This -isn’t- shouldn’t be your parents’ educational TV

Jörn Loviscach
University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld

Instructional videos, freely available lecture recordings, and massive open online courses (MOOCs) have heightened the interest in producing educational audiovisual material. But the potential is only rarely exploited. Challenged by (sometimes imagined) limitations of technology and restrictions of time and budget, video authors often resort to what they are used to. This talks discusses tricks in didactics, dramaturgy, presentation, illustration, and software use to move beyond educational TV. Less “TV” and more “education” means removing glitz and becoming more authentic but also enables a lean workflow.


Jörn Loviscach teaches on YouTube and Udacity and researches into novel forms of and software support for teaching and learning in higher education. He is a professor of technical mathematics and computer engineering at Fachhochschule Bielefeld (University of Applied Sciences). Previously, he was a professor of computer graphics at Hochschule Bremen and a deputy editor-in-chief at c’t computing magazine, Hannover. He has a doctoral degree in physics. For further background, see:


  1. “But the potential is only rarely exploited.”

    I could not agree more. I would add that when it _is_ exploited, the streams and recordings are almost unwatchable since they usually only consist of a static shot of the speaker at a podium (if you are lucky) and a capture of the projection screen signal. It is hard to pay attention since, as a TV program, they are so static as to be hypnotic.

    The AutoAuditorium System, which I build and sell, has some properties that make it somewhat better. See for examples.

    Now some people would describe what AutoAud does as “glitz”, but I claim that it actually tends to focus the TV program on what the presenters think is important by following them as they move around the “stage” and emphasizing the screen when it changes or is being pointed at with a hand, stick or laser and emphasizes the chalkboard when it is being written on. The real-time automatic editting makes it look more like a television program and less like “educational TV”.

    As to a lean workflow, see . has
    reduced the streaming and recording to a simple START/STOP button. The result is they
    make about 20 hours of telecast a week, 49 weeks per year, with minimal staff support.
    The weekly staff support consists of loading the schedule of expected talks into the system before the first talk. The schedule provides the presenter’s name, talk title and approximate start time.

    The presenter decides when, or if, to start and end the telecast (with or without audience questions) by pressing the START/STOP button. Software does the rest. Each telecast (recording and stream) has automatic on-screen titles taken from the schedule and the recording is on the web site 10 minutes after completion.

    I won’t be at DIVERSE to hear your presentation, but I hope there is a recording, because
    I like the notion of less TV and more education.

    Mike Bianchi

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