“Lectures presume that all students learn at the same pace and are at the same level of understanding.…” (Bonwell, 1996)
The one-time in-person lecture has several limitations– students can miss part of the idea while taking notes, mishear or get an incorrect take-away understanding, students will tune out at some point regardless of lecturer prowess (Middendorf & Kalish),  underprepared students can not get benefit due to missing scaffolding remediation needs, and or some have legit life events that allow them to miss class entirely.


Create & Offer 24/7 on-demand , recorded mini-lecture “chunks” that explain specific material or concepts. This offers both students and you as the Instructor flexibility… from when and how key material can be reviewed/ clarified between shifts or appointments to freeing up how live classtime can be used for more powerful learning activities to giving struggling students a resource to do self-remediation as needed. This goes to the Supporting/ Emphasizing Student Time on Task as well as building the stickiness for retention of your course.

  1. Target a max of 10 minutes for each topic “chunk” recording
    students will listen to shorter podcasts (five to 12 minutes) more than once (Jalali, Leddy, Gauthier, Sun, Hincke, & Carnegie, 2011; Luna & Cullen, 2011)”
    Clements, “The Power of Podcasting Redux”
    Best  Practices and current research (as well as practicality to maintain) advise to keep a firm target of no more than 10 minutes per recording. (Some argue for a 4-5 minute limit, while Mittendorf & Kalish found student attention maxed out between 10-15 minutes) Breaking topics down to one big idea/concept/ theory/ explanation per recording will offer the most bang for the buck and flexibility for reuse.
  2. Have a Script & Share it
    Never sit down in front of a mic or webcam without a script!!
    To keep the focus and punchiness to chunk material you will need to be on point and focused.  Simply making an outline of the key points in Word and having that in hand or on a 2nd screen will help you capture your key material. “This is when you have your points you want to cover, and the extra information handy, and then you present from those points.” (Audacity to Podcast)
    PLUS the outline script will prevent you from being sued for not providing ADA accessibility. Adding a file link in Canvas to the text only script outline along with the recording will meet ADA requirements.
  3. Have solid audio
    Crisp, high quality audio is always the key factor for high quality digital recordings. An external USB mic will always offer the best quality, especially if fitted with a Pop filter. The BLUE Ice Snowball & Samson Meteors are 2 of the best out there.
    The eLi department  has made available in each NCSC building at least 1 loaner Blue Ice Snowball mic with pop filter for any NCSC faculty member to checkout. Contact the eLi Dept. (419.755.4706 |dl@ncstatecollege.edu) to arrange to checkout one.
  4. Use a Solid Tool
    There are a dizzying array of multimedia recording tools to generate instructional videos. NC State has licensed the user-friendly & powerful Zoom program for both recording mini lecture chunks and live online classes.
    If you have not already received an Invite to a Zoom Pro Account, you can contact the NC State eLearning & innovation (eLi) Department elearning@ncstatecollege.edu  or 419.755.4706  or go to www.zoom.us to create a free Basic Zoom account using your full NCSC email (eLi can later upgrade you account to the full Pro).
    Zoom allows you to record while sharing not only your audio & video but any sort of content you can open on your device- a word doc, PDF, website, a whiteboard etc. while providing annotation capabilities as well.
    See our NCSC Faculty Getting Started with Zoom Document for How To Record.
    and or the Zoom Documentation.


Pick one particularly tricky concept, theory, topic and or one usually readily understood topic from the class to start with. Type up, edit or copy a brief outline to give the “condensed soup” (vs gourmet meal) explanation of the main key points. Use whatever mic/ webcam you have at hand or contact eLi to borrow one and do a brief Zoom recording. Then publish it to students in Canvas or YouTube and encourage them to watch/view it and ask for feedback.



One thought on “Recording Mini Lectures for Retention & Success

  1. Pingback: Engaging Students in Effective Small Group Activities | Teaching for 21st c. Success

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