First Edition-Summer-2008


Talking Heads: How Web Cam Video can boost communication and create more dynamic online courses.
Brian Salerno | Instructional Designer

Have you ever wished that you could see the expressions on your online students’ faces or the inflections in their voices? Have you ever wondered if there was a way for you to make a quick point out-loud without having to type it all out? Do you wish you had a way to make your online courses more visually appealing and dynamic? Web Cam video may be the answer you’ve been looking for. There has been a recent flood of free, fun, and easy-to-use video hosting tools on the Web, YouTube and Google Video being among the most common, but did you know that you can record, host, and share video from the comfort of your home or office without needing any expensive software or video editing knowledge? All you need is your laptop, an internet connection, a Web, and something to say!

There are many Web 2.0 video recording tools available,,,, and are just a few of the sites available that will allow you to record and broadcast yourself via the Web. We’ve found one Web cam video tool that stands-out for its ease-of-use and flexibility, requires you to sign-up for an account; as a result Viddler can store all of your videos in an easily accessible location. This allows you to search for, organize, and even name all of your previous recordings. Once you’ve signed up you simply plug in your Web cam, click on “Record” and with a few simple clicks you’ve been transformed into Tom Brokaw or Barbara Walters! Well, maybe that’s a stretch, but it is an easy and efficient way to create a short video which you can post in Blackboard. Some positive attributes of

  • Viddler currently has no set time limit for recording videos, and the size limit for uploaded video is a generous 500 megabytes.
  • You can download the source files of your videos after you have recorded them, so you can save them on your hard drive and never have to worry about losing your videos.
  • Viddler allows you to upload a variety of different types of video files.
  • It allows you to record directly, using your Web cam without the need for any other software.
  • You can embed your Viddler videos within your Blackboard courses, so your students will never need to navigate away from your course.

Viddler can be used for posting recorded announcements, video blogs, module overviews, or any other informal or incidental message that could be delivered as a video rather than text. You can also use Viddler to post replies and feedback to your students’ discussion posts and you may even consider giving your students the option of posting their discussion board or blog posts in the form of a Viddler video. Adding video to your course is a great way to create a more visually interesting and appealing environment for your online students, to add spontaneity to discussion and collaborative activities, and to enhance the sense of familiarity and connection in your online courses.

Before you begin creating your first Web cam video, there are a few important tips to take into consideration:

  • Viddler, like other Web 2.0 video tools, is free and is not owned or supported by Quinnipiac University. While QU Online can provide some assistance and training when it comes to using or other video creation and hosting sites, we are unable to troubleshoot technical issues on the Website.
  • While Viddler and other Web 2.0 tools are generally very easy to use, some students with different computer configurations may have difficulty creating a video. If you choose to allow your students to create Viddler videos, it’s advisable that video is not required and that you provide a text-based work-around for any student who is unable to create a Web cam video.
  • The shelf-life of Viddler videos is unknown at this time. As long as maintains their free service, it is expected that your videos will remain on their servers; therefore we recommend using Viddler for quick and informal messages rather than content related lecture videos that you plan to reuse each term.
  • If you are interested in create more high-quality permanent videos, we recommend that you contact an instructional designer to discuss more permanent video production options. Viddler, however is a quick and easy solution to enhance your course.

Web cam video is one of many new fun and easy-to-use teaching technologies that can enhance learning in your online courses. If you would like to discuss ways in which you could integrate video into your curriculum, contact your instructional designer or email us at

For more information on how to use to record your own videos click here for a quick tutorial or go to to get started.



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