With the expansion of education into online environment, one of the challenges an instructor faces is seemingly impersonal character of online learning. To overcome this barrier, instructors record their lectures, presentations, notes and feedback and publish them in their courses for students to watch. Even though using media in online education is an excellent way to provide students with engaging instruction, instructors often have difficulties with the technical portion of media production. In this blog entry, I will give you tips for creating online presentations that are effective from a visual and sound point of view.
- Font – use sans serif for text on screen. Arial is a font that is easier to read online than Times New Roman.
- Color – for online presentations, use solid light background and dark color text. Try to use no more than 3 colors and remember, white is a color, too (use it!).
- Layout – your online material needs to be clear and well structured. Consider using tables, charts, and graphics. When you use graphics, use only relevant images and place them in a structured manner with a lot of white space around them.
- Equipment – have headsets of high quality. Do not have the microphone too close to your mouth, but to the side and slightly lower than your lips.
- Drink – try not to drink anything while you’re recording. However, if you are recording a longer lecture, you might need to drink something to moisturize your vocal cords. Drink water with no ice in it, ice is noisy in the glass and it freezes up your vocal cords. Coffee should be without creamer and sugar, they gum up your mouth, which makes disturbing noises when recording.
- Strategies while recording – when you are recording, do not pause too long, keep talking, otherwise your audience will think there is something wrong with their equipment. Maintain energy while recording, enthusiasm is contagious. Smile even though nobody can see you, your students can hear a smile in your voice.
When creating online presentations, it is not enough to know the content and have the right equipment. It is what you do with the content and the equipment that makes a difference in your students’ academic lives.