Office of Academic Innovation


The online lecture, a typical classroom lecture converted to an online media-based format, has been a popular delivery method for content since the inception of the web. Consider using an online lecture as a supplemental tool for providing large amounts of information to your students. Online lectures can also be a great tool for kick-starting a dialogue or learning activity.

Lecture versus Multimedia Lecturette

When we lecture we communicate facts and our interpretation of those facts, we synthesize various sources, we provide guidelines to help students process information and illustrations from our experience, etc.

What you are reading right now may be considered an online lecture about teaching online. ISD Basics shows examples of a learning object that could be used as either a stand-alone tutorial or in conjunction with an online or hybrid course.  These tutorials utilize text, graphics video and hyperlinks for navigation and to facilitate review.

Video Lectures and Demonstrations

At Towson, you can use our Digital Media Classroom to record, archive and live-stream lectures over the internet. You can also show PowePoint, Web sites, illustrations, photographs, and artifacts, and even write on the screen or on paper.

Here is sample of what students see:

Screen capture of the student view of a Towson Digital Media Classroom online presentation which inlcudes a photo of David Wizer and several PowerPoint slides

Other Videos Online

Videos that you normally show in class, can be digitized and compressed to illustrate course concepts. Your textbook may come with a CD-ROM or a multimedia rich support Web site. Since Blackboard is a password-protected environment for learning, some amounts of copyrighted works can be shown in Blackboard. For help please contact OAI and ask for the Multimedia group at x4-2005 or

If you would like to create a multimedia-based online lecture and need support for creating audio, video, PowerPoint, etc. please contact OAI at x4-2005 or

Online Lecture Tips

Remember these tips when creating an online lecture for your course:




Use the online lecture strategy sparingly

Don’t post PowerPoint slides by themselves

Add interactivity

Don’t use online lectures and expect students to memorize the material

Make the online lecture user-friendly

Don’t repeat a textbook

Supplement the online lecture with an advanced organizer or outline


Use sound graphic design principles


Ask open-ended questions and require your students to respond


Supplement the lecture with other learning activities



Do Use the Online Lecture Strategy Sparingly

Avoid using the online lecture format as the central focus of your course. Students react positively to interaction based activities on the web. Furthermore, feedback is a necessary component to a student’s success in an online course. The online lecture format does not provide the opportunity for interaction or feedback.

Do Add Interactivity

Online lectures can be sometimes dull. Whenever possible, consider adding interactivity to engage the audience. Interactivity can include:

  • Adding links to other sites
  • Adding multimedia
  • Adding rollovers (links that trigger sound or popup windows when the
    mouse moves over them)
  • Adding links within the lecture that require the user to make choices. Based on
    the user’s choices, they are taken to a different area in the lecture
  • Including appropriate images
  • Ask questions that engage student thinking.
  • Recommend further research or inquiry

For a example using all of these techniques:

Do Make the Online Lecture User-Friendly

If you are creating a text-based online lecture, make the lecture easy to read and easy to navigate.
A readable document is broken into main ideas that are clearly defined by the use of headings
and white space. A navigable document includes hyperlinks that takes the user to clearly
marked headings.

A text-based lecture should be “printer-friendly” to accommodate students who prefer to read paper-based content. A printer-friendly document contains dark text on a light or white background. To ensure readability, try printing your document before you post it to your course site.

If you are creating a multimedia-based lecture, make sure the audio/video is clear and easy to access. If you require plug-ins such as a RealAudio player or QuickTime player, include directions on accessing and installing the plug-in. When including multimedia, make sure that the lecture can be accessed on computers that are connected to the Internet by a modem. Ensure that your students can access the lecture from home without having to wait extended periods of time for the file to download. If you need help creating a multimedia-based lecture, please contact OAI at x4-2005. Ask to speak to Ron Santana, lead Multimedia Services.

Do Supplement the Lecture With an Advanced Organizer or Outline

Create an advanced organizer or outline that your students can follow while participating in an online lecture.

Do Use Sound Graphic Design Principles

Sound graphic design will assist in the readability of a document, consequently enhancing the student’s learning experience. Consider using the following design principles when developing your online lecture:

  • Use fonts that are easy to read such as arial, helvetica, or sans-serif. Do not use more than one font.
  • Your document should not contain more than three colors, unless absolutely necessary. Avoid bright colors.
  • Use whitespace to your advantage. Create space between your text. Add extra space between paragraphs and images.
  • Use headings to make your lecture more readable.
  • Only use images that relate to the topic at hand. Do not use images that will distract the reader from the main point.
  • Make sure your text color contrasts with the background color. For example, use a dark text on a light background.

Do Ask Open-ended Questions and Require Your Students to Respond

Ask open-ended questions that will require your students to reflect on the lecture. Require your students to respond to the questions on paper or in the discussion board area of your course site by a certain date.

Do Supplement the Lecture With Other Learning Activities

Based on the content of the online lecture, consider asking your students to participate in an online discussion, act out a scene, research and write a paper, or make decisions on important issues.

Be careful when using an online lecture by itself! An online lecture is great for presenting material. However, if you want your students to apply the material in any way, you will need to supplement the lecture with more engaging learning activities such as an online discussion, simulations, case studies, group activities, and performance-based projects.

Don’t Post PowerPoint Slides by Themselves

Typically PowerPoint slides by themselves are insufficient. Include an accompanying audio or add more detail to the slides. Consider using the notes area to add more information to your slides.

Don’t Use Online Lectures and Expect Students to Memorize the Material

The lecture format is great for providing information. However, if you want your students to memorize the material, consider supplementing the lecture with advanced organizers, guided reading strategies, and outlines. Writing lectures in narrative format can also help student retain of material.

Don’t Repeat a Textbook

Don’t create an online lecture that repeats the text of an already published textbook. If you already have a textbook containing the same material you want to convey, why repeat it? Not only are you duplicating work, you may also breach copyright regulations.

Instead of repeating the textbook, consider enhancing the your lecture with real-life stories and examples that are based on textbook content.


Copyright Questions

For assistance with copyright questions, contact Rick Davis at 410-704-4116 or


Office of Academic Innovation
Cook Library Room 405
Phone: 410-704-2005


Watch Clips of Faculty Tips

Which instructional videos work effectively online? (1:03)

What is the ideal lecture length? (1:47)

More tips on instructional videos online (1:39)

See all faculty tips






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