Engaging Videos for Teaching

July 18, 2018

By Suman Mishra (Associate Professor, Mass Communications)

We are living in an era where an enormous amount of high quality videos is being produced and consumed. Most of our “digital native” students are watching videos on a daily basis through social media or other web-based platforms to learn something new or to just entertain themselves.

Videos (short clips, full length feature films, and documentaries) can be a highly effective pedagogical tool when used appropriately. Incorporating videos into lectures and courses can help address needs of different types of learners in a classroom. The pedagogical benefits of using engaging videos in the classroom are well established (see Hsin and Cigas, 2013; Mayer, 2001; Rackaway, 2012). I have been using videos in my courses for quite sometime now. I find them to be quite effective in engaging students to think about critical social and political issues, inspiring them to dig deeper into an issue, breaking the monotony of a dry content and to make students laugh while also getting a point across, reinforcing the lecture content, and providing a different (or multiple) perspective on an issue.

I teach media related courses so perhaps it has been quite natural for me to incorporate video clips from television shows, news, and films in my courses. But over the years, searching for videos for my courses, I have found many different types of videos online that I thought could be effectively used in other disciplines. Video clips from entertainment shows can be a great starting point for a discussion on a variety of topics including foreign affairs, health, law, management, organizational psychology, history, sociology, and sciences.

Below, I have listed a few web-based resources that I frequently use in my courses. Feel free to check them out and hopefully you will find them useful.

TED Videos:  https://www.ted.com/talks

Kanopy: Available through SIUE library has many films and documentaries.

Alexander Street Press Videos: Available through SIUE Library http://libguides.siue.edu/friendly.php?s=aspvideo

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com

Vimeo:  https://vimeo.com

PBS Frontline: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/

Various online news sites such as The New York Times, BBC, PBS and so on, produce lot of high quality short videos on many different topics.


Hsin, W. J. & Cigas, J, (2013). Short videos improve student learning in online education. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 28, 253-259.

Mayer R.E. (2001). Multimedia learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Rackaway, C. (2012). Video killed the textbook star? Use of multimedia supplements to enhance student learning. Journal of Political Science Education, 8, 189-200.

Categories: All Categories, Videos, Teaching