You Can Go Anywhere: The Power of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Video Creation for Online Courses

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Are you tired of stodgy video lectures for online courses? At this innovation lab, we will explore atypical video lecture creation like do-it-yourself green-screen recording.


Dr. Tzoumis is a professor on faculty at DePaul University and teaches an online course at Johns Hopkins University. She has been recently trained in online and hybrid teaching. She has used this training provide a enriched multicultural experience in understanding environmental justice and ethics.

Extended Abstract

Dr. Kelly Tzoumis has been teaching face-to-face college courses for over 25 years. Recently, she was asked to teach an online Environmental Justice and Ethics class for the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, Engineering for Professionals program. This would be her first time to teach online and she was excited at the prospect. In thinking about course design and how to present course content, one of her primary objectives was to create video lectures that engaged students and promoted learning. Video lectures in online courses can be extremely beneficial but they can also be dry and impersonal; the difference often depends on how they are created (Hughes, 2009; Jun Choi & Johnson, 2005).

During the development of her course, Dr. Tzoumis and instructional designer, Dr. Olysha Magruder McRae, discussed the variety of options for video lecture creation that would captivate students' attention. The students in the engineering program are adult learners who are professionals in the field and benefit from context-based learning, or learning that describes and demonstrates contextual information about a topic (Jun Choi & Johnson, 2005). They discussed displaying relevant images to illustrate the lecture concepts as well as using green screen video to superimpose Dr. Tzoumis on the videos. Dr. Tzoumis was intrigued by the idea of using a green screen kit to create context-based videos.

Dr. Tzoumis took the plunge and created her own do-it-yourself (DIY) green-screen video lectures in her dining room. Utilizing the green-screen, Dr. Tzoumis was able to embed herself into the photo visuals of actual historical moments. Her videos also included interviews with practitioners and incorporated music relevant to the lecture topics.

In this innovation lab, Dr. Tzoumis and Dr. Magruder McRae will first describe the background of their working relationship from a distance. They will provide examples of Dr. Tzoumis' video lectures used in the online course. In addition, they will demonstrate how Dr. Tzoumis set up her green screen studio to create lively, personable videos for her course. In small groups, participants will discuss context-based learning and determine the benefits of using a DIY green screen kit and other innovative uses of video. They will share how these types of videos might be used in their own practice. Finally, participants will have a chance to experiment with the equipment and star in a green screen movie!

Participants will receive a handout with presentation information and live web links to the presentation slides and videos, the green screen video created during the session, and other relevant resources.

Choi, H. J., & Johnson, S. D. (2005). The effect of context-based video instruction on learning and motivation in online courses. American Journal of Distance Education. doi:10.1207/s15389286ajde1904_3

Hughes, G. (2009). Using videos to bring lecture to the online classroom. College Quarterly, 12(1). Retrieved from