Content Delivery Online

Content Delivery Online: Introducing content to students outside of the classroom, or "flipping" the classroom

At one time, a subject matter expert’s options for disseminating knowledge were limited to face-to-face presentations and written works. Audiovisual, computer and internet-based technology developments made it possible to deliver this same content via recorded audio and video and multimedia-based websites. These new delivery methods made knowledge available to a larger audience, but, for the audience, it was still, generally, a passive learning experience. Fortunately, the recent explosion of available instructional technologies has created the potential for delivering more rich and engaging learning experiences online. The content below provides strategies and recommendations for leveraging technology to facilitate knowledge acquisition online.

Motivation and Preparation

"Flipping the classroom" is more than just putting a video of your lecture online. Perhaps you've considered including more experiential learning activities in the classroom, but you might have wondered, if you use class time for these types of activities, how can you ensure students acquire the foundational knowledge needed to be able to participate in more active approaches to learning? Fortunately, you don’t need to be in the same physical space as your students to provide opportunities for students to learn this necessary content.

Like most college faculty, you probably rely on lectures for sharing knowledge with your students. Using your existing repository of lecture files and resources as a primary content base, the information below will help you select a strategy for turning your valuable content into something that can not only be delivered online, but could be more engaging than your traditional lecture when instructional technologies are leveraged to create interactive learning experience at a distance.

Putting your Lecture Online, or "Flipping" your Lecture

Option One: Record a Basic Video.
Record your lecture as an audio-only podcast or a vodcast that contains both audio and video. Or, use a technology to "screencast," or capture what's on your computer screen, your presentation, using the embedded tools to highlight, annotate, and zoom in on presentation components and record audio as desired. (For more information on recording video, visit Video Presentations.)

Option Two: Engage your Audience.
Watching or listening to a lecture is a passive experience, so it's important to design for engagement by keeping individual podcasts and vodcasts around 10 minutes long, prompting students to pause and complete a brief reflection or practice question, wrapping online discussion and self-assessment around the content delivery, and providing context for the lecture within the Canvas course page.

Option Three: Don't recreate the wheel.
Search online for free and free to use instructional resources, also called Open Educational Resources (OER), from demonstration videos to game-based learning objects, to provide variety of engagement for your students and to save youself the time and energy required to create these resources.

Option Four: Show them. Don't tell them.
While gathering the equipment and skillsets needed to shoot live video can seem daunting, recording a demonstration or simulation of a concept or scenario is a good time investment. Keep the videos short and limited to discrete topics, or "chunks," and you will be able to reuse these resources in a variety of contexts.

Option Five: Put your students to work.
Have students create the content themselves. Assign students to research a topic, individually or in groups, and compile a knowledge base on the topic, including references, perhaps within a wiki. This activity prompts direct student interaction with content as they hone their research skills and build competency in evaluation of information available online. Having students work in groups furthers collaboration skills and requiring students to share this knowledge with classmates or lead discussion on the topic during a face-to-face session deepens student engagement with content. If you're concerned about the accuracy of student-presented content, you can vet the content before the session and use class time to discuss and clarify common areas of confusion and controversy.

Option Six: Keep students active.
Creating an interactive learning experience (typically called a Digital Learning Object (DLO)) can be the most time-intensive and challenging option for content delivery innovation, but also the most rewarding. Digital learning objects often have the following characteristics, which can lead to a richer learning experience for students.

  • Interaction with the learning object is required to navigate through the learning experience, which makes it an easy way to maintain your audience's attention. 
  • Activities can be designed to be increasingly more challenging, a recommendation for engaging, successful learning experiences suggested by game-based learning theory. 
  • Design includes varied, visually appealing photos and graphics that the content and aid in understanding. 
  • The wealth of and variety in the types of interaction and opportunities for self-assessment possible, often embedded in simulated environments and designed to be experiential, are not only engaging, but promote deeper learning of content.

Don't forget that a "flipped" classroom has two necessary components: 1) content delivered outside of the classroom and 2) interactive learning activities in the classroom. (For more information on creating a more interactive classroom, visit Classroom Interaction.) No matter which method you choose for delivering your content online, make sure it's easy for students to locate and access - a link in your Canvas course site is usually best - and presented within a context that makes clear the relationship between in-class and out-of-class coursework and what is expected.

Technology for (Flipped) Content Delivery Online




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