Presence, performance . . . and practice!: How the theatre department can help you improve your video lectures

Workshop Session 2

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Brief Abstract

Online faculty and course instructors are content experts, but maybe not so versed in the arts of performance and media production. By taking their cues from theatre and drama experts, any online teacher can assure that their video presence is ready for “prime time!”


Carey Hamburg is a senior instructional designer in the Office of Distance Learning. His background is in Art, Education, and Technology Integration. Carey is a graduate of UL Lafayette and completed an MA in Communication at the University of South Alabama, with a focus in Multimedia Training Development. He has worked in a variety of educational settings as an instructor of both art and technology. Carey enjoys seeing the connections that emerge as educators and students explore the creative and effective possibilities of educational technology.

Extended Abstract

Online faculty and course instructors are experts in their fields, and may be dedicated to creating the most engaging and accurate video lectures. However, unless they have background and experience in drama or theatre, they probably will not be as versed in the arts of performance and media production. Our theatre and drama professors, however, are accustomed to thinking in terms of scenery, costume, scripts, lighting, editing, and other elemental details of a high quality production. Taking their cues from these experts, any online teacher can assure that their video presence is ready for “prime time” by following a few simple and practical tips.

Recorded video lectures can play an important part in establishing a humanizing and tangible presence for the instructor of a course. With no face-to-face interaction, the students’ perception of an instructor’s presence is greatly influenced by the production value and appearance of these resources. Such factors as low lighting, distracting background scenery, wandering cats, and poor audio quality can detract from even the best lecture performance. By attending to some simple production guidelines, you can assure that your video presence and presentation lets your true professionalism and expertise shine through!

Our presentation will detail some basic, practical steps that any instructor can apply toward the improvement of media production and video presence. We will accent the event with fun and interactive examples of tips to apply and pitfalls to avoid. Participants will also gain access to an interactive checklist of pre-flight and post-production considerations and tips.

Suggested new Conference Tracks: - "Humanizing Elements" or "Course Content Development & Media Production"

Pertinent workshop questions:

  1. What types of collaboration or interactivity will occur during the workshop?​
    We will engage in a few short, fun drama warm-up exercises and have a video staging set to record demonstrations of tips and pitfalls.

  2. What will participants take home as a tangible deliverable or takeaway?
    Hands-on experience at video staging (participation optional) and a checklist of pre-flight and post-production considerations and tips

  3. How will they be able to apply the effective practices shared in the workshop at their home institution?
    Participants will have an understanding of factors that affect the quality of video production and tips to address these issues.

  4. Who do you envision as the primary audience types who would get the most out of this session and why?
    Course and training developers, faculty instructors, and any others who produce video and webinar resources. The skills and considerations discussed will be practical tips that anyone can apply toward improving video and webinar production. It will be of most interest to those who have expertise in their teaching topic area, but have had no formal training in media production.