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Originally published in: Wachtler, J. & Ebner, M. (2014).

Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions - Implementation of
a first prototype. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2014
(pp. 562-571). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.


Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions
Implementation of a first prototype


Josef Wachtler
Institute for Information Systems and Computer Media
Graz University of Technology
Austria
josef.wachtler@tugraz.at

Martin Ebner
Social Learning - Computer and Information Services
Graz University of Technology
Austria
martin.ebner@tugraz.at


Abstract: In general videos have a more or less consuming character without any interaction
possibilities. Due to this fact a web-based application is developed which offers different methods
of communication and interaction to a certain learning-video. This should help attendees to avoid
that they become tired and annoyed. The lecturer is able to use interactions to omit whether learners
are able to understand the content of the video. For instance the developed web-application offers
the possibility to add multiple-choice-questions at predefined positions. Furthermore there are
many different kind of analysis as for example a detailed attention-profile. In this publication the
implementation of a first prototype is described as well as a first field study which points out that
learners’ interactions and engagements increased arbitrarily.


Introduction

TV and video are naturally bound very tight. In the context of teaching and learning we are talking about learning-
videos which are more and more used in classrooms and lecture theaters. Due to the fact that today also videos
become and are digital it is common to download a video from the Internet and to watch them on personal (mobile)
devices. On the one hand it can be pointed out that technical aspects changed dramatically but on the other hand the
media itself is still more or less the same, which means that also today videos have only a consuming character. This
fact lead to a maxim that stated “TV is easy and book is hard” (Salmon, 1984) and described that multimedia
through its more beautiful content visualization and obvious easier information presentation is over estimated in
concerns of learning success. Finally videos become not very accepted in the field of technology-enhanced teaching.
Because of the missing interaction learners become passive during watching a video and so the learning success
differs in no way compared to learning with a book. It is more true that videos are misleading to a more superficial
work on the content.
However learning is a very social and cognitive process that has to be done by each learner itself and interaction and
communication are two crucial facts for learning (Preece et al, 2002). Bearing in mind, these two factors received a
lot of support in the last years with the increasing usage of computers and web-technologies (Carr-Chellman &
Duchastel, 2000). A huge number of interactive learning objects (Ebner & Holzinger, 2003) were developed and
different Web-2.0 technologies like Weblogs (Luca & McLoughlin, 2005), Wikis (Augar et al, 2004) and Social
Media (Ebner, 2013) were used to enhance teaching and learning. Due to the current trend of so-called MOOCs
(Massive Open Online Courses) videos are giving a kind of comeback (Khalil & Ebner, 2013) because they are a
valuable possibility for short phases of presentation in the field of complete online-teaching. In general learning-
videos could be very manifold and they could use different methods (Schön & Ebner, 2013). Nevertheless a video is
still an one-sided and passive media in all of our investigated studies.
In this research work we like to address the following research question: How can we increase the interactivity and
therefore the attention of the learners while learning with videos. Or with other words this study aims to “develop a
prototype to increase the interaction and to create an attention-profile in a video-based lecture.”
Originally published in: Wachtler, J. & Ebner, M. (2014). Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions - Implementation of
a first prototype. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2014
(pp. 562-571). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

In comparison to this work Youtube
1
also offers the possibility to add questions to videos. However we are going to
develop a web-application which additionally provides a lot of features of analysis to fully evaluate students'
attention and can also use any video on the web.
First of all it is pointed out how this interactivity should be used and after that a prototype that follows these
assumptions is presented. This is followed by a very first evaluation to show that the application is generally
working. Finally an outlook to future developments and scientific research questions is given.


Motivation

The mentioned importance of interactions is valid for both, the learners and the lecturers. Helmrich & Scherer
(2007) mentioned that the lecturer should use interaction and communication intensively and have to answer the
following questions for him/herself to adopt his/her teaching accordingly:

• Is it possible for the learners to follow the content?
• Is the speed appropriate?
• Is the previous knowledge of the learners enough?
• Is it possible for the learners to understand the content?
• Is the format and the preparation of the content suited for the target audience?
• Is the content itself suited for the target audience?

The learners itself should be able to avoid that they become tired or annoyed with the help of the interactions. This
effect is based on the growing usage of multimedia (Helmerich & Scherer, 2007). So probably a way to avoid these
negative aspects is the usage of comprehension questions or other similar tasks. This should help to increase the
attention and the motivation which are essential factors of successful learning (Holzinger, 2000).


Implementation

As already has been stated a web-application that offers different methods of interaction and communication will be
developed. This application should be suitable for videos as well as live-broadcasting of lectures. So the attention
and contribution of the learners should be increased (Carr-Chellman & Duchastel, 2000; Freeman & Dobbie, 2005).
This section presents the most important functionalities of the web-application with the name LIVE
2
.


