Kaufman, P. and Mohan, J. (2009) Video use and higher education New York: Intelligent Television

This report, undertaken by Intelligent Television and the Copyright Clearance Center, ‘takes a careful look specifically at video use in higher education and takes stock of trends in teaching and learning at the university level.’

Executive summary:

In interviews with 57 faculty and librarians from 20 institutions and across 18 academic departments and schools, the Video and Higher Education Project found data to support the following:

  • The educational use of video on campus is accelerating rapidly in departments across all disci-
    plines—from arts, humanities, and sciences to professional and vocational curricula.
  • Faculty, librarians, and administrators expect their use of video in education to grow significantly over the next five years.
  • Technology, legal, and other barriers continue to thwart faculty finding and accessing the segments of video they want for teaching and lectures.
  • University libraries contain significant video repositories but the majority of the content is in analog (VHS) format and/or is not networkable.
  • The majority of video usage today is still confined to audiovisual viewing equipment in classrooms or at the library.
  • Faculty and administrators expect the sources of their video to shift from offline analog storage to online delivery.
  • The demand for educationally-targeted video archives and services is high.

The full report contains extensive data and references about the use of video in higher education.


I wonder how useful much of the archived video will be in its current format. I have the same concerns about archived video that I have about lecture capture. When you move a medium such as video from one technology (VHS cassette) to another (digital downloading) you need to produce it in a different format to make it useful and to exploit the new delivery technology.

In particular, for educational use, you need relatively small, stand-alone ‘chunks’ of digital video to incorporate in a broader online learning environment. However, the cost advantages of ‘off-the-shelf’ video quickly disappear if it has to be edited to suit the new technology that will deliver it.

The BBC and the Open University Library entered on a huge project in the 1980s to convert the TV programs that the BBC made for the Open University into re-usable, stand-alone, video learning objects. Despite the excellent and unique quality of much of the material, the project was eventually abandoned because of the very high cost, not so much in the technical conversion from broadcast to cassette, but in the selection, editing and cataloguing of the content. These cost factors don’t change much over time.

At the same time, much of what was learned about the value of television for teaching still applies to video today (for a full list of functions, see the appendix in Technology, e-Learning and Distance Education).

So, we should be looking at new design models for video and audio for educational use in a digital age that build on past research into the unique educational characteristics of video and audio. In particular, I’d like to see lecture capture – and even more most video recordings of ‘talking head’ lectures – replaced by specific, short video clips that illustrate key concepts or processes, integrated into the curriculum with text readings and audio commentary from the professor, as well as with video contributions from students.


  1. Learning through video is becoming way more accessible also. I’ve learned so much online just from watching videos. Sites like Fora.tv for one and even just searching for videos on the big sites, like YouTube, Vimeo, etc.


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