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Kieran Mulchrone's Design Narrative: When the Lecturer goes missing!

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Kieran Mulchrone
10 April 2015

Title When the Lecturer goes missing!


I lecture in an Irish University and had to go to a 1 day conference during term time.


While away I could not afford to lose a valuable lecture and neither could the students. This affected a module that students traditionally find difficult and occurred at critical time in the course.


I needed to develop a learning activity for the students to take the place of the lecture. I had been dabbling in creating short focused videos for another programme and decided to make a video to take the place of the lecture.


1)     decide on a topic – I choose the difficult topic.

2)     Find a way to strongly encourage students to engage with the material. I decided to embed a question into the video and asked students to email me the answer.

3)     Create the video using camtasia studio an easy to use desktop capture video editing software package.

4)     Create corresponding written materials to accompany the video. This simply involved editing my existing notes.

5)     Follow up on the topic in tutorials to make sure the topic had been grasped.


Most students watched the video and answered the question I posed. There was some assurance that material was at least considered once. In tutorials I found some students had difficulty as before with the material. An unexpected outcome was that students were able to refer back to the video time and again as and when they needed it (unlike a standard lecture). Students commented favourably on this aspect and said it helped overall with the course.


Short, focused videos are very helpful for getting across difficult topics because they can be viewed more than once if necessary. Video editing tools such as Camtasia Studio are intuitive and with practice, preparation and patience the process is reasonably simple. This experience lead me to persist with this appoach in other more “online” porgrammes. Time-permitting it may get rolled out to more of my courses. Creating video however always takes much more time than giving a traditional lecture. 

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Louise Crawford
7:39pm 11 April 2015

Hi Kieran,

Your narrative is so succinct and your actions really demonstrate that you are very confident with technology.  I would love to have the time and resource to create a series of interactive video resources for my learners when I was not there!  How long did it take you to create these reosurces?  

Lou C

Kieran Mulchrone
8:58am 13 April 2015

Hi Lou C,

Making videos take time. However I only really needed to display material on my computer desktop with an audio voiceover from me. I would guesstimate that 20mins of video material can take between 1 and 2 hours to produce. Note: I was very familiar with the material and knew how I wanted to deliver it  - preparation took me 20mins (i.e. making a plan for what I would deliver in the video), Recording the video takes at least 30mins. Then I edit the video which can take up to 40mins depending on my mental state and how many mistakes I made in the video. If you need to do lost of prep then it could be up to 2 hours. The real key is to  realise that perfection is impossible!

Best wishes,


Louise Worsley
11:02am 17 April 2015

Perfection is not necessary either!  


My daughter has just started at University of Cape Town.  In all of her lectures the lectures are videod and made available online for students to re-see or see if they miss.  Some of her classes are so big she can barely see the board so this turns out to be pretty important.  The videos are not editted and are pretty basic but the students seem to be benefitting. Is this common practice now I wonder?

Kieran Mulchrone
7:03am 20 April 2015

It is not universal where I work. I could imagine there would be a fear of "lecturer mistakes/general idiocy" leaking out to the general internet.

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