Overview

For a better overview this section presents the software-architecture of LIVE on a very high level of abstraction. As
shown in Fig. 1 the project is based on a web-server (e.g. Apache-HTTP-Server
3
) and on a database server as for
instance MySQL
4
. The Django-web-framework
5
encapsulates these two servers to form a consistent level of
abstraction for the implementation. The framework is written for and with the programming language Python
6
and it
follows the model-view-controller design pattern. Furthermore it offers many basic functionalities like a mighty
Database-API, a large template system or some security mechanisms. There are also two packages with the name
auth and admin which help to implement a user management and an administration-desktop. Now these packages
are forming the base for the implementation together with the project definition of LIVE. (Django documentation,
2013; Holovaty & Kaplan-Moss, 2009)
The package LIVE.core contains the implementation of all basic functionalities of the web-application as for
example the user management or the management of the events. The most important parts of this package are
______________________________________
[1] https://www.youtube.com/video_questions_beta (last accessed December 2013)
[2] Short for “LIVE Interaction in Virtual learning Environments“
[3] http://httpd.apache.org/ (last accessed December 2013)
[4] http://www.mysql.com/ (last accessed December 2013)
[5] https://www.djangoproject.com/ (last accessed December 2013)
[6] http://www.python.org/ (last accessed December 2013)
Originally published in: Wachtler, J. & Ebner, M. (2014). Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions - Implementation of
a first prototype. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2014
(pp. 562-571). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

presented by the section Core-Components. Beside this the package LIVE.interactions handles all interaction-related
tasks (see section Interactions). The different methods of interaction are based on this package and they are
implemented as independent packages.



Figure 1: The architecture of LIVE

Core-Components

This core package contains all basic components of the web-application mainly the implementation of the user
management and the management of the events (see section Overview).
The user management has two important responsibilities. First it handles the login and the logout of the users
because the web-application is only available for registered and authenticated users. Second it defines three types of
users. The normal users who are known as learners are only allowed to join events. In comparison to that the users
with lecturer-privileges are further able to create events. Finally there are the administrators which are allowed to
access the administration-desktop to change the basic settings of the web-application.
The management of the events offers the possibility to the lecturers to perform all tasks in the life cycle of an event
(e.g. create, delete or analyze). As already mentioned it is possible to add a live-broadcasting as well as a video after
the creation of an event.
Fig. 2 points out the dialog to add a video to an event. On the top the settings for the presented learning-video and its
unique URL could be seen. Below the methods of interaction which should be offered at this event have to be
chosen (see section Interactions). After the creation of an event and after settings for a video or live-broadcasting are
added the attendees are able to join the event.



Figure 2: Add or edit the video-settings by providing the URL of a video and
by selecting the methods of interaction to offer

Originally published in: Wachtler, J. & Ebner, M. (2014). Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions - Implementation of
a first prototype. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2014
(pp. 562-571). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

During the event the attendees see this user interface (Fig 3). Area with the number (1) shows the video or the live-
broadcasting. As visible the flash version of the web-based flowplayer
7
is used to present them. On the left side area
with the number (2) presents some metadata and an information about the current level of attention by using the
colors of a traffic light. This attention level tries to indicate how attentive the related attendee is at the moment (see
section Analysis of the Attendance). Furthermore there is a possibility to leave the event. Below that area with the
number (3) offers different control elements to invoke interactions. The number of such control elements depends on
the chosen methods of interaction at the creation of the event (see above).



Figure 3: The main screen for the attendees during an event shows the video (1), some
metadata (2) and various control elements (3) to start interactions


Interactions

As already mentioned frequently the interactions are grouped to so-called methods of interaction. In addition every
method of interaction is associated to a type which indicates how to invoke the related interactions.
The web-application defines four such types:

1. Automatically invoked methods of interaction start their interactions in a random way without anybody has
to call them explicitly.
2. Lecturer-started methods of interaction offer some control elements to invoke interactions. They are only
available at live-broadcastings.
3. In comparison to that there are also attendee-invoked methods of interactions which also use control
elements to start their interactions.
4. Planed methods of interaction of this type start their interactions at predefined positions in the video. So the
lecturer has to plan the interactions before the event.

