Blank Stares after In-class Videos?

I like to showcase videos of award-winning marketing cases during class and in turn, ask the students to review, unpack, and build upon the campaigns. To my chagrin, I’m generally greeted by blank stares and faces after videos, especially if I start asking questions about the content. Guided by UDL principles, I went looking for a solution this week to help students make sense of video content.


  • Help my students to more actively process video content.
  • Help my students to create a reference collection of best-in-class digital cases.

Cornell Note taking Approach to the Rescue

The Cornell approach is well know to those who have had formal teaching training.

  • The approach is broken into 3 parts: general notes, key points, and summary
  • Watch this overview video and be sure to take notes šŸ™‚

How I heard about the Cornell approach

  • I am participating in Ontario Extend West cohort
  • Find this approach in the Teaching for Learning module under Organize Knowledge
Image of students’ notes using the Cornell approach

In-class Activity/Implementation

  • Introduced the approach
  • Guided students as they constructed the table
  • Students took notes about the video
  • Students watched the video twice
  • In pairs, students compared and contrasted notes and in turn, filled in any gaps
  • In pairs, students identified and wrote the key points
  • Class shared and discussed the key points
  • Students wrote a summary statement

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

4 Replies to “Blank Stares after In-class Videos?”

  1. I love the way you approached implementation of Cornell. I especially like that students have an opportunity to compare notes, fill in gaps, and be inspired by what the other has done.

    1. Thanks for the comment Lynn.

      I introduced the approach to a second class today and it appears to work well. Gonna try it throughout the semester and collect some feedback. We’ll see how it goes.

  2. The Cornell Notes do seem to work well to focus on parts of the video, rather than as a whole. I have hunch often students are fishing for what they think we want to hear.

    I often ask my students to correlate their comments (when asking them to write as a blog post or a tweet) with a link that points to a specific segment within a YouTube video, by using the “start at” checkbox option in the share window, e.g. I might want to reference the power of creating a summary

    Another approach I’ve tried with videos is using Vialogues, a tool to provide shared annotation for videos

    I’m glad to see your experimentation to get at better discussion on videos, keep at it and sharing what you discover

    1. Thanks for your tips Alan. I think the time stamp would help to focus student comments.

      The Vialogues is amazing. I think I need to give that tool a try.

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