Tips and Strategies


In this section we discuss some tips for creating high quality video as well as present some common pitfalls to try and avoid. These will help ensure you are prepared for recording as well as confident in how you present and share your content.

1)  Your Video is Only As Good As Your Audio

You will lose student attention fast with poor audio so be sure to use a good microphone.


  • Use an external microphone.
  • Proximity of the microphone to you is more important than the microphone quality.
  • Before recording, turn it on and check to make sure the volume is correctly adjusted.
  • Make sample recordings and have someone else give you feedback about the sound quality before recording full material.
  • If you hear an echo in your test, then re-shoot. You can not properly remove echoes in any audio editing software.

2) Keep Content Compact

Studies typically show that content in 5 – 10 minute chunks are useful for keeping attention (15 mins as a maximum).

  • Think of your content not as lectures but ‘lecturettes.’ Break up the information into simple, easy to review pieces.
  • If one main idea must be delivered in more than a 15 min segment consider breaking it up into Part I and Part II
  • If you have an unconventional method of making your online lecture videos that suit your style of teaching, feel free to try it on video. Students will watch longer videos if they are engaging.

3) Video Lecture is a Modality Shift

This is a shift from the ‘theatrical mode’ in class where you teach a ratio of 1 to many (lecture hall); to a ‘cinematic mode’ where you are reaching students through video 1:1. Deliver to the person on the other side of the screen.

  • Clapper BoardIf filming yourself make eye contact through the lens and deliver in a conversational tone.
  • Speak comfortably fast; students can pause or speed up if need be and re-watch sections as they please.
  • If it is possible have an ‘audience’ of one or two to talk to and/or help keep your energy up while you record.
  • For tablet capture/voice over ppt: imagine you are sitting next to your student, explaining the material.

4) Be prepared (to Make Mistakes)

  • After you have tested and set up, have everything in place before you record.
  • Have a script – it will save on takes and editing and can be used for accessibility purposes.
  • If you are recording video in one day that will be presented across different weeks/months consider bringing a change of clothes to give a sense of change.
  • Be comfortable making (small) mistakes. Video can be re-recorded again and again but small mistakes show that you are human too.

5) Consider How To Extend Shelf-Life

    Movie Reels

  • Avoid references to earlier and later lectures as the order of presentation might change year after year.
  • Don’t refer to lectures by number. E.g. instead of saying/titling “Lecture 1: Basics of Mitosis” simply use “Basics of Mitosis.”
  • Avoid adding dates to your slides.
  • Don’t incorporate web links as these may break in time.
  • Avoid discussion of particular assessments as you may change your strategy in the future.





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Coursera Instructor’s Portal; Suggested Practices, Lecture Videos

edX Support; edX101 – How to Create an edX Course

Norman, M. (2017). Extending the Shelf-Life of Your Instructional Videos: Six Common Pitfalls to Avoid. Retreived from