Currently there are two methods of interaction of type 1. The first one offers simple and general questions which
could be answered by clicking a button. Similar to that the second one presents a CAPTCHA to solve.
The single method of interaction of type 2 offers the possibility to the lecturer to ask a text based question during a
live-broadcasting to the attendees. After that they are able return an answer which is presented to the lecturer
immediately.
The third type offers three methods of interaction. The first one implements the inverted variant of the previous
explained method. This means that the attendees are able to ask questions to the lecturer and to read his/her answer
______________________________________
[7] http://flash.flowplayer.org/ (last accessed December 2013)
Originally published in: Wachtler, J. & Ebner, M. (2014). Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions - Implementation of
a first prototype. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2014
(pp. 562-571). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

if he/she added one. The second one provides a slider which could be used by the attendees to manually set their
current level of attention. Finally there is also a dialog to report a technical problem.
Furthermore a method of interaction of type 4 is implemented too. It provides the possibility to ask multiple-choice-
questions at predefined positions and a detailed analysis of the answers (see section Multiple-Choice-Questions at
planed Positions). Because of the type it is required that the lecturer plans the questions before the event.
Finally there is also a so-called welcome-interaction. It pops up at the beginning of an event and explains the usage
of the interactions to the attendees.
The interactions of the explained methods of interaction are presented to the attendees during an event. If such an
interaction occurs the video pauses until the attendee performs the requested task.


Multiple-Choice-Questions at planed Positions

This method of interaction of type 4 provides the possibility to ask multiple-choice-questions at planed positions in a
more or less automatic way (see section Interactions).
This indicates that it is necessary for the lecturer to plan the questions before the event starts. For that he/she is
prompted to use the presented dialog (Fig. 4). At the top of the site the included video offers the possibility to search
a position to add a question. After clicking the associated button a further dialog appears to insert the question and
its answers. Below a list presents the questions added earlier. In addition it offers the possibility to perform related
tasks like for instance editing or deleting questions.



Figure 4: Planning the questions by adding them at chosen positions in the video

After the lecturer has added the questions the attendees get them shown during the event (Fig. 5). Now they have the
possibility to answer the questions by selecting their answer of choice. This is followed by a feedback which
compares the answer of the attendee with the correct answer.
At every time the lecturer is able to view a detailed analysis of the questions (Fig. 6). At the top a matrix presents the
names of the attendees in the lines and in the columns the questions. A field becomes green if the attendee has
answered the related question more often correct than false otherwise the field becomes red. It stays gray if the
question isn't answered. Below that each question together with its answers is printed and the bar-charts visualize
how often the associated answer is chosen.
Originally published in: Wachtler, J. & Ebner, M. (2014). Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions - Implementation of
a first prototype. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2014
(pp. 562-571). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.



Figure 5: The question pops up during the video which is paused until
the attendee submits an answer or refuses to answer



Figure 6: The analysis of the answers of all questions uses a matrix and bar-charts

Furthermore a detailed analysis of the answers of each attendee is available by clicking its name in the matrix (Fig.
7). Again a matrix shows the time of each answer in the lines and in the columns the selected answers (green) are
printed. In addition the column “correct?” indicates with the color green if the question was answered correct in the
related try. Below a bar-chart points out how often each answer was chosen by this attendee. The matrix and the bar-
chart are calculated for each answered question.
Originally published in: Wachtler, J. & Ebner, M. (2014). Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions - Implementation of
a first prototype. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2014
(pp. 562-571). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.



Figure 7: A detailed analysis of the answers of a single attendee is presented by a
matrix and a bar-chart for each answered question


Analysis of the Attendance

This global analysis of the attendance displays a list of the joined attendees of an event at the overview-site of the
lecturer. For a very first analysis this list also states how much of the video was watched by each attendee.



Figure 8: The analysis of the attendance of an attendee prints some statistical data
and a history of the joined timespans

Furthermore a more detailed analysis of each single attendee is available (Fig. 8). At the top a list shows some
statistical data like for instance the number of joined timespans or the length of the shortest and the longest joined
timespan. Below that a visualization of the history of the joined timespans is presented. This timeline marks every
joined timespan with a colored bar. If a bar is hovered with the mouse a more detailed information about this
timespan appears. It prints the time of the begin, the end and the length of this joined timespan in relative and
absolute values. Furthermore a so-called attention-level is calculated. It indicates how attentive the attendee was
during this joined timespan. This attention-level is based on the reaction-times of the interactions and will be
decreasing if the attendee reacted slower to an interaction. This detailed analysis of the attendance of an attendee is
available for both, the lecturer and the analyzed attendee.
Originally published in: Wachtler, J. & Ebner, M. (2014). Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions - Implementation of
a first prototype. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2014
(pp. 562-571). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

The necessary data for this analysis is logged in two ways. On the one hand the joined timespans are measured
server-sided to collect the absolute times. On the other hand the relative times are recorded by monitoring the status
(playing, paused and current position) of the used video-player.


