How to make effective teaching videos for online instruction

When preparing an online class, videos may be the first thing to come to mind. And, videos can be a great idea. However, you certainly do not want to transform your 50-minute lecture into a 50-minute video.

Instead, think carefully about your learning goals for each class session. And, think about which portions of your lecture class are best suited for video format.

You can teach your learning goals that don’t require videos through lecture notes, assigned readings, discussion boards, podcasts, and online activities. (You can check out my LMS site for some examples.)

Once you’ve settled on a learning goal you think is well-suited for a short video, the first step is to do an online search to see if someone else has already made an excellent short video on the topic. There’s absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel. If you want to introduce a concept and there is a highly produced, scientifically accurate video freely available online, by all means, use that one.

(For example, I have created 18 videos for teaching race and racism, and you may find some of these useful instead of creating your own video that explains the difference between race and ethnicity or what racial formation theory is.)

If, on the other hand, there is nothing…

Continue reading

The Story of a Piano

As working practices are turned upside down, as our whole pattern of live is disrupted in ways that are unlikely to feel pleasant, I am sure turning to music will be the solace of many. I hear – as confirmation of this – that sales of pianos and sheet music, and downloading of music teaching apps etc, have all risen in recent weeks.

Music may be of use to soothe a toddler’s tantrums or your own (particularly if you are also in bed with a temperature); it may provide some light relief in the current darkness or revive memories of happier times. Maybe, if you are on furlough but not dealing with full-on caring responsibilities, you might consider returning to the instrument you played in your youth but which has been neglected in recent years. I can imagine the idea of finally mastering that Grade 5 piece that used to defeat you, being seen as an attractive challenge all these years later, at least fleetingly. Had I a piano in the house, I’m sure I would like to think I would turn to it for some company and cheerfulness, albeit Grade 5 was probably an optimistic view of where my lessons got me to all those years ago.

However, sadly, I don’t have such a piano. The one I learned on has gone to a much better home, somewhere…

Continue reading

Support for Warwick PG Research Students

Stuck at home trying to be productive? Missing the company of fellow researchers? Never fret! The Postgraduate Community Engagement Team and other services at the university have a wealth of options to keep you connected with your colleagues. Don’t be a stranger!

Online Research Refresh

Okay, we know sitting at home eating a piece of old toast is not the same as munching on biscuits, donuts, fruits and baked goods while chatting over a good cup of coffee at the library. But here is the next best thing: we invite you to bake something (if you can), brew a cup of coffee or tea and join us online to chat about life, work, and everything in between. Joined by our friendly library PG team, Research Refresh is open to Warwick research students across the university. If you don’t live locally, or if you for some other reason couldn’t come to the library on Thursday mornings before, this is your chance to join us. Check out more information at



Online PG Tips

You PG mentors are here for you. Well, right now you won’t be able to see them in person, but you can still catch up online, every Tuesday afternoon, to get yourself some valuable mentoring time, or just for a lively chat at…

Continue reading

The Year of Wonders: Doctoral writing in the time of COVID-19

By Cally Guerin

My title comes from my current reading – Geraldine Brooks’s Year of Wonders, set during the Great Plague of 1666, and Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera (I also recommend Minette Walters’ The Last Hours for a good read on strong women taking the lead on self-isolation). These really are times when academics and doctoral writers need to protect themselves from the world pandemic. As universities around the world close campuses and move teaching online, doctoral writers are facing even more challenges than usual. What used to feel like a bit of a luxury when only occasionally possible, working from home is now mandatory for many of us. This post looks at how doctoral writers can be supported to stay on track in the current state of confinement.


Working from home is not necessarily a quiet, peaceful experience of scholarly life for everyone. It can be rather distracting if several other family members or housemates are also trying to work from the same space. And it might be even more disruptive if the household includes children who need to be looked after and entertained (and many readers will have noticed that the burden of household tasks still often tends to fall more…

Continue reading

Who is allowed to talk about equality, diversity and inclusion?

31 March 2020
by researchwhisper

Lachlan Smith is Director of Cloud Chamber. He supports the Higher Education sector, both in the UK and globally, understand the impact of their research, develop effective research cultures and improve their ability to secure research funding. He has supported a range of institutions and funders including the Royal Society, British Academy and Kings College London. He has delivered workshops in Shanghai and Nairobi, supporting early career researchers access funding and he is an advocate for diversity and LGBT+ inclusion, delivered through his collaboration with Diversiunity. He previously worked in research development at the University of Warwick as well as roles in the civil service and economic development consultancy. He tweets from @HEresearchfund.


(This post was written by Lachlan with contributions from Jakob Feldtfos Christensen, who is director of Diversiunity. Jakob provides workshops and consultancy in diversity and internationalisation in research and research management in collaboration with Cloud Chamber. Diversiunity also provide workshops and consultancy for Principal Investigators…

Continue reading

what to do now?

zoom zoom spotify what’s app email wix facetime zoom skype Instagram email twitter teams twitch zoom youtube skype email email email wix twitter zoom zoom

I have put more apps on my screens during the last week than in the whole of last year. I usually try to keep my apps to an economical three screens or so (ipad, iphone). But no longer. Now I need more.

