SOS! How to Assist Faculty with Developing High Quality and Accessible Video Lectures in 6 easy steps!

Concurrent Session 3
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Brief Abstract

A never ending challenge for instructional designers in higher education is working with faculty to develop online video lectures. The Michigan State University Online Food Safety Program has developed a six step lecture guide to help faculty develop quality online video lectures that implement best online learning practices and accessibility.


Megan Patrick is the Continuing Education Coordinator for the Online Food Safety Program at Michigan State University. She has experience working with faculty and content experts to transition face-to-face learning experiences to an online format. She also has extensive training and experience in graphic design. Megan holds a B.A. in Visual Communications from Lake Forest College and a M.A. in Educational Technology from Michigan State University.
Heidi has been working in the field of learning design and educational technologies for 15 years. Her current main responsibility is working closely with faculty to develop and enhance the online and blended curriculum in the Online Food Safety program at Michigan State University. She also takes an active role in the implementation of accessibility and Universal Design for Learning principles. Heidi received a Master of Arts degree in Digital Media Art and Technology from Michigan State University. Before coming to the United States, Heidi got her B.A. in English and worked in the largest national TV station in China.

Extended Abstract


The purpose of this proposal is to provide the OLC Innovate 2019 panel with a summary of the challenges instructional designers face when working with faculty to develop online video lectures, while also providing a solution to some of those challenges. This proposal summarizes a Google Slides presentation, called the “Lecture Development Guide for Faculty: A Six Step Guide on How to Develop an Online Lecture,” that has been implemented at the Online Food Safety Program at Michigan State University.


Instructional designers working in online higher education are tasked with solving big problems everyday. They are tasked with developing content with overloaded faculty, creating new innovative content, building multiple courses in a very small amount of time, and all the while making sure content is accessible to all students. A top challenge that most instructional designers face is finding ways to successfully collaborate with faculty (Intentional Futures, 2016). This is especially true when it comes to developing online video lectures.

There are three main reasons that developing online video lectures with faculty is a struggle for instructional designers. First, many faculty members are experts in their designated field but lack pedagogical content knowledge on how to teach their content, especially in the online learning environment. Some faculty are familiar with teaching their content in face-to-face settings but do not understand the changes necessary to make their content more impactful for the student online. Second, most faculty are unfamiliar with what the term “accessibility” really means and are unsure about how to make their content accessible. Accessibility and the idea of making content accessible has become a hot topic at most higher education institutions in the last couple of years but many of them do not provide support on how faculty and staff can make content accessible. Third, many faculty members have multiple responsibilities and face time constraints when it comes to submitting their materials on time.

Instructional designers working in the Online Food Safety Program (OFS) at Michigan State University (MSU) encounter these challenges every single day. The OFS consists of an online Master of Science in Food Safety degree, multiple online non-credit continuing education courses and an executive education program. The OFS offers over 40 courses and a large portion of the learning materials in those courses consists of Powerpoints converted into online video lectures from faculty and other Food Safety experts. Currently the program hosts over 300 online video lectures. OFS courses are formatted this way because the use of video as a main form of instruction has been successful in improving learners’ motivation and tends to be more memorable (Choi & Johnson, 2005).

OFS instructional designers also have the challenge of working with over 100 different faculty and content experts. All of them have a different background in terms of technology and knowledge about online learning. Working with so many faculty with diverse backgrounds has caused another huge challenge when trying to consistently create high quality online lectures.


In an effort to solve these challenges, the OFS staff began thinking about creating a visual guide that faculty could continually reference when developing their lectures. Using backwards design, the guide would have three main objectives. The first one would be to introduce basic online learning methodologies to faculty, such as chunking down information and backward design. The second would be to familiarize faculty with the concept of accessibility and help them begin to make their content accessible by using the appropriate font sizes and colors. Lastly, the guide had to be informative and convey complex information in a very concise way. As OFS staff began to create the guide it was discovered that OFS staff could add in sections such as how to record audio narration with Powerpoint, something faculty were unsure about how to do. After multiple meetings and discussions amongst the OFS staff and other MSU Academic Specialists, the “Lecture Development Guide for faculty: A Six Step Guide on How to Develop an Online Lecture (LDG)” was finalized.