Evaluation

Currently the developed web-application is used for a very first evaluation at the lecture “Learning in the Net: From
possible and feasible things”
8
at the Karl-Franzens University of Graz. This lecture presents and discusses some
technologies of the so-called new medias in the field of teaching. The content of the lecture is provided by using
eight videos. Each of them has a length of approximately ten minutes. These videos are offered to the attendees by
the developed web-application. It is used to add two multiple-choice-questions with the help of the method of
interaction explained above.
As an example the occurrences of the interactions during the first video are shown in Fig. 9 by a timeline. It can be
seen that at the beginning the welcome-interaction appears and that at position 02:45 min. the first multiple-choice-
question pops up. After this question is answered the video resumes playing until the occurrence of a random
interaction of type 1 (e.g. at position 06:11 min.). Finally the second multiple-choice-question starts at position
09:14 min.



Figure 9: The timeline shows the occurrence of the interactions
during the first video


Video 1 Video 2
Length [min] 10:13 08:32
Attendees 32 20
100% watched 20 (62,5%) 9 (45%)
75% - 99% watched 7 (21,88%) 5 (25%)
50% - 74% watched 1 (3,13%) 1 (5%)
MC-Questions 2 2
1. Question correct 23 (71,88%) 18 (90%)
1. Question not correct 5 (15,63%) 2 (10%)
2. Question correct 26 (81,25%) 20 (100%)
2. Question not correct 2 (6,25%) 0 (0%)

Table 1: Statistical data about the usage of the web-application at the first two videos

Some statistical data regarding the first two videos (as of 2013-11-11) are presented in Tab. 1 to evaluate the usage
of the developed web-application. It can be seen that the absolute number of attendees as well as the number of
those who watched the complete video decreased at the second video. In comparison to that the number of attendees
who watched more than 50% or more than 75% is more or less equal. Whether this effect is going on will be pointed
out by the following units.
______________________________________
[8] https://online.uni-graz.at/kfu_online/lv.detail?cperson_nr=63360&clvnr=370548 (last accessed December 2013)
Originally published in: Wachtler, J. & Ebner, M. (2014). Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions - Implementation of
a first prototype. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2014
(pp. 562-571). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

In comparison to that the analysis of the answers to the multiple-choice-questions delivers an opposite result. Both
questions are answered more often correct at the second video than at the first one. However the number of correct
answers is generally very high at the two videos. Furthermore it can be seen that all attendees tried to answer the
questions at the second video. This was not the case at the first one. Due to the fact that the first question was
answered wrong by five attendees (16%) it should be evaluated if the question was built in to early or if the video
isn't able to present enough information to answer the question adequately.
Furthermore the evaluation of the technical issues shows some values which are not plausible in its context. For
instance sometimes a joined timespan seems to be longer than the video itself. A further example regarding the
strange timespans is that sometimes the logging of a timespan stops working at the first interaction. An intensive
analysis of these issues pointed out that sometimes the used video-player delivers wrong or delayed status-values.
Due to this problems a checking-mechanism is developed. It tries to validate these values by comparing them with
the values generated and logged server-sided.
First usability-tests point out that the attendees and the lecturers didn't report any relevant problems about the usage
of the web-application. The different possibilities of analysis which are provided by LIVE are seen as the most
positive and powerful features. However the lecturers remarked that it is a little bit confusing if all events are
presented in one single list at the overview-site of LIVE. In addition they asked for a possibility to restrict the access
to some events to attendees of their choice because currently there are no limitations.


Outlook

The positive experiences which were presented in the section Evaluation address mainly the different possibilities of
analysis. Due to that they should be improved and enriched. Furthermore there exists already ideas for the
improvement of the critical mentioned issues. So there will be a possibility to group events to categories. For
instance this allows the creation of a category for a lecture which holds all the events of it. In addition it will be
possible to restrict the access to the categories or to the events to selected attendees.
Finally further research is required to analyze the impacts of the interactions on the attention and the learning-
success of the attendees. For that it will be necessary to evaluate the attention-profiles in combination with the
multiple-choice-questions and the underlaying videos in a more detailed way.


Conclusions

This research project presents a first prototype of a web-application which offers different methods of interaction
and communication for learning-videos as well as live-broadcastings. The most important feature of the web-
application is the possibility to ask multiple-choice-questions at planed positions during the event. Furthermore there
are many different methods of analysis. Due to the fact that a working prototype is available the research question
(see Introduction) is positively answered.
This web-application is already under evaluation at a lecture and it shows mainly positive results. Furthermore an
outlook to required improvements and further developments is given. It is also pointed out that some further
research has to be done to analyze the consequences of the presented interactivity for teaching and learning.


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Originally published in: Wachtler, J. & Ebner, M. (2014). Support of Video-Based lectures with Interactions - Implementation of
a first prototype. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2014
(pp. 562-571). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

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