Guide to Making Videos

Videos will play an important role in your online course content delivery approach. Videos are visually rich engagement tools that can be leveraged for all types of course communications. There are different video types and strategies to leverage videos to enhance your courses’ online learning experience.

The hard part can be getting the confidence to talk to the camera, but making simple videos for online teaching can help you engage with students. Watch Make Super Simple Videos for Teaching Online.

The benefits of instructor-created video in online courses include increased student engagement and learning, increased instructor presence, and a greater student-to-instructor connection.

What You Need

  • Equipment: Webcam, video camera, or a mobile device.
  • Recording Software: Software for recording video includes iPhone or iPad camera, Kaltura, Screencast-o-matic, and free tools such as Jing.  See a list of tools below. 
  • Sharing Video: Your video should be hosted onGoogle Drive. Videos can be streamed from YouTube and Vimeo.


  • Choose Talking Points: Prepare a brief outline of what is most important to include. Practice! Do a run-through with a family member, or a trusted colleague. We recommend that you get comfortable with the material ahead of time so you are prepared to speak naturally, rather than reading to the camera.
  • “Chunk” the Material: Shorter lectures are more engaging in the online environment. Researchers at MIT found that many students stopped viewing videos that exceeded nine minutes about halfway through. We recommend keeping each video under ten minutes in length. If you need to cover a lot of content? Create multiple, clear and concise video segments.
  • Set the Stage: Choose a well-lit recording location. Be mindful of what will appear behind you. We recommend one of these backgrounds: a clean and simple background that keeps the focus on you, or an office-like background for a more personal touch.
  • Dress for Success: Wear something that increases your confidence and conveys an appropriate level of professionalism.

Lights, Camera, Action

  • Light: Avoid strong backlighting, which occurs when light is behind you. It is best to face the light source.
  • Audio: Stand within 24″ of the microphone/camera. Closer is better.
  • Camera Position & Framing: The camera should be level with your head and shoulders and not pointing up or down at you. Frame the shot with your head, neck, and part of the shoulders/chest visible, similar to a portrait bust.
  • Videos for instructional purposes do not need to be perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself about mannerisms, your hair, or stumbling over a word here and there. Students want to learn from you, and the benefit of a more casual lecture approach is increased personal connection.

Available Tools

  • Screencast-O-Matic is a Canvas enhancement that places a tool for screen recording on the text editor
  • Loom capture your screen, voice, and face and instantly share your video messages
  • Adobe Premiere Rush for video editing via mobile. It can be found in the app stores
  • Adobe Spark is an integrated suite of media creation applications for mobile and web
  • Animaker is an online animation tool
  • FlipAnim for flipbook makers animation 
  • Figuro for online 3D modeling