8 tips for creating video in online learning

2. Seek out the video tech available.

ITaP also suggests that faculty know the video recording resources available to them on campus. At Purdue, these include Camtasia, Echo Personal Capture, Echo’s BoilerCast System, and an advanced video production option from ITaP. The university also offers IT workshops on using these technologies, so be sure to check with your own campus IT department about what resources exist at your institution.

There are also many different video production technologies available through iTunes and Google Play, and a quick internet search for video creation apps and software can lead to a host of options.

TED-ED also allows instructors to create video using its services and provides a step-by-step guide for first-time creators.

3. Make sure the video has basic technical and quality standards.

The Department of Communications and Marketing at Emory University recommends the following for video quality:

  • Video output should be well lit and should not appear dark on‐screen, creating difficulty in seeing the features of the subjects in the video.
  • All shots should be clearly focused and well framed. Close‐ups should focus attention, not distract the viewer.
  • Video output should be stable, not shaky. A tripod should be used whenever possible to reduce “camera shake.”
  • All titles or other text added to the video should be proofread for accuracy and proper grammar.
  • Misspellings, typos, and poor usage are unacceptable and will require recreating the necessary section of the video.
  • Graphics and animations must be clean, clear, undistorted, and fit on the screen.
  • All fade ins/fade outs and other effects should add to the message of the video and should be smooth, not abrupt or choppy.
  • For videos showcasing speakers, panels, and events, make a version of the video specifically for online use. For example, trim down or cut out extended introductions. An online audience wants to see the main attraction. If needed, include speaker bios in the written description, if uploading to YouTube.

For videos to be uploaded to YouTube, Emory recommends:

  • Video format: Preferred file types to upload to YouTube are Quicktime (.mov) and MPEG (.mp4).
  • Aspect ratio: Native aspect ratio without letterboxing.
  • Resolution: High definition video at either 1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080, or higher. Video must be at least 1280 x 720 to be designated high definition within YouTube.
  • Audio format: MP3 or AAC preferred.
  • Frames per second: Native frame rate.
  • Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of the original source video should always be maintained when it’s uploaded. Uploaded videos should never include letterboxing or pillarboxing bars.
  • Testing: Because there is no facility to re‐upload videos, it’s important to test that your audio and video quality are satisfactory before you release your video publicly onto YouTube.
  • Original video source: The less a video is re‐encoded prior to uploading, the better the resulting YouTube video quality. Users are encouraged to upload videos as close to the original source format as possible.

4. Get prepped.

The staff at eLearning Industry recommend using a USB microphone, because digital input gives a higher quality audio. The site also suggests removing all distractions from the room, restricting noise while recording (including ambient noise, which is “hard to edit out” post-production), controlling the mouse motion for a screen recording, and lots of practice beforehand.

5. Know your audience.

Both the researchers from the student satisfaction study, as well as officials from the University of Rochester, emphasize the importance of keeping the video relatively short and to-the-point, with a good flow and interactive components to keep students engaged.

“The optimal video length is six minutes or shorter,” said an expert at the University of Rochester. “The average engagement time of any video maxes out at six minutes, regardless of its length. And engagement times decrease as videos lengthen: For instance, on average students spent around three minutes on videos that are longer than 12 minutes, which means that they engaged with less than a quarter of the content. … The take‐home message for instructors is that, to maximize student engagement, they should work with instructional designers and video producers to break up their lectures into small, bite‐sized pieces.”