Interactive Video Vignettes Workshop

W08: Making Interactive Video Vignettes and Interactive Web Lectures
2015 Summer AAPT Meeting in College Park, Maryland

What you need to know before attending the workshop

  • What is an Interactive Video Vignette?

    An Interactive Video Vignette (IVV) is a short single-topic video exposition for use in introductory physics courses. In a typical vignette, an instructor describes or demonstrates a physics phenomenon and gives a student the opportunity to make predictions and or observe or analyze the phenomenon. Analysis can include viewing a video of an event in real time or slow motion and then using video analysis to track the event frame by frame and/or viewing real time graphs that enable students to draw conclusions. Although each IVV is designed to be ungraded, instructors are encouraged to use completion credit to motivate students.

    A video at the NSF 2015 Teaching and Learning Video Showcase gives a quick overview. To see some sample videos made by the LivePhoto Video Vignette Project, look on the project's website at

  • What do I need to bring to the workshop?

    Nothing. You will work with another participant at a computer station. You are welcome to bring a laptop but it is not necessary.

  • What do I need to make my own IVVs?

    There are several parts to this answer.

    The hardest part may be getting a suitable website or web server for hosting your IVV. Many teachers already have websites, but they are often hosted in a way that prevents IVVs from working. This is because an IVV is not an ordinary web page, it is a web application. It consists of a folder that contains over a hundred files. Most of these are scripts and data files that students should never see. Many easy-to-create websites will allow you to upload individual files to the site, but not entire folders. Or, if they do allow folders, they may automatically show students a list of every file in the folder.

    The best way to find out if your website will work is to talk with the site administrator. If you are using a website hosted by your school, talk to the Information Technology (IT) staff person at your school who oversees faculty websites. If you are using an outside Internet Service Provider (ISP) like Roadrunner, talk to the person there who oversees customer websites. Tell them you want to upload a folder to your site containing HTML files, JavaScript files, image files and movie files. If they ask whether you need a "dynamic" website, tell them that you do NOT. If they ask whether you need PHP, tell them that you do NOT. You might show the person this page on our ComPADRE website. If they have other questions that you cannot answer, contact Bob Teese for advice.

    Unfortunately, web pages hosted by course management systems like Blackboard or social media systems like Facebook WILL NOT WORK.

    At the workshop, you will get software that acts as a miniature web server on your personal computer that you can use for testing the IVVs you create. However, it is only for testing and will probably not be suitable for your students to use.

    The easiest part of the answer is that, since IVVs contain videos, you will need a High Definition (HD) camera that creates video files. Many newer cell phones contain suitable cameras. You will need some way to get the video files from the camera into your computer. This could be as easy as taking a memory chip out of the camera and putting it into a special slot in the computer, or you may need to connect the camera to the computer with a USB cable. If you are using a cell phone, you may need to email the video to yourself. If you are not sure, check the manuals for your camera and your computer.

    Finally, you'll (eventually) need IVV scripts. They are quite different from video scripts, because IVVs are interactive. You will learn how to write IVV scripts at the workshop.

  • Will I be able to do everything I saw in the sample IVVs?

    Sorry, not yet. Vignette Studio, the beta-version software you will get at the workshop, is still very preliminary. You should be able to create IVVs that show videos, ask multiple-choice questions and echo the answers back to the students. Video analysis and other advanced features will probably not work without some "under the hood" tweaking. A beta version of Vignette Studio is available for download at the website.

If you have questions, please contact Bob Teese.

Hosted by the Physics Department at RIT

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This material is based in part upon work supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) grants DUE-1123118, DUE-1122828 and DUE-0717699. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.