I ask students to create tutorial videos where they explain course material (e.g how to do a math problem about a topic they are learning about, e.g. integration, induction). In this past, the students shared their videos only with me, not required (or requested) to share with classmates. and one or two asked if they would be shared with classmates, and I said no.

But now I want to ask students to create videos and make them available to classmates. They upload them to the password proctected learning management system (LMS) used by the college, so it is not open to the general public, just students in the class (of course students in the class could share with general public...)

Also I prefer not to "screen" the videos, i.e. watch them beforehand to make sure whether they are correct, don't contain inappropriate material. I just don't have the time.

I'm hesitant though because

  • there are the students that have limited understanding of what is going on and confidently assert non-sense, and may confuse other students as well as may be embarrased by their lack of understanding, or aspects of their presentation (e.g. voice, technical setup, etc)
  • privacy concerns: while the videos are on the password protected college LMS, there is nothing that prevents an individual student from copying the video and sharing/storing it for whatever purposes

(If it matters, this is a remote course taught synchronously on zoom, in the US, undergraduate level).

I'm having trouble formulating my exact question, but one is are there other concerns students might have? Any references to relevant literature about student privacy in digital classrooms (an area I have no background in) Are these concerns enough to justify abandoning this feat, or are there escape routes I can give? Last semester I tried suggesting that students make their video accessible to the entire class, but only a small number of students did. Is this assignment advisable? (Sorry if some of these questions are opinion based)

Here is an article illustrating the idea, but there the instructors pre-screened submissions:

Matthew A. Morena, Shelly Smith & Robert Talbert (2019) Video Made the Calculus Star, PRIMUS, 29:1, 43-55, DOI: 10.1080/10511970.2017.1396568 To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/10511970.2017.1396568 (sorry, behind a paywall, but for only $55 you can have 48 hours of access to it, lol)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Unless video-making skills are an explicit learning objective of the class (in which case you should teach it) I would suggest allowing students a choice of a variety of ways of demonstrating the learning objectives you're trying to focus on: maybe a paper or a webpage. Also, since students are explaining course material, your concern that students might confuse each other with misplaced confidence is very real. $\endgroup$
    – TomKern
    Aug 25, 2022 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ Are these students B.S. Education (or its equivalent) students? That is, is one of the goals of their degree program to have the students be able to teach others? $\endgroup$
    – JRN
    Aug 26, 2022 at 4:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ No, most are not intending to be teachers. Most are Computer Science majors. But I started doing these videos to replace tests. Also, the actual making the videos is not hard for the students - they can just write down the explanation on paper, take photo and upload to computer and screen record them explaining. But they have to explain, not just read off what is written $\endgroup$
    – usr0192
    Aug 26, 2022 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ "But I started doing these videos to replace tests." - because there is more wiggle room for grading videos, so you can make your students and, consequently, yourself look better? $\endgroup$
    – Rusty Core
    Sep 30, 2022 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ @RustyCore That hadn’t occurred to me. The main thing that would make students “look better” was if they understand, remember, could apply the material in future work or continue to pursue math. I’m not sure if the video assignments do this. Grades are well known to be unreliable measures of student learning and I don’t think my teaching is judged on my grade distribution which I doubt anyone monitors anyways. But you are right - the students that complete the assignment typically get As. But I tend to end up with a large number of F’s, but mostly from students who rarely if ever show up $\endgroup$
    – usr0192
    Oct 2, 2022 at 2:18

1 Answer 1


I work in a high school, and can tell you that students really prefer not to be randomly called on. I ask a question and hands go up, so there's some interaction, but when I call on a student looking down, it's clear they are not comfortable. In college/university, they should be more mature, but people, by their nature, may be shy. I think that to the outspoken student, there's no issue, but the shy ones may find this request very unfair. "I signed up for a math class, not to be put on the spot and on stage every week."

That said, the intent you had is great. If you had a TA or 2, they could help identify the best video(s) for each problem, and by the end of the term, you have the ability to offer something close to a self-study course, if those students are detailed enough with their explanations. During the year of Covid remote teaching, I supported a teacher who wasn't comfortable with tech. And I made videos to help the students who were falling behind. When the teacher might race through an example in 3 minutes, I'd get a chat message from a number of students, and create a detailed slow video closer to 15 minutes. The concept has potential value. The implementation might be very tough.

  • $\begingroup$ "students really prefer not to be randomly called on" - um, so? Answering in front of a class is normal, making videos is not. I would hate if I was asked to make a video, and I like making videos. $\endgroup$
    – Rusty Core
    Sep 30, 2022 at 23:30

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