Part 8: Fall 2018 Labs

142 Watching Yourself Teach – 11.15.2018

Just as athletes watch footage to improve their game, so can we use video to improve our teaching. In the November 15, 2018 Active Teaching Lab, participants discussed the logistics, purpose, and outcomes of video feedback for teaching. What setup options best capture the classroom? What do student responses and interactions reveal about their learning? Attendees shared simple, low-stakes steps that assess learning and promote positive classroom dynamics. 


  • Determine specific goals for video beforehand and why — how will student learning benefit from the insight gained?
  • Acknowledge that your first try may not capture what you’re after. Allow multiple trials before the particular class session to be analyzed to identify ideal camera placement for your space and goal.
  • Informing students of recording likely changes their behavior, but keeping them in the dark presents privacy concerns. Consider possible ways to inform students (brief statement before class, note in syllabus, detailed explanation the week before, etc.) and select approaches that keep them informed while maintaining a natural classroom environment. If you record every class — even if you don’t review them all — the camera becomes part of the norm.
  • Enlist the students! Modeling that you need reflection and review to get better shows that you care. You may be surprised at the effect this alone has on their engagement and learning — and on the constructive feedback you get from them!
  • Be familiar with FERPA guidelines before taking on a classroom recording project. A video is considered an “education record” if it is 1) directly related to the student and 2) maintained by an educational institution. A video focused on instructional practice is not an education record. If that video captures a presentation of a particular student or group, however, consent would need to be granted by those student(s) to publicly share it. Contact the Office of the Registrar with questions about FERPA compliance. 

For more information on video feedback for teaching, visit the session’s activity sheet.


The Active Teaching Lab is a Faculty Engagement program with sessions held on Thursdays from 1:00-2:00pm (room 302) and Fridays from 8:30-9:45am (room 120) in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.) during fall 2018. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs. We build interdisciplinary conversations that are more emergent than a presenter and more dynamic than a panel — a conversation with colleagues sharing challenges, solutions, and experiments on topics selected by a variety of stakeholders.

Sign up for regular Lab announcements by sending an email to


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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