In the fall of 2019, I interviewed Mike McGuirk who teaches in the Marketing Communication Department about his use of video in his assignment prompts. Mike asked his Social Media and VOC Analytics students to make two video presentations. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Do you set any parameters for the videos?
Yes, they are asked to present over slides. The camera is optional. For the first video assignment, they are asked to make a five-minute video and for the second video assignment, they make an eight-minute video.
What is the experience like?
The experience is really good. At first, I thought the students might have trouble, but they did well. I included some of ITG’s Panopto guides in the assignment prompt and only got a couple of questions from the students.
Did you ask them to do individual presentations or group presentations?
Individual presentations because it’s an online course.
What were the objectives of this assignment?
I wanted the students to get comfortable using analytics terms and also to communicate these concepts in a way that people who are not experts in the field could understand. Presentations are a good way to get the students to learn and process because they have to teach. In my face-to-face class, one-third of my assignments have a presentation component.
Is there a difference between presentations delivered over video and those delivered in-class face-to-face?
Yes. Students like presenting face-to-face. They enjoy doing it and they like listening to each other. Online, it’s a little different. I didn’t ask them to post their video publicly; they submitted their work only to me. I am considering letting them see each other’s video presentations in future assignments.
Was it a natural decision to ask your student to use video?
I was hesitant at first because I was worried about my students’ technical abilities but grad marketing students who are studying digital marketing and data analytics are pretty tech-savvy. My students are mostly comfortable speaking in public and have been in the workforce for several years. I also teach an undergrad analytics course, and they have to present as well. Even though undergrads don’t have as much experience with public speaking, they also do a very good job.
What’s the difference between face-to-face and online presentations?
Students presenting face-to-face can be more anxious but in both cases, they are going to be somewhat nervous. I have 25 years of experience presenting, and I tell my students that there’s no substitute for rehearsal. You get more comfortable when you’re more prepared. I can tell who winged it and who worked at it. It’s the same for video presentations.
When people are presenting online they are more apt to read the slides, as opposed to presenting in the classroom in front of fellow students when the slides are behind them. I deduct points for reading the slides.
One of the things I grade on is the presenter’s ability to stay within the time frame. I emphasize that, in the work environment, you might have a specific time frame to share the idea. In my career, I had people walk out and leave because I went on for too long. With video presentations, it’s easier to keep track of the time and do as many takes as you need to make sure you don’t go over.
Do you think that there’s a demand for video presenting skills in the world of marketing today?
Professionally, I don’t think there’s a demand in marketing for recorded presentations, but that might change.
Do you make video presentations?
I haven’t before but I do now for teaching online.
Is it challenging to make video presentations yourself?
I got feedback and was asked to talk in my videos like I would on the phone. In the beginning, I tried to not use “hm”s and “um”s, but then wondered if it made me sound more robotic. Now I am self-conscious about it.
Why not ask your students to share their presentation videos with each other through Canvas discussions?
Maybe I will. I don’t want to force them in case they’ll feel uncomfortable but it could promote a better sense of community to have them share their presentations.