Asynchronous Learning involves any form of teaching and learning where the instruction and learning occur at different times. Homework is a form of asynchronous learning, so educational methods have almost always included an asynchronous component. Digital technologies allow for a lot more of it. Most of us have been using email and course websites for asynchronous learning for many years now, but with Canvas we can interact with students through discussion boards and students can even take quizzes that are automatically graded and put into the Canvas grade book.

Asynchronous Video Lectures.  Digital technologies now also allow for faculty to easily pre-record their lectures, post them to Canvas, and then allow students to asynchronously watch them at a time of their convenience. Digital lectures are nothing new. MOOCs (massive open online courses) have been around a very long time, as have academic video lecture series such as the Great Courses, and YouTube lectures and podcasts. What is different is that we can all now easily record our own lectures through Kaltura or Zoom.

By now, most instructors are familiar with recorded Zoom sessions. Both Kaltura and Zoom generate automatic closed-captions that help with accessibility once the recording is finished. However, we recommend that you pre-record lectures using Kaltura because this has the option of recording two video streams simultaneously. If you are using your computer screen to display anything (videos, images, a PowerPoint presentation, etc.), both you and your screen are recorded separately. When students watch the video, they have the option of watching the two streams side-by-side or by making one window larger than the other.

Both Zoom and Kaltura recordings should be started within your Canvas course, which makes it easier for them to be recorded there. Washington University has an unlimited-data contract with Kaltura (but not Zoom), so even Zoom videos are recorded in your Canvas pages through Kaltura, as shown here.

Making your Recordings.  Pre-recording your lectures is very easy if you are just speaking or using displays on your laptop. Things get a little more complicated if you want your students to see you drawing in real time. This can be done by using the annotation feature within PowerPoint. It can also be done by hooking another device such as a tablet or document camera to your computer. However, if you would prefer to write on a physical blackboard or whiteboard as part of your lecture, you may want to have the CTL record your lectures for you.

CTL “Studios.” During the summer, the CTL was recording faculty lectures in several of the classrooms in Seigle Hall. With the start of classes, these have been moved to classrooms in Eads Hall. These rooms have remote-controlled pan-tilt-zoom cameras and lavalier mics. Faculty can sign up for time slots here, when they can come into a classroom, give their lecture in any they like, and they will be recorded with a live (but out of the room!) cameraperson on a high-quality camera.

Pedagogical Recommendations for Asynchronous Learning

  • Set up discussion forums for students in Canvas. Use specific, structured questions, and let students know expectations for their responses. See the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Teaching Excellence’s instructor recommendations for Fostering Effective Discussions
  • Share links to external resources. Encourage students to watch or read these curated videos, articles, etc. 
  • Set up live, text-based chat sessions with students. Microsoft Teams is a good institutional chat technology with minimal set-up for faculty and students. To learn more about setting up a class chat in Microsoft Teams, visit WashU IT’s Microsoft Teams page.
  • Keep videos short and lively. It is often harder to focus on a video than on a person! Check out some tips for creating lively short online videos from online educator Karen Costa.
  • Test your microphone to make sure that you have good sound quality. Consider using a headset with an external microphone to capture better audio. 
  • Edit your class recording by using the Kaltura Editor tool. Instructions can be found here.
  • Integrate interaction with the lecture material. You might consider setting up a Canvas discussion board with some specific questions, using a quiz or setting up a chat session for a text-based live discussion. 
  • Annotate your slideshow with notes,and share this with students using Canvas.
  • Additional instructional and pedagogical resources are available from Kaltura

Links and Resources for Kaltura