Why to Read this PostIn fifteen minutes, you can edit any publicly-available video, including your own, to add an interactive quiz for your students. Here are free software tools that let you collect answers from students, and providence incentive for students to complete assigned video-watching assignments!
BackgroundA few years ago, I decided to start making small steps to improve the learning atmosphere in my collegiate course in genetics (enrollment ~80). The main premise of the trajectory of my course improvement is that if I make class more engaging and interactive then students will attend more, better understand the application of course content to life, and their learning will improve.
Over that time, one of the major changes I've made has been to "flip the classroom." In such a blended-learning approach, students access the course content on their own before class (either by reading or, more recently, by watching video lectures) and spend their in-class time discussing the content with the instructor, asking questions about ambiguous or complicated content, and practicing using the content.
A major push I have made is to create custom video content for this class. I've recorded many videos of various types to augment this course, including:
- Lectures using Lightboard/Learning Glass technology
- Class trailer videos (i.e. class previews)
- Jigsaw exercises
- Demonstrations of how to use particular types of research equipment
- Screen capture to show how to use software and websites
- Recordings of my in-class content as well as office hours
- Exercise and exam keys
- your students see (and hopefully appreciate) the effort you're putting into your class
- the content is customized for your class
- captioning them for accessibility (this obsession is motivated by legal issues)
- creating tables of contents for my videos to help students more easily navigate longer videos
- using YouTube analytics to glean information about student video use and what it can reveal to me about how I can improve instruction
Here's an example of what an interactive video might look like. This is a screen capture video of my computer screen as I play (and interact with) a short video I created and added questions to:
I just yesterday co-led a discussion among California State University system faculty about:
- various tools that can accomplish this goal
- their pros and cons
Here, I review the following four software tools that let you add quiz content to videos:
- Adobe Captivate (support site)
- Vizia (support site)(support site)
- EdPuzzle (support site)
- PlayPosit (support site)
Executive Summary: PlayPosit > EdPuzzle > Vizia > Captivate
Of these four tools, my top three are all web-based tools. PlayPosit earns my top rating, mainly for intuitive interface and ease of use, price (free) and available features. EdPuzzle is also free, but has a little bit less flexibility/freedom in how to share content. It would share top honors with PlayPosit, except that the option to upgrade (for a price) to a PlayPosit Pro account ($144/year) means you always have the option of getting more power (including question types and analytics) from PlayPosit compared to EdPuzzle. Vizia has a smaller feature set than the first two, but must critically, at this point, I have to report that quiz responses do not immediately show up in the Google Sheet & .csv files that record those data (and sometimes, when I demo-ed my quizzes, answers never showed up). Captivate ends my ranked list because, as you'll read below, it isn't really a video quiz-creation tool (although it can do that, kind of…) and because of the price ($30/month or $349 for educators). As most Adobe products, it is a very powerful tool, but it also has a steeper learning curve than the first three options.
From the bottom to the top,
4. Adobe Captivate
It is expensive (I used the two-week free trial to test it), and its primary use is to build interactive web-based quizzes. This is the only tool I'm reviewing that is a stand-alone software package (the rest are web-based tools). You'd probably recognize Captivate-like content as online training modules that your employer has you complete for things like sexual assault, FERPA compliance, and so on. Captivate is, basically, PowerPoint on steroids: it uses a slide-based approach to creating content. You can place video on one slide, and then insert a following slide that contains a quiz. Captivate isn't a direct video editor, like the rest of the tools I'm reviewing. Thus, you can't insert content in the middle of the video unless you, yourself, split your video file into two at the point where you want to add an interaction. Then you'd add those videos on two separate slides, with a third (quiz) slide in between. However, the upside to Adobe is that it has a vast number of education-oriented widgets that are way more than just multiple-choice or free response. For example, there is a word search widget! A big drawback to using Captivate might be that you save your content as a .SWF file that you then have to have hosted on a website somewhere; .SWF files also require web browsers to have Flash installed to play. In other words, you need to have web-hosting tools to use Captivate content (which your institution might already have), and the viewers of that content may have to do a little work on their end to make sure their web browser is configured properly to access it. Here's a demo I made using Captivate (although access might expire when my free trial expires…and ignore/close any "error" messages that might pop up - it should, hopefully, still work)
Free and easy to use. This is the first video tool I used as I was preparing this review. Aside from the issue I mentioned above that some quiz responses seem never to get recorded (which could be a major concern if you're using this for summative assessment & grading), it is an easy tool for anybody to use to accomplish the basic goal of inserting interactions into videos. Here's a demo I made using Vizia.
