: Storytelling, Engagement, Pedagogy, and Social Justice 

Laura VazquezThere is simply no question that our teaching is enhanced by videos that depict who we are even if we dislike facing the camera. As Dr. Wesch so aptly demonstrated, video promotes a sense of community and engages our students in this virtual world. In reality, no one knows this better than the students who sit in our classrooms. From entertainment to educational videos, what they are drawn to is the visual telling of stories. While as faculty we are steeped in subject matter and drowning in content that needs to be shared, sometimes we forget that we exist in a culture that only tells some stories. They tend to be glamorous stories set in fantastic places most of us can't even imagine. Yet we know that there are other stories that need telling. I am humbled to admit that when I ask them, students have compelling stories to share. Today, I will ask you to consider whether there are ways to invite them to tell their stories to create social awareness and empathy in your classroom.

Laura Vazquez received her Ph.D. in Radio, TV and Film from Northwestern University and has been teaching media theory and production courses in the Department of Communication at Northern Illinois University for 20 years. She currently chairs the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women and is also the Undergraduate Director for the Department of Communication. Dr. Vazquez is also the president of the University Film and Video Association.

Vazquez is a documentary filmmaker who has produced several social issue documentaries on topics such as domestic violence and the courts, poverty and homelessness among various populations, sexual assault on college campuses and the politics of healthy food. Her most recent film Think Globally, Act Locally, premiered in October 2015 at the 12th International Pascal Conference in Catania, Italy. It has screened in several festivals including Big Muddy, National Communication Association Social Justice film series and the Illinois International Film Festival. Recently she participated in a multi-institution $200,000 grant from the Wyncote Foundation to oversee the production of student made films on sexual assault on college campuses.

Videos can be produced for different purposes. During this session, you will learn how to select different video approaches to align with teaching and learning goals. We will also discuss how to use student-produced videos for assessments. Align for high impact!

Rich multimodal course content may include quality images, audio and video recordings. This session will include a review of strategies for enriching video by effectively using multimodal content aligned with course goals. Multimodal mashup for teaching and learning!

The final session of the Institute will include a showcase of work created by participants during the 2-day period. The Institute will conclude with a discussion of lessons learned and next steps. Teaching Effectiveness Institute videopalooza!

Registration Information

One registration provides access to both days of the Institute. The Institute is open to NIU faculty, instructors, and SPS and Civil Service staff. Please register by the deadline so that we can ensure you have access to the technology used for the virtual Institute.

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, August 11, 2020. Registration is closed.

After you register, if you are unable to attend, please cancel your registration by Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions? View answers to commonly asked questions below.


Who is the Teaching Effectiveness Institute designed for?
The fall Teaching Effectiveness Institute is typically offered as either a full-day workshop or two half-day workshops, centering on a teaching-related topic. We invite presenters who are well-known for their expertise and experiences in higher education teaching. The Institute will engage faculty and provide material that will be immediately applicable in their teaching. The Institute is geared toward those who are new to teaching as well as experienced faculty wanting to learn about new and exciting teaching topics.
What will I need to be able to participate in the institute?Updated

You will need a computer with speakers or headphones for the live sessions, or a smartphone (Android or iOS). You will need a webcam or microphone to share your audio or video with other participants, but this is not required. There is a text chat for discussion if you do not have a microphone built in to your computer or headphones. You will also need a reliable Internet connection. You may be able to come to campus to connect to the Institute if you do not have a reliable Internet connection at home. Be sure to follow the guidelines for returning to work on campusIf you cannot come to campus, check out the State of Illinois’ drive up Wi-Fi map tool, which provides geographic locations for public drive-up WiFi hotspots in Illinois.

You will need a smartphone or webcam to participate in the hands-on activities, to be able to record a few short video clips.

Is there a fee for attending the Teaching Effectiveness Institute?Updated
There is no fee for attending the Teaching Effectiveness Institute; the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning offers the institute free of charge. However, it is expensive to provide the Institute, not to mention the time our staff devotes to planning and executing the program. The center does not receive student fees or grants to fund the Teaching Effectiveness Institute and other programs. Therefore, we would appreciate that you attend as much of the Institute as possible. If, after you register, you know that you will be unable to attend, please cancel by the deadline so that those on the waiting list can be given the opportunity to register and/or program expenses can be reduced.
Where can I park to attend the Teaching Effectiveness Institute?Updated
Because it is fully online, you may attend the Teaching Effectiveness Institute from anywhere, so you do not have to come to campus to attend. If you need to be on campus to have a reliable Internet connection, you can park in the visitor pay lot located on Carroll Avenue for a fee for the day. Alternatively, you can purchase a parking permit for the following academic year or semester from Campus Parking Services and use it to park in the parking deck located on Normal Road or any of the approved lots. For more information, visit the Campus Parking Services website. 

Be sure to follow the guidelines for returning to work on campus. If coming to campus is not feasible, check out the State of Illinois’ drive up Wi-Fi map tool, which provides geographic locations for public drive-up WiFi hotspots in Illinois.
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