Indiana University Faculty Increases Student Engagement With Explainer Videos

A professor at Indiana University Southeast, one of the regional campuses of Indiana University, uses Powtoon to create bite-sized videos that break down complex subjects and engage students in virtual and asynchronous classes. Discover how this Journalism and Media professor doubled his lesson views and completion rates using explainer videos.

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More views compared to traditional lecture capture videos.


Average video completion across Powtoon videos. (compared to 63% average video completion for traditional lecture capture videos)


Students said they found videos to be useful and engaging.


Indiana University is a multi-campus institution with seven campuses spread throughout the state. Many of its teaching and learning technologies are available to all faculty, staff, and students across all of its campuses, including its learning management system Canvas and its video management system Kaltura. Through Kaltura, Indiana University offers users a Powtoon integration.

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Adam Maksl, Associate Professor of Journalism and Media at Indiana University Southeast and a faculty fellow with the university-wide IT organization, was seeking a more inspirational and engaging way of teaching his undergraduate students in Communication Law, especially in the fully asynchronous sections he taught online.. “I was looking for something to help me convey complicated concepts because I know how students can sometimes lose interest when the content is too heavy,” says Maksl. After seeing the students' positive response to curated YouTube videos, Adam adopted Powtoon to create his own explainer-style videos.


Explainer Videos with Structure

Using Powtoon, Professor Maksl is creating explainer videos that combine voice over, music, and animation. “Powtoon prompts me to create bite-sized videos that break down content and provide structure for students,” says Maksl. As a result, more students are watching more of the Powtoon-created explainer videos compared to traditional lecture capture video.

Video Streaming via Kaltura

Professor Maksl uses Indiana University’s Kaltura media storage and streaming platform to host video videos. He creates the videos using the Powtoon integration in Kaltura,  where he can easily embed the videos in Canvas, IU’s LMS, and effectively track lesson performance and student engagement to understand which formats work best.

Saving Time & Working at Scale

Powtoon has made it easy and intuitive for Professor Maksl to create videos. His favorite Powtoon features include video templates, animations, and characters. “I’ve been drawn to the use of characters and how easy it is to use them. Learning points can be conveyed in such an engaging way,” says Maksl.


For the Communications Law course, Maksl usually creates a Powtoon video for each weekly unit. “Video is the most user-friendly medium for students. It’s a key element for both engagement and asynchronous course delivery. I always use multiple ways to deliver content where students can read, watch, and get hands-on experience. With Powtoon, I have created short and engaging explainer videos that describe concepts and break them down with real-life examples for better understanding and application. All this has resulted in greater connection, interaction, and engagement with students,” says Maksl, Associate Professor of Journalism and Media. Maksl also uses Powtoon to create slightly longer explainer videos, like the example on right, which are streamed on platforms like Kaltura to make for a more interactive viewing experience.

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