My university has suddenly adopted a whole suite of programmes – well it may have had these before, to be fair, but most of us didn’t use them and could get by just fine without them. Not now. Now these apps are the way we keep in touch, find out what is happening, teach and research.

But of course my university doesn’t use the same platforms and apps as other universities. Nor the same as some people that I regularly work with. To stay in touch, and to keep the work moving, I have to add even more stuff.

And as I see people talking about other platforms and apps which are not the same as mine, I wonder about them. I’ve become app conscious! More to the point – so much fine print. So hard to find out what each app does with your data, who they send it to, what and who they share it with, where and how your data is stored and how securely. Most platforms and apps offer…

Continue reading

Working From Home

Hugh Kearns wrote this week

Don’t compare your work output this week with other weeks. These are not normal times so don’t expect your normal output.
Things will take longer.
There are most disruptions and distractions.
It’s hard to focus.
So give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself.

— Hugh Kearns (@ithinkwellHugh) March 24, 2020

These are extraordinary times all around the globe. The tweet above comes from Australia (at least that’s where Hugh is based; I assume he is there). My last blogpost referred to being kind to others. This tweet tells us to be kind to ourselves.

In the UK, confined as we are to our homes however ill set-up they may be for home-working, it is easy to think ‘I’m being unproductive’ and thoughts like that will only make us yet more unproductive. In the current circumstances, particularly as we adjust, get to grips with new technology, struggle with additional caring responsibilities, timetable our shopping to try to find an unbusy time when there is still food in the shops, never mind get one’s head around the changing government statements, it is hard to find mental space actually to think.

I have heard one person tell me that this week they had managed to sit down and look at data they had…

Continue reading

Things I said I’d never do

I was homeschooled from kindergarten until 12th grade. So was my sister (the elder by 3 years). In the US in the 80s and 90s, this was only moderately unusual; in the Netherlands, people used to find my story marvelous and strange.

It started out with my parents (both college-educated, but neither in education/teaching) decided they could give me sister a better education at home than the public school could. The plan had always been to educate us at home in primary school, and then as we got older give the choice to us, to be homeschooled or go to public school. I’d always thought, when I was young, that I’d be homeschooled all the way up to high school and then go to actual high school, so that I could experience the social side of things. By the time 9th grade came around, my answer was “oh, hell, no”, because (a) I didn’t really like people, (b) home-schooling took a lot less time, and (c) being available during school hours meant my sister and I were highly sought after babysitters; in the mid 90s, I was making between $6-$10/hour babysitting.

Whenever I talked about being homeschooled, it was with nothing but positivity. I had the freedom to study what I wanted (in 9th grade, I discovered the Society for Creative Anachronism;…

Continue reading

Professor Mum: On being raised by an academic

How is it like to grow up with Professor Mum? And what if you decide to study in the same area and end up seeing your mum on campus and have to dodge being her student? This is my experience of growing up with an academic at home.

I am aware of how privileged I sound. Most of my friends back home were the first ones in their family to go to university, as this is the reality for most people. I come from an extremely overachieving family, especially in intellectual terms. My dad did three undergraduate courses. My mother was a professor of Linguistics. All of her six siblings graduated university, 3 have PhDs, and two are full-on professors. My grandmother actually studied at the same university I went to, a feat that can make my academic achievements small in comparison. I grew up surrounded by professors; I went to their birthday parties, weddings, only to years later have them teaching me in a university classroom. Sounds fun? It can be, but it can also be a lot of pressure.

A child at conferences

My childhood was pretty chill, but as my imagination was wild, I liked to lie to people that my horrible parents took me to conferences and concerts (my dad is a musician), and had me out all night, making me sleep inside the…

Continue reading

Living the COVID life

24 March 2020
by Tseen Khoo

Image from the Goethe-Institut Chicago | from the Goethe-Institut Chicago |

I’ve always enjoyed memes but I never thought I’d come to depend on them to recalibrate my moods.

I’m a person who loves working from home, using communication technologies, and social media. I also tend towards introversion.

You would think that shifting to the current context would be easy and even desirable, with so many of my colleagues and organisations in the sector moving to online-only ‘campuses’ and teaching/research from home. I thought so, too, for about three days or so…

But let me start at the beginning:

My COVID life started ten days ago when our family decided to self-isolate, which meant keeping the kids home from school, me working from home, and minimising going out. We had several reasons, including a tri-generational household in which my mother lives with us. She is 85 years old and has several other health conditions. She is not frail, but neither is she incredibly robust. She is her age. We did not want to be cavalier with her health, or that of others.

Which brings me to our strongest…

Continue reading