4 Tips for Welcoming Students with Instructor Bio Videos

Moira West


How can you both welcome students and let teachers provide introductions before either group enters the classroom? That’s what Susie Valdez, the Chair of Santa Ana College’s Department of Child Development and Education Studies, wanted to address on her department’s faculty page. “Our department interacts directly with our local community. We are a family, and we want our students to feel like they can trust us and count on us,” she shared.

The design the department finally settled on does more than give each instructor’s contact information;their website provides educational background, a short biography, and an Animoto video designed by each faculty member. The inclusion for the Animoto videos was a recent addition to the website and has already received positive remarks from students. Susie felt “the videos are a great way for our students to learn more about our professors, both on a personal and professional level. It allows students to feel connected. Our students’ journey is our journey and understanding our students’ backgrounds, their obstacles and challenges, and their passions help us be better teachers and leaders in our field.” For example, one professor, Cristiane Oliveira-Foster, shared this video, which gives a glimpse into her life and educational philosophy.


Style: Earth
Song: “Take Me With You” (Instrumental) by Jesse Platter and the Alter Ego


For Susie and her colleagues, “The videos help professors create an authentic relationship with both their colleagues and students. It shows we are real people who have families and hobbies, and are not merely containers of knowledge.” It gives the Division of Human Services and Technology that sense of community Santa Ana College strives for, and creates a welcoming presence on the division’s site that welcomes students into their programs.

If you’re looking to create video biographies of your own for a school or community college, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Briefly share what you love about your subject. Most professors list what they do and what they’ve accomplished, but rarely share why it’s important to them. Students will appreciate a glimpse into your motivations, since that tells them a lot about you as an instructor.
  • Give your educational background. Though this is often part of a CV that students can view on your site, images of you on graduation day or engaged in instruction personalizes those dry facts and make them more memorable and interesting.
  • Get personal. Family photos, images of you working at a hobby you love, or candid video clips from the holidays can share space with more formal photos of you giving instruction. By opening up a little, you welcome students in and give them a sense of your personality.
  • Keep it about a minute long. Since you’ll want students to watch your video all the way through, try to make your video a minute or less. Research shows viewers are more likely to watch to the end if you keep your video under the 60-second mark.

How are you welcoming students into your community college? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter by tagging @Animoto.