Bb Video Everywhere

The “Talking Head” Makes a Comeback!

Video of a stationary person speaking – news anchor style – has been looked down upon by some educators and technologists for a number of years. It is often seen as pointless to record yourself looking into a camera talking, when you can save bandwidth, buffering, and beauty supplies by recording audio only or just sending good old-fashioned text.

webcam sample

Tom talks with his hands and his eyebrows, but you can’t tell when he writes you a message.

But, times continue to change. People are generally less concerned about the size of video files and the internet speeds (and playback ability) of their recipients. Perhaps more importantly, with easier access to multimedia there is a stronger emphasis in the community on multi-modal content delivery1 and instructor presence in online learning2 (and research to support their value). That is, we’re coming to terms with the fact that different people have different communication and learning preferences. A message communicated using any one medium (text, graphics, video and/or audio, kinesthetically, etc.) could be received and interpreted by two recipients in very different ways. One could “totally get it” while the other “totally did not.”

So, with less concern over storage and transmission of large files, and more concern over whether or not your message was received and retained, why not consider using a variety of approaches in delivering messages to your students? Blackboard has made quick webcam video recording as easy as typing a block of text. With Video Everywhere, you can click the webcam button in practically any content editor to create a “talking head” video on the fly.


How can I make use of this tool – tactically speaking?

  1. Announcements and email. Send video instead of (or supplementary to) text. Let them see your happiness…or maybe your frustration.
  2. Content items. Need to reiterate an important point made in class? Want to explain that case study differently than the text book explains it? Post a video instead of (or supplementary to) text.
  3. Assignment Expectations. Frustrated because your students don’t read your directions? Include a video of your expectations instead of (or supplementary to) text.
  4. Assignment Submissions. Having trouble assessing students’ understanding of the content simply because they can’t transform their great ideas into written words? If writing is not being assessed, why not let them record a video instead of (or supplementary to) their text-based assignment submission. Remember – this tool works anywhere you see a full content editor. That means discussions, blogs, wikis, etc.
  5. Assessment. Tired of writing or typing so many comments on student work? Use video to provide feedback and explanation of grades. They’ll find it so much more personalized and you’ll put less miles on your keyboard. And, it works within the rubric tool.


How can I make use of this tool – technically speaking?

Click here for a step-by-step explanation on how to access the tool, link it to your YouTube account, and manage privacy.


One Caution…

This tool utilizes YouTube. While your videos are, by default, unlisted, if a video’s direct URL is shared by a viewer it can be seen by others. Please – if you have any questions or concerns over privacy, please ask. We can assist in understanding the Bb/YouTube integration privacy and can help you decide whether this tool is right for you and/or your students.


(1) Boling, E. C., Hough, M., Krinsky, H., Saleem, H., & Stevens, M. (2012). Cutting the Distance in Distance Education: Perspectives on What Promotes Positive, Online Learning Experiences. Internet And Higher Education, 15(2), 118-126.
(2) Borup, J., West, R. E., Thomas, R. A., & Graham, C. R. (2014). Examining the Impact of Video Feedback on Instructor Social Presence in Blended Courses. International Review Of Research In Open & Distance Learning, 15(3), 232-256.