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Suggestions for videos teaching engineering concepts

  1. Oct 24, 2017 #1
    I hope to one day help engineering students by having a wealth of videos that cover the "weed-out" courses (in the first two years of engineering curriculum).

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can make these videos be the best that they can be? I plan to do narrated powerpoints, but I take a lot of time to make the illustrations (using color-coding, annotating graphs, including tips ,etc.) and script the instruction.

    Any ideas are appreciated. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor


    I applaud your ambition. Sharing your knowledge is noble. Stick around PF, and you'll see lots of experts doing just that.

    I suggest that you look at https://www.khanacademy.org/ Try watching a few of their lessons, and read on the web site about their teaching technology.

    Sal Khan has developed highly effective means of teaching using videos. One thing is the way he uses graphics. Another was his "accidental" discovery that 10 minutes is a sort of magic number for the length of a session. A third is his dedication to 100% comprehension and testing/advancement on a micro level. I know that I was very impressed by his teaching technology.

    If you dig, you may find video interviews and written articles discussing Khan's methods. Also, the software tools he uses to make the videos. It is also not crazy that you might be able to create an alliance with Khan Academy and work together with them.
  4. Oct 24, 2017 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    I also recommend that you have a look at Professor Leonard Susskind's video lectures. I linked one below. His courses are highly effective and popular, but his teaching methods are very different than Sal Khan's.

    1. Susskind's lectures are 90-120 minutes long. (Although I have learned to view them in 10 minute sessions.)
    2. Susskind uses the blackboard. But watching them you can see how critical the zoom and pan of the camera operator are. Almost all videos of classroom lectures with fixed cameras are useless because they lack the zoom and pan.
    3. As a Susskind student, I also learned to (a) rewind/replay whenever I missed a point, (b) to pause, and go to Wikipedia in another window whenever he uses math that I'm rusty on.
    4. Know your audience. Khan targets young people. Susskind targeted retired people with technical educations. Your lessons should be designed for a particular target audience.
    Power point presentations are notorious for being boring. If you bore your students, they'll stop watching and your efforts will be wasted. All of us have different standards and are less forgiving for TV presentations than for face-to-face live encounters. For example, we are used to people who say ah, um, or "you know" in everyday conversations, but when a speaker on TV does that too much, we change the channel. Top quality orgs like NPR edit out all those ahs,ums, and stumbles before the broadcast.

    Using power points without being boring is a public speaking skill learned by practice. Toastmasters International (https://www.toastmasters.org/) has thousands of local clubs. Joining a local club will definitely help you to improve your speaking skills. They even have a specific project on power point presentations. They also teach you how to tailor your style to the audience. Most of all, attending toastmaster meetings is very enjoyable.

    Edit: here is one of Susskind's lectures.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
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