The LDG consists of the following steps:  

  1. Pre-lecture Development - Faculty are asked to use backwards design and develop learning objectives prior to developing their lecture, identify content that could be difficult to teach through an online video lecture alone, and inform OFS staff of their current technology (PC/Mac and if they have a headset).

  2. Lecture Development - This step provides guidelines faculty should follow when creating lectures. Guidelines include: a Powerpoint template, length of each lecture, not adding hyperlinks to slides, amount of text on slides, font sizes, chunking down complex concepts, color contrast, high quality and copyright cleared images, and testing of audio equipment.

  3. Implementing Accessibility - Step three discusses what the term accessibility means and the steps faculty need to take to help OFS staff ensure accessibility.

  4. OFS Staff Review - The OFS staff works with faculty to review learning objectives, properly chunked down information, and accessibility.

  5. Audio Recording - Faculty are given instructions via an online video on how to record audio narration for the lecture within Powerpoint.

  6. Post Production - In this final step, the lecture is converted into a video and sent to faculty for final review.

The LDG is hosted on Google Slides and relies heavily on visuals to help illustrate points such as accessibility, chunking down information, and audio narration. The guide implements the social cognitive theory (SCT), which was developed and expanded upon by Albert Bandura and states that learning can occur when people observe others (Bandura, 1986). In one of his more recent articles Bandura (1999) writes, “By observing the positive and negative outcomes of different courses of action, they [people] learn what types of action are suitable in given situations” (pg. 25). This is one of the main learning theories that helped inform how OFS staff structured the material in the guide. For example, in step 2, faculty are asked to use high contrasting colors on their powerpoints. In addition to the text, they are also shown a graphic of correct color contrast and a graphic of incorrect color contrast, illustrating for faculty the positive and negative outcomes of using the the correct or incorrect colors on their slides.

Distributing this guide to faculty and other content experts has greatly improved the quality of the lectures for the OFS program. OFS instructional designers believe that wide spread sharing of this guide at the 2019 OLC Innovate could help other instructional designers, design thinkers, and of course other faculty.


  • Welcome and Presenters Introduction - 1:00 minute

  • The MSU OFS Program and Why We Use Videos  - 2:00 minutes

  • Overview of problems with working with faculty - 2:00 minutes

  • Our Solution: Lecture Development Guide - 25 minutes

    • There will be time in this section for the participants to ask questions and discuss aspects of the LDG in small groups.

  • Individual reflection - 5:00 minutes

    • How could the LDG be useful for you and what challenges might you face when implementing a guide like this?

  • Q & A group Activity - 10 minutes

    • See description below


For the 10 minute question and answer session, the presenters will facilitate a game of Kahoot to engage participants with the content and test their knowledge of the session. Kahoot is a free game-based learning platform that can be played on a laptop or mobile device. Participants answer questions about the presentation and compete with each others to recall certain aspects of the presentation. At the end of the game, the top participants will have their choice of an MSU OFS stainless steel water bottle or a ceramic coffee cup as prize.


Participants will:

  • Understand the challenges that occur when collaborating with faculty to develop online video lectures.

  • Explore the Lecture Development Guide: A Six Step Guide on How to Develop an Online Lecture as a solution to those challenges.

  • Engage in a game of Kahoot to test their knowledge of the presentation.


Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Prentice-Hall, Inc. 40-45.

Bandura, A. (1999). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 2, 21-41.

Choi, H. J., & Johnson, S. D. (2005). The effect of context-based video instruction on learning and motivation in online courses. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(4), 215-227.

Intentional Futures (2016, April). Instructional design in higher education: A report on the role, workflow, and experience of instructional designers. Intentional Futures. Retrieved from