Making Educational Videos for Legal Education

Educational videos are becoming one of the most popular online learning formats in K-12 and higher education.  The semester break is a great time to start thinking about how to make educational videos for your courses.

Since last year, I have been working with law professors to begin to incorporate educational videos into legal education.   Together with FWD.us, a group of law professors recently launched a series of educational videos on immigration law and additional videos are currently being produced.  The videos were made by several law professors from a host of law schools, including: Lenni Benson (NYLS), Amanda Frost (AU), Lindsay Harris (Georgetown), Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez (Denver), Laila Hlass (BU), Hiroshi Motomura (UCLA), Michael Olivas (U of Houston), Jayesh Rathod (AU), Philip Schrag (Georgetown), Ragini Shah (Suffolk), Juliet Stumpf (Lewis and Clark), Shoba Wadhia (Penn State), Virgil Wiebe (University of St. Thomas), and Michael Wishnie (Yale).

I learned a lot from making these and other educational videos on law and law teaching.  Many of my colleagues have asked for advice on how to get started.  Over the next 3 blog posts I will detail the 3 easy ways to produce educational videos for legal education together with some lessons learned. The three posts will be on (1) Voiceover Powerpoint/Keynote Slideshow, (2) Screencasting (3) Whiteboard Animated Videos.

Voiceover Powerpoint/Keynote Slideshow

Both Powerpoint and Keynote allow you to record yourself talking over each slide in a slideshow.  It is quite easy to record an audio narration over a Powerpoint or Keynote slideshow.  Open the slideshow on your computer and speak about each slide at your normal pace.  As you move through the slideshow, your voice is recorded.  Then, when you are done, save the presentation as a movie, a function available on both Powerpoint and Keynote.  Here are useful articles about recording narrations over slideshows.

If you use Prezi, the program does not have an embedded system for adding audio.  You will have to record your voiceover using a different program, such a Quicktime or Garage Band and then import the audio clip to your Prezi.  Here is a quick Prezi that walks you through that process.

Watch this slideshare for tips on how to make slides pop.  There are also tools such as Haiku Deck that you can use to create your slides before exporting to Powerpoint or Keynote.

Stock Images

Free Images- These two links list several great resources to find free images for your presentations. Make sure to read the terms of use since each site’s terms may vary slightly.

Paid images- iStockphoto is the largest and best solution for paid images. http://www.istockphoto.com

Pricing depends on the size and quality of image you need.  Getty Images, which has a lot of professional photography, recently announced that its photos can be embedded for free in certain material.  http://www.gettyimages.com/embed

Lesson Learned:  To improve the visual quality of your Powerpoint or Keynote slideshow, use as many images as you can and try to reduce the amount of written text on each screen.  Research on learning sciences teaches us that learners have both an auditory and a visual track.  When they see an image, while listening to a presentation, both tracks are fully engaged.  This is best for retention and transfer.  When text is on the screen, learners use their auditory track to read the text.  Therefore, if you speak as they are reading the text, your students have to make a choice of whether to listen to the narration or to read – they can’t do both at the same time.

What type of images do you use? Do you have any experience with keynote or PowerPoint? Please share with us! If you know of any additional resources add them in the comments below.

At LegalED, we are also looking for teams of law professors to curate (think book editor) video content for the site.  If you are interested in curating a collection of videos in your subject area, please let me know!  You can leave a message in the comment section below.

I’ll have more to share on this topic in future posts.  Don’t forget to follow the conversation @LegalEDweb

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2 Responses

  1. Excellent and interesting content

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