EducationHigher EducationPedagogyPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Videos in the Classroom. How much is too much?

For the courses that I teach sometimes a demo is needed to show the principle that is being discussed. Sometimes that demo can be physical objects that are set into motion, sometimes they are animations, and sometimes they are video clips. There is always some type of lecture before and after these demos they are not intended to take up the full class or to be in lieu of a lecture. Once in awhile I run across a decent video that would take up most of the class time and if I feel we have the time to watch such video sometimes I will allow this. These videos are never meant to replace a lecture only to enhance it.

The reason I am being so careful to discuss how I use such videos is because I have colleagues that use videos to replace the actual lecture. They do not lecture about the topic at all. They just put the DVD in the player, let the students watch it, and then give them a quiz. This irritates me but it is not my class and I am sure that if this was done once a semester then it probably would not be a big deal. However, I know instructors who do this almost every class period. I do not think this is a good method to use to “teach” students in college (or any level for that matter.) If I were the student that was paying for such instruction I would be very upset. This brings me to today’s pop quiz:

Are videos in classrooms good substitutions for lecture? Is there a limit to the number of videos that should be played during a semester? How do you use videos to enhance your course?


The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons (ET).

Featured Image:  Cinema 4 at HOYTS, Forest Hill Shopping Centre, Forest Hill, Victoria, Australia. by Fernando de Sousa

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JoDee is an adjunct faculty instructor of astronomy and physics at various colleges around her hometown in the midwest. When she is not trying to get her cat, Pixel, off of her laptop she is observing variable stars and researching black holes.


  1. March 1, 2014 at 5:34 am —

    I occasionally use certain PBS-style videos for my music appreciation classes. After all, who am I to tell them something if Leonard Bernstein can do it for me?

  2. March 3, 2014 at 6:17 pm —

    In the classroom I primarily use short video clips to illustrate things that are difficult to see or to show a demo of something that is not possible for me to set up. On my website I post links to video clips of things students are expected to do on their own, for instance solving a certain type of problem or using excel to create a scatter plot graph. When I do show a whole video in class I usually pause it from time to time to discuss what is going on, but it is rare that I show an entire movie or show.

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