Video provides learners with an excellent opportunity to engage with the material and connect with their instructors. We've collected some tips and resources so that you'll want to create s'more videos of your own!

Kim Unger

Senior Instructional Technologist

Whitney Kilgore

Chief Academic Officer


Mary Helen Culbertson

Senior Learning Architect


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Preparing Yourself

One common concern is that you don't like how you look or sound on camera.

1. Know that it's normal to feel uncomfortable!

  • Because of the "mere-exposure effect," you are more likely to be familiar with your mirror image and thus uncomfortable with your non-mirror image, including what you see on camera (Mita, Dermer, Knight 1977).
  • You are more familiar with what you sound like listening to yourself talk in real-time than listening to a recording of your voice. This is because the former is heard via bone tissues (i.e., your head) and the surrounding environment, whereas the latter is only heard via the surrounding environment (Hullar 2009, P. 1999).

2. Take advantage of flattering light & camera angles:

  • Shoot your video in a space where your face is filled with light from all sides (try 3 or 4-point lighting or DIY Bounce Boards such as a white poster board).
  • Place your camera at or above eye level (using things like stacked books, if needed).

3. Practice in order to feel more comfortable!

Using Canvas To Practice

Take advantage of Canvas' built-in recorder!

  • Instructors can access the same course and take a Canvas Quiz (with an essay-type question) to practice. If desired, they can submit their recordings for someone to review.
  • Instructors can access the same course and share their recordings with one another in a discussion forum.
  • Instructors can use their own sandbox course to practice by creating a new Canvas page and selecting the Media icon in the Rich Text Editor.

Related Resources:


This is an example of a Canvas Quiz that accepts video submissions.


Following Best Practices

  • Prepare an outline or write your entire script. Not only does this keep you focused on the topic, but it can be used later for captions or a transcript. As you write, consider the tips included in Extending the Shelf-Life of Your Instructional Videos: Six Common Pitfalls to Avoid.
  • Keep it short (somewhere between 4-6 minutes in length) (Guo 2013, Hibbert 2014). A short video helps maintain the learners' engagement and keep the "mini-lecture" focused on a specific topic. It also enables learners to find the topic much more quickly.

Choosing Your Path

Video comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes! Focus on the goal of your video and how you can achieve that goal using what you have.

  1. Goals: introduction, explanation, demonstration, interview, storytelling
  2. Ways of achieving those goals: self-recording, screen-recording, recording a process and/or other people, animation (for a fascinating look behind the scenes of a serious animation DIY-er check out MinutePhysics BEHIND THE SCENES)


  • Connect the topic of the video with the learners' prior knowledge
  • Ask questions to guide the learners' critical thinking process and prepare them for future lessons

Original video (simpler to recreate!)


  • Explain the concept or theory
  • Share a relevant example (this might include a real-life example or fictional scenario)
  • Tie the concept or theory back to the example


  • Briefly describe the process and end result
  • Avoid lengthy videos by explaining what you're doing while you do it

Survival Gear

-- Word processor, presentation tool, or tools developed specifically for script writing, like Celtx.

-- Built-in or external camera and microphone (this might include the built-in capabilities of your computer or smartphone)

-- Video capturing software (may also include editing and annotating capabilities):

  • Quicktime and iMovie for Mac

-- Video hosting service:


Including Others In The Adventure

Make sure your video is accessible to all users (including learners with disabilities, ESL students, and students who prefer reading over watching). Some helpful tools include:

  • Canvas/Amara - free but requires videos be uploaded to Canvas
  • YouTube - free but requires videos be uploaded to YouTube
  • Mobile Voice Dictation (such as Android's Google Keyboard) or Google Doc Voice Dictation
  • Rev - $1/minute
  • Dragon Dictation (example) - cost varies

If appropriate, include other experts, or even your learners, in the video!

Additional Tools That Make Video Awesome



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