Julian Chen

Adjunct Professor and Adjunct Senior Research Scientist, Applied Physics

Professor Julian Chen shares his experience preparing videos for his fully online course.

In the Fall 2020 semester, I am experimenting with fully online teaching for APPH E4130, Physics of Solar Energy. The course has been video recorded by CVN (Columbia Video Network) for the last 10 years.There are 24 lectures, 48 video files. 

Using Movavi Video Editor and Adobe Premiere Element 2020, those original video recordings were carefully inspected, edited, and combined. New video clips were created using the latest version of Microsoft PowerPoint or a video camera and then were added to the existing video recordings. 

Editing each lecture takes roughly a full day. However, to improve the quality, the time is worthwhile. Many passages are not lecture proper, such as announcements about exams, term papers, and field visits. Some question-and-answers with students are not very interesting. There are many minor speech defects, such as long pauses, uhs and ahs, and repeated words, that needed removal. Sometimes, the focus of the video lecture is on the white board, and sometimes the focus is on the PowerPoint presentation. To optimize the final output, it should switch between the two versions of videos from time to time. Movavi has a cropping feature for highlighting the features, for example certain parts of the white board. Now the improvements of all 24 lectures are completed.

On each lecture date, I upload a video (for example, E4130_L01.mp4) and a PowerPoint file in pdf format (for example, L01.pdf). Homework is assigned and graded online. The electronic version of the textbook is available from the university library. 

After consulting with the department administration, the midterm exam was a take-home assignment. I was wondering whether it is a good way of evaluating each student’s understanding. Actually, the results look OK. 

I have not received any complaints or questions from students.  It may be worthwhile to hand out a questionnaire to solicit comments and evaluations from students. This will help me to improve my online teaching.  

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