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Workshop Description

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The online video recorder allows you to record webcam videos and post them in your discussion or your global topics. This workshop discussed how and why the video recorder might be useful in online classes and explored best practices for making the most of this tool. (Workshop date: Fall 2014)

NOTE: The options for posting videos have expanded since the date of this workshop, so these guidelines have been updated to reflect the changes in technology.

View workshop video (60 minutes)

View related blog post: Connecting with your students via video


WHY use video?

  • Communicating by video gives you a better sense of your students and them a better sense of you: it helps to humanize everyone and creates a connection among all the members of a class.
  • Video makes online communication richer and more personal: it provides the expression and gesture and tone lacking in written communication.
  • This kind of technology is in widespread use in professional settings (e.g., webinars, online meetings), so it’s a great opportunity for students to practice with this tool.
  • Video posts are an efficient way to ask and answer questions.
  • Adding video to a Global Topic lets you reuse this information from one semester to the next.

WHEN is video appropriate?

Video works well for:

  • Asking & answering questions
  • Introducing an assignment or discussion or module
  • Discussing tips and tricks for completing an assignment
  • Wrapping up a discussion
  • Critiquing work that cannot be critiqued with the Notes critiquing interface
  • Presentations and demonstrations

The video recorder is NOT appropriate for discussion posts (too time-consuming: you can’t scan a video like you can written text). Also keep in mind that if you have English language learners or students with hearing impairments in your online class, video may not be appropriate.

HOW to record & post video

The composing interface in the LMS provides several ways to record and post video in your online class. Both students and instructors can post video in the Discussion (in posts or comments). Instructors can also use it in creating a Global Topic, posting an Instructor Update, or critiquing an image with the Notes tool.

1. You can create a video on your computer, tablet or phone and then upload it, using the Add Media tool.

2. You can create a video on your computer, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo, and then embed your video using the Embed from Web tool.


3. Using your phone, tablet or webcam, you can record video (up to 5 minutes) directly into a discussion post, using the Record Audio/Video tool.


Contact the Help Desk, if you're having technical difficulties.

Best Practices for Using Video in Your Online Class   

guidelines & expectations

 Before you post a video...

  • Ask yourself: is video the most appropriate medium for what you want to accomplish? (If, for example, your students are submitting images, you might do better to use the audio recorder in the Notes tool for your feedback, instead of using video for your critique.)
  • Keep ADA (American with Disabilities Act) and ESL (English as a Second Language) issues in mind:
    • AAU does NOT provide captioning for audio/video posts.
    • If some of your students have difficulties with video posts, you will need to provide all of your comments in writing instead.

If your students are posting videos...

  • Give students time to explore the tool before they have to use it for a graded assignment: post a warm-up exercise (credit/no-credit) early in the semester, so everyone can get up to speed.
    • Have students use video for introductions or for an icebreaker or refresher.
    • Refer students to the Help Desk, if they need assistance.
  • Before beginning a video assignment, engage students in a discussion about what constitutes appropriate self-presentation and tone (e.g., style of language, dress, etc.), when appearing on camera.
  • Define and post a clear policy about appropriate and allowable use of video in your class.

Recording Your Video

  • Model what you want students to do.
    • Keep your comments brief and focused (< 2 minutes is good).
    • Present yourself appropriately.
  • Type or paste a list of your key talking points into your discussion post.
    • The bullets can serve as your script and help keep you focused as you speak.
    • They can help students follow your comments more easily (speech can be harder to decipher than text).
    • Bullets also allow you to quickly refer back to your remarks, when students have questions.
  • Be careful of your vocal tone and body language: master your emotions & your message before you record.
  • Keep it professional, but don’t try to make it perfect: allow your humanity to show! Use the pause button when you need to stop and think, instead of starting over from scratch.
  • Check your recordings to make sure they are properly rendered before you upload them.

Course development

If you are developing an online course and want to include video posts as part of your assignments keep these points in mind:

  • Be clear about what you want from assignments that use video, and give clear guidelines — including a rubric, if appropriate.
  • Students must have webcams, smartphones or tablets to use video, so these must be listed in the class requirements, unless video is optional.

Other Reminders

  • Do not used recorded messages instead of written posts for your regular discussion participation. Keep in mind that it takes longer to watch a video than to read a post.

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