How to scaffold a discussion using a series of short videos

Do you need to show a series of short videos to prompt a discussion during an online session?

In general watching videos is an activity that can be done in students’ own time rather than in class time. However, there might be cases where you need to do this during a synchronous session.

Use this lesson recipe to scaffold a discussion by 1) providing an instruction/question 2) showing the short video by sharing your screen and sharing the link in the chat 3) sharing their ideas with other members of the class.

NB: This recipe is the ‘full calorie’ version. It requires you to share links to online videos as well as present a video embedded in a PPT. You might want to choose a simpler flow. Ask yourself these important questions:

  • Could students watch the video ahead of the session instead? (solution: post the link in Blackboard or in Teams)
  • Is the video already online? (solution: upload into OneDrive/SharePoint/Blackboard)
  • Which would work better for your session: students take a few minutes during the session to watch the video by themselves (this gives them a better viewing experience) or you share your screen and play the video to them?

Visit the hyperlinks in the recipe for specific guidance.

Before the session

  1. Schedule the meeting and let participants know the session name and time, so they can access it in the appropriate Blackboard module.
  2. Download the introduction to Collaborate features animation gif to share at the start of the session.
  3. Decide if you need to run a light-hearted ‘features diagnostic’ e.g.
  4. Develop a question or a problem for your students to discuss and for which they will get answers/ideas by watching the short video. Put this prompt onto a PowerPoint slide so that you can show it during your session.
  5. Upload your short videos to a video hosting platform (e.g. Panopto) and/or collate the links of uploaded videos into a Word document or into your PowerPoint slides.

At the start of the session

  1. Open the scheduled meeting.
  2. Share animation gif so students are reminded of functionalities they can use (Share > Share Files > Upload the gif file, select it and choose Share Now). Pro tip: The animation will then play on a loop to users.  The animation stops either when you share something else (e.g. a PowerPoint) or when you stop sharing the file.
  3. Interact with students either by using the chat pane or by using your microphone.
  4. Run a features diagnostic/intro if necessary (see above for ideas).

During the session

  1. Pose your prompt to the entire class by sharing your screen or PowerPoint slide. Pro Tip: If your PowerPoint contains your videos embedded and/or your presentation includes important animations that help students understand concepts/processes more easily then choose to Share Application. Otherwise, choose to Share File (Share File option is less demanding on bandwidth but won’t play embedded content or PowerPoint animations).
  2. Copy and paste the link to the video you want students to watch into the chat. If you are also using embedded content, play the video. Pro Tip: Supply the link to the video through the chat as being able to view the video directly increases the quality of the video/audio experience for your students.
  3. After the showing, ask students to focus back on the main room and invite students to share reactions and responses. Option: You might want to use breakout rooms to lead a Think-Pair-Share session at this point or simply run an open discussion.
  4. Pose your next question/problem/instruction to the class and repeat steps 2 and 3 using the next video link in your sequence.

Top tips

  • Try out Collaborate and familiarise yourself with how to resolve issues that students might encounter.
  • Turn off notifications you don’t want to see/hear via Settings in the Collaborate panel.
  • Stop the recording if you started recording. If you make other colleagues or students moderators, they can stop the recording, too.
  • If you recorded the session, remember that it can take some time for the video to process and therefore it might not show immediately.
  • Tell students they can stay in the meeting if they wish. You don’t need to be present for the meeting to continue and by leaving the meeting open you provide additional opportunities to for students to interact.