by Karen Nichols
We have been touting the importance of the presence of the instructor in an online class by using videos, audio files, photos, discussions, etc. The students should feel the teacher's presence throughout the course. Many instructors are including videos and while at the Institute for New Faculty Developers last week, one of the presenters shared that they encourage their instructors to post a weekly video of themselves explaining the upcoming week's activities and assignments. They use their smartphones with the YouTube app to record the video and upload it, then they link to it inside Blackboard. What a good idea! But can you hold your phone vertically to record this video? Well, there are two sides to this argument as I have discovered in my research. Vertical video syndrome is defined by the Urban Dictionary as "an affliction of those that record video using an upright mobile phone - as if taking a portrait photograph. My left eye is not in the centre of my forehead, my right eye is not on the tip of my nose. " When these vertical videos are posted on such sites as YouTube, they are skewed and appear unattractive. There are even mock PSAs posted against the dreaded vertical video.
A recent article published on Litmos, Effective Use of Vertical Video for Training, offers an even more positive view of the vertical video. Brent Schlenker believes we'll be seeing more and more of vertical videos in the field of mlearning (mobile learning) and sooner rather than later since mobile devices are becoming so prevalently used in distance education. Here's a discussion from April 2015's International Journalism Festival on vertical vs. horizontal video: