Adding Interactivity

Interactivity has the potential to allow students to better understand video content created or curated by instructors. PlayPosit is a tool that allows instructors and students to add quizzes, polls, discussions and extra information to an existing video. These interactive elements form obligatory points of interaction and can help refocus student attention back on the video (Vural, 2013).

PlayPosit integrates with tools that are already available to UAF instructors. From PlayPosit, users can add videos that they own or can edit from Kaltura Mediaspace. PlayPosit integrates with Blackboard and Canvas grade books. It is currently enabled for all UAF courses in Blackboard.

How to sign up for PlayPosit

PlayPosit is available to all UAF instructors. To get access,

    1. Go to and create an instructor account with your address


  1. Click here to upgrade your account to pro. Watch this short screencast to see step-by-step instructions.

Maintaining Presence

UAF Associate Professor of Psychology Dani Sheppard is using PlayPosit to enable her to deliver a richer learning experience to students as she teaches online courses with high enrollment. PlayPosit has allowed her to ensure students make it through the whole video, and to implement simple auto-graded assessments that are integrated with course material and that post directly to the Blackboard grade book.

Research has shown that students can lose interest in or tune out of a video after mere minutes (Hibbert, 2014; Guo, Kim, & Rubin, 2014; Bowles-Terry, Hensley, & Hinchliffe, 2010). By simply adding elements to a video that pause the video automatically, reengagement with the video becomes necessary, coaxing a student back into the viewing experience (Geri, Winer, & Zaks, 2018).

Managing Attention Spans

A simple reflective pause with a note from the instructor can have a positive effect on engagement. UAF Assistant Professor Peter Westley is using PlayPosit videos in his online course, FISH F394: Salmon, People, Place, to do exactly this. In addition to quizzes added to videos that Westley has produced on his own, he has added his own instructor commentary to a feature-length documentary, “Wild Reverence,’ shown to his students with permission of the creators. By adding anecdotal pieces of information and low-stakes quiz questions that connect to the video, Westley is able to preserve the natural pattern that an instructor might follow during an in-class viewing: Pause the video for a few seconds and share relevant information that students might not otherwise catch.

Not only does this practice help increase student attention spans, but it addresses common expectations of online students. Students expect courses to include videos, but they also expect instructors to be present (Hibbert, 2014). PlayPosit allows an instructor to maintain their presence even while using supplemental content.

A Wide Array of Features

PlayPosit also gives instructors more powerful features than simple quizzing, including the ability to prevent viewers from moving backward or forward in a video, the ability to add multimedia to an interactive item, and to have feedback tailored to each possible answer. Viewers can also be moved to different points in the video timeline based on these answers. For example, if a student gets a question wrong, the player can jump back to the portion of the video where the answer is mentioned.

PlayPosit provides a wealth of analytics on student engagement including watch time, time spent on each answer, and a user-friendly dashboard that lets instructors get a big-picture view of student performance. The end of each PlayPosit video includes a short feedback question to gauge satisfaction with the interactive video experience.


Hibbert, M. C. (2014). What Makes an Online Instructional Video Compelling?. Educause Review Online.

Geri, N., Winer, A., & Zaks, B. (2017). Challenging the six-minute myth of online video lectures: Can interactivity expand the attention span of learners? Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management, 5(1), 101-111.

Vural, O. F. (2013). The Impact of a Question-Embedded Video-Based Learning Tool on E-Learning. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 13(2), 1315-1323.

Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of mooc videos. In Proceedings of the first ACM conference on learning@ scale conference (pp. 41-50).

Bowles-Terry, M., Hensley, M. K., & Hinchliffe, L. J. (2010). Best practices for online video tutorials in academic libraries: A study of student preferences and understanding. Communications in Information Literacy, 4(1), 17-28.


Further resources:  

PlayPosit Quickstart Guide at iTeachU

Teaching Tip: Integrating Interactive Video in STEM Courses

Download the PDF for this Teaching Tip.

Sean Holland

Sean Holland, M.A., is an instructional designer and instructor in the UAF School of Education.

Sean Holland

Instructional Designer,