Here's a demo I made using EdPuzzle. Because you have to be signed in as a student to an EdPuzzle classroom to access the content, the demo link takes you to a YouTube video of a screen capture of me using the EdPuzzle-based video quiz. This sign-in requirement might either be a feature or a drawback, depending on your position. The only edge EdPuzzle has over the other tools is the ability for you to add instructor audio comments at specific points in the video. In the other tools, if you wanted to add comments, you would do that either as a free-response question in which you simply do not pose a question (and don't expect a response from the viewer) or by adding a hyperlink to a separate web page where you provided that additional content.
Both EdPuzzle and PlayPosit share some features that I would particularly appreciate but won't apply to all of you. Because I teach at a school that is a Google campus, I like the ability to sign in to both of these tools using my Google educator account (through my campus single sign-on). Likewise, both of these tools can integrate with Google Classroom. PlayPosit edges out EdPuzzle because (with the for-money version) PlayPosit can integrate directly to your campus learning management system (LMS, like Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, etc.) PlayPosit also gets the edge on not requiring students to register/login to their system to view your video quiz content and also offering (with the Pro version, $144/year) additional question types. Here's a demo I made using PlayPosit.
My suggested considerations when choosing which of these tools to edit your videos
- Capacity (how many users? how many videos?)
- Where does the movie you want to edit need to be located? (can you upload a movie yourself? does it already have to be on the web with a publicly-accessible URL?)
- Where will your interactive video be hosted when students access it? (do you have to download a file and find a place to put it on a website?)
- How does your audience access the video quiz? Do students have to create an account; is student login required?
- How much does the tool cost to use?
- What types of questions can be deployed?
- When editing a question, can you use rich text (e.g. bold, underline, italics, super/subscript)? Can you attach an image to be displayed?
- What sorts of data can be collected? How are the data reported? What analytics tools are provided? Is LMS integration supported?
- Is question skipping allowed?
- Does the service provide the ability to organize your quiz-embedded videos in any way? (i.e. a folder or "classroom" structure)
Other considerations, which might be relevant to you but I didn't include in this review, could be:
- accessibility/captioning support
- can the video quiz be embedded (with provided HTML code) into an existing webpage?
- ability to share (and use others') video quizzes created in the same tool
- FERPA compliance
When using your own videosWhen creating your own video to add quiz questions, I've found that it can be useful, with most of the software packages above, to intentionally insert "white space" (in the case of my demo video above, those were a few seconds worth of solid black) where you intend to place questions. Later, when you're editing the video to add interactions, this provides buffer space between the end of video content and the start of the quiz. Otherwise, it can be quite jarring to have speech end and a quiz immediately displayed. I prefer having the video content end, and then have a couple of seconds of nothing before the quiz is displayed. For those of you who use Apple's Clips app to create classroom videos, this is easily accomplished by ending each video segment where you intend to place a quiz question, adding a solid black image to your Photos library, recording it for a few seconds, and then moving it in between video segments where you will eventually add an interaction:
Best Practices with Interactive Video
- Use video quizzing in clips for students to watch prior to class to collect formative feedback so that you are aware what students understand (and what they don't) by the time class starts
- Collect summative feedback while requesting students to employ information and skills in new situations by integrating existing videos (like news media, TED talks, and the like) with questions. This approach might also help students relate class content to "real life."
- Instead of collecting formative or summative data on student understanding, leverage the ability to insert information (not necessarily a question, or perhaps a rhetorical question) into a video. For example
- After a section of video that you think might be particularly complicated to understand, you might insert a statement containing a URL that students could navigate to for additional perspective (a textbook chapter, or a different video on the same topic)
- You could ask the student, at that point, to reflect on articulating what is most difficult to understand, or to identify the specific point when they feel they started to lose focus. The student could either provide that feedback during the video, or you could ask them to bring a response to class to engage a live discussion
- Interactive videos don't just have to be quizzes; they can support and enhance student mindset and provide them a sort of on-demand, adaptive support.
Although my initial interest in learning how to add quizzes to videos was to enforce student use of the videos, just from having spent a weekend playing with the available tools, I now can see so many more potentially powerful uses of the ability to edit videos by adding interactions. If you have additional uses of such interactions, please share them with me! How do (or would) you use this power in or out of the classroom?