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Author: Melinda M. Livas

Now more than ever, teachers are turning to instructional video to supplement online instruction. However, finding tools to create interactive instructional content can be difficult. Happily, PlayPosit (formerly known as eduCanon) provides instructors with a means of adding interactions—such as questions, comments, and links to videos—to keep students engaged and enhance learning.

PlayPosit is a website application used to design interactive videos called “bulbs.” The instructor first uploads a video to PlayPosit that they have created or found elsewhere (on YouTube, Vimeo, etc.). Then the instructor adds interactions at various places in the video that will pause it until the student completes the interaction. Points can be assigned to questions, and when enabled, PlayPosit automatically integrates with the campus learning management system (LMS) grade book feature so instructors can immediately assess content comprehension.

Once the bulb is ready, the instructor can send students a link or provide access through student email accounts or upload in the campus LMS. The instructor can organize bulbs in a class. There is also a large repository of bulbs, (including interactions) created by other instructors that can be adopted free of charge. Finally, PlayPosit supports closed captioning, through the captions need to be created elsewhere and uploaded as their own file. The support information tools provided by PlayPosit guides users through this process.


There are a variety of interactions that instructors can add to bulbs. In all cases, instructors have the option of requiring students to respond to the interaction to move forward in the video. Instructors can view a question-by-question breakdown of learner performance, the average bulb score, and completion status.

  1. Multiple-choice questions (auto-graded) offer a problem, set of solutions, and one correct response. PlayPosit also allows instructors to provide feedback on various responses to reiterate a concept or explain why an answer was right or wrong.
  2. Check-all questions (auto-graded) have students select more than one correct answer among a set of possible responses.
  3. Free response questions (manually graded) require a text response to a question, an image, audio or equations or tables. The open-ended format allows for higher order thinking.
  4. Pause (not graded) stops the video and provides students with a message from the instructor. This can be placed at the beginning of a video to provide students with information on what to look for in it, can elaborate on something covered in a video, or can simply ask students to think about something.
  5. Discussion forum interactions (not graded) allow students to post responses that will appear to all users who watch the video. This interaction can simulate dialogues and debates based on what was viewed, hence heightening their critical thinking and peer feedback involvement.
  6. Fill-in-the-blank questions (auto-graded) have students provide missing words in a phrase, sentence, or paragraph. Learners can receive partial credit for their answers.
  7. Polling survey questions (not graded) allow the instructor to solicit student viewers on a topic or assess prior understanding.
  8. Web-embed interactions (not graded) allow instructors to present outside web content, such as websites or videos, to students.

PlayPosit also offers a jumps feature that causes the video to jump back to a prior location in response to a student’s wrong answer so that the student can go through the relevant content again. This feature takes a few extra minutes to set up, but it reiterates a concept, which enhances comprehension. 

PlayPosit has changed how I use videos and measure student learning, ultimately helping me create more engaging and effective educational content.

Melinda M. Livas is a STEM librarian at the University of California, Davis.