4 Great Ways to Use QR Codes

QR (quick response) codes are automatically generated codes that can contain URLs, text or other forms of digital information that can be accessed simply by scanning the code. QR codes can effectively convey large amounts of information within a very small, yet recognizable image. QR generators and QR scanners are free and fairly pervasive, so adding QR codes to your teaching arsenal should be painless.

Here are four examples of how to use QR codes in clinical education:

1. Add quick links to supplemental online materials

Supplemental resources and bibliographies can be multiple pages long. By linking them into your documents through a QR code, you save space and paper. More importantly, by posting the supplemental materials online, you can link directly to library resources and turn them into a stand-alone resource.

2. Make your bibliography in your vodcast clickable

Without extensive editing software and experience, adding clickable links to a video can be time-consuming and difficult. If you want to be able to add links to external resources directly from a video you can simply add a QR code into your slides. This method is also universally device-accessible, so you won’t need to worry about access issues.

3. Add QR codes to work areas, labs, or in a clinical setting for more detailed instructions

QR codes work well convey large amounts of information with very little surface area. Although QR codes are traditionally used to make digital information accessible in non-digital environments, they work well to make information in general accessible. Adding a QR code to a work area or clinical setting can keep procedural information secure (you can password protect the links) and can make reference or procedural information quickly available.

4. Insert a QR code into a presentation

Brain Rules, by John Medina, suggests that you should consider adding something dynamic into your presentation every 10 minutes to re-capture the attention of your students’ brains. Adding a QR code into a lecture that links to case studies, resources, or supplemental materials, and asking your students to find and explore those resources can help shift and re-energize your students’ focus. QR codes also work well for assessments because they let you skip the longer process of having to display a lengthy URL and walk the entire class through entering it.



Green Screen in the online lecture- how to make it work

First, lets be clear about WHY you’d want to add a green screen component to some of your lectures. It isn’t just because green screen is a pretty neat cutting edge technology. Let’s face it a homemade green screen isn’t exactly going to be cinematic quality. If you’re planning on moving quickly along your backdrop green screen is probably not the right technology for you.

So why would we want to implement a green screen? Essentially to boost student engagement. Johns Hopkins University Professor Ronald A. Berk argues that “multimedia learning provides an empirical foundation for their use in teaching… to increase memory, comprehension, understanding, and deeper learning” (Berk 14). Scholarship suggests that varying the format of lectures can improve student engagement. Another study on medical education and multimedia suggests that digital visuals can help students engage and later re-use the content (Bashet 871). Especially for online lectures, adding a green screen can boost engagement and make your lecture more memorable.




You really have two choices setting up a green screen:

  1. Do you want to project yourself over an image of your slide (or an image of the related material). I like to call this the “Weatherman Effect“. It essentially allows you to point out important features of a slide and generally direct student attention to the areas you are discussing.
  2.  You can use green screen for comedic effect. Suddenly propelling yourself into outerspace or onto the beach can grab student’s attention and re-focus it. It shouldn’t become your status quo unless you want to give your lectures a quirky, unusual quality. You’ll know if you are the kind of teacher who can pull that off.

Just keep these concepts in mind when you’re ready to start recording.



You will need:

A Zoom Membership – ATSU provides FREE Zoom Pro memberships so you’re already half way there!

A blank backdrop – I’d highly recommend buying a green backdrop. You can get them from Amazon for less than $15 and it means you don’t have to coordinate your outfit.

Pro tip: make sure you don’t wear clothing that is the same color as your backdrop or you will fade into it.

A video recording device– with the zoom app for your phone this could be a smart phone, a built-in laptop camera OR a usb camera.



(Just kidding!) The process to set this up should be fairly easy!

  1. Export the slides or backdrops you want into separate image files that you can easily find. (I take screen shots on my phone or I export my powerpoint to a PDF and save individual pages as JPEGs from there).
  2. Login to Zoom and go to Settings.
    1. You’ll see an option for changing your Backround
    2. if you don’t see this option contact IT to make sure they remembered to set you up with a Zoom Pro account
  3. Upload your images into your Zoom and open an empty conference room
  4. Record your zoom session using the different backgrounds (you can change backgrounds directly from your settings while the video is still running!)
  5. Import these videos into your lecture OR splice them into your lecture videos. (I’d recommend the latter)

You can find a quick tutorial for this process on the ETDC’s YouTube.

Questions? Contact the ETDC if you need help with this process!

Bashet, A., Kirchhoff, C. & D’Alba, A. (2015). “Effects of Multimedia Video in Learning Human Anatomy”. In D. Rutledge & D. Slykhuis (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2015 (pp. 871-876).

Beck, Ronald A. (2009). “Multimedia teaching with video clips: TV, movies, YouTube, and mtvU in the college classroom”. International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 5(1), 1–21.