Ideas and Strategies for Using Video in the Classroom


Ideas and Strategies for Using Video
Capture and share your knowledge through video to add flexibility to your course
The use of videos in your course can be an effective way to enrich students’ learning experiences. Videos can be used to spark discussions, supplement key concepts, provide real-life examples, demonstrate problem solving or bring in the views of outside experts. You can use video to add flexibility to your course, increasing class time for interactive activities and allowing for personalized learning around online video material. See how your colleagues are using them, below.
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Points to consider when creating videos:


Start with an idea

Start with an idea.

What do I want to do and why? Consider who your audience is and how it will impact their learning.

Identify an approach

Identify an approach.

How do I want to do it? Think about the format of the video and the presentation style to communicate your idea.

Find resources

Find resources.

What do I need to help me? Explore the resources available, your timeframe, and additional content (e.g. images, music) you plan to include.

Choose tools and evaluate budget

Choose tools and evaluate budget.

What should I use? Choose the tools you would like to use and evaluate the time required to learn the technology as well as any costs involved.

Adapted from:

How are UBC Arts Instructors using Videos?

Additional examples from other departments:

How can videos be used to improve student learning?

Studies have shown that use of videos can improve learning by:

  • Allowing students to view content outside of class, increasing face-to-face class time for application and reinforcement of knowledge through interactive activities and group discussions
  • Allowing students to have flexibility and control over their learning
  • Providing additional resources to students to supplement core materials
  • Providing demonstration or visual examples that cannot be replicated in class

To achieve the greatest benefits from using videos in your course, instructors should think about how it integrates with learning outcomes and assessment activities and communicate the purpose of watching the videos to the students. Reinforce the knowledge presented in the videos by following up with online or in-class discussions, assignments, or mini quizzes. If students see that the videos clearly connect to in class activities and assessments they will be more likely to see relevance in engaging with the videos and not see them as “extra work”.

Ideas for using videos:

Identify key learning goals or areas where students have difficulty understanding and create short, mini-lectures to support students. These can be used for flipped classroom application (with active learning or clickers in class to review and extend on video content) or for independent student review.


Here is an example of how Linguistics created mini lectures to explain important concepts in Articulatory Phonetics. You can read more about the project here.

PowerPoint was used to outline what each segment of the video should include (images, transitions, animations, etc.). The filming was done in the D022 Recording Studio with a green screen, using a Panasonic camera. A lighting kit was used to remove shadows and brighten the room. The animations were created by Professor Strang Burton’s team and post production was done by ArtsISIT in collaboration with CTLT, using a video editing software called Camtasia.

Provide a space for students to raise questions about concepts they are having difficulty understanding either in class or online. Instead of explaining these questions in class, record short DIY videos to cover the topic. Collect these videos over time to create a collection of most commonly asked questions for students to review.


Here is an example of how Dr. Nisha Malhotra from Economics created videos to cover topics that students found most challenging by conducting online polls. You can read more about the project here.

PowerPoint was used to create the slides and graphs. Using Camtasia‘s video capture functionality, the instructor recorded the PowerPoint presentation. Audio was recorded separately using an external USB mic in order to capture clearer audio. The video and audio files were combined in Camtasia and animations were added to highlight important points in the video.

Create pre-lecture videos for students to watch prior to attending class. This provides students with an initial exposure to the content, sparks interest, and improves students’ understanding.


Here is an example of how Dr. Allen Sens from Political Science created short pre-lecture videos that students were required to watch before attending the lecture.

The videos were created using an iPad and an app called “Playback“. The app will capture a video of the presenter (using the front camera on the iPad), the slides on the screen, as well as the audio. There is also a drawing feature in the app where the instructor used to emphasize important points. Minimal to no post-production was required.

Instead of providing students with an answer key to a problem, create a video (with narration) working out the solution step-by-step. To encourage students to watch the video, work out only part of the problem in the video and have students complete the rest and submit it online as an assignment or quiz (e.g. through Connect).


Here is an example of how Professor Alfredo Ferreira recorded himself as he works out the solution to math problems step-by-step. The videos were recorded with a camera and then uploaded to CLAS where students can watch the video and make annotations on specific points in the video (questions, clarifications, comments, etc.). No post production was required. To read more about how CLAS was used in Alfredo’s class, click here.

Post your videos online and provide a space for students to comment and discuss about areas where they need further clarification (e.g. CLAS). This will allow student questions to be addressed in detail, especially for large classes where class time is limited. This can also provide instructors with an idea of concepts that students are struggling with and re-address misconceptions the following class as a review.


Here is an example from the Department of Music where the students’ performances were recorded. The videos were recorded with a camera and then uploaded to CLAS for instructor and students to provide feedback. To read more about how CLAS was used in Music, click here.


Have learners become the creator of resources for their peers. Look for opportunities where students can create videos such as recording their presentations, writing and acting out a script, explaining a concept using animation or producing field videos. This allows students to not only reinforce what they’ve learned but also a learning resource for future students.


Here is an example from Linguistics where students were asked to create a video explaining a concept they were interested in. To read more about the project, click here.

Students were given the flexibility of using any software of their choice to create these videos. Some students utilized free online animation software while others created PowerPoints and turned it into a video with voice over. All filming and post-production was done by the students themselves.

Record interviews with experts in the discipline, providing examples and explaining concepts relevant to what is being covered in class. This enriches students’ learning by allowing them to hear what other experts have to say about a particular topic.


Here is an example of how Dr. Eric Meyers from the School of Library and Archival Studies created a series of videos to showcase local public, special and academic libraries, allowing these institutions to tell their story. To read more about the project, click here.

The videos were filmed on-site with a Panasonic camera and a Lavalier Mic. Post-production was done by Eric’s production team, using a video editing software called Final Cut Pro.


Camtasia: Camtasia is a screen recording program, fully equipped with it’s own editing component for post-production. It includes a PowerPoint plugin for you to easily incorporate your presentations into your videos.

Snagit: Snagit is a screen capture program that allows you to capture your computer screen. It also allows you to mark up your screen captures with customizable arrows and speech bubbles.

VideoScribe: VideoScribe is a whiteboard video animation software that allows users to create highly dynamic and interactive animation videos on a virtual whiteboard interface.

TouchCast: TouchCast Studio is an iPad app that allows users to record videos and annotate them directly from their iPad. The app has plenty of basic editing features, including TouchCast’s “vApps”, which can be used to insert web pages, polls, maps, and more into your video.

FinalCut Pro/iMovie: FinalCut Pro and iMovie are video editing software applications for the MAC and iOS.

Tips for using videos in your class


  • Integrate immediate assessment and feedback. Have students complete a practice assessment after viewing the video and provide immediate feedback to ensure understanding of the material. Studies show that including an assessment at the end is more effective than just viewing the materials multiple times.
  • Encourage note taking and reflection. Encourage students (particularly those who are unfamiliar with the topic) to take notes while watching the video or answer conceptual questions in between the video to help improve long-term retention of the material. Using a tool such as CLAS can help encourage active engagement with the material through annotation and commenting.
  • Keep the content focused. Avoid including interesting facts or anecdotes in your video that are not crucial to the learning experience as they become distractors that can decrease learning by reducing both recall and problem-solving performance.
  • Break up material into clear sections. When explaining complicated cause-and-effect concepts that are related simultaneously, divide the explanation into segments and have students view them separately before showing the full explanation. This encourages students to understand one concept before moving onto the next and allows the learner to control the pace of their learning.
  • Use conversation style. Use a conversational style in your videos (such as “you” and “your”) rather than a formal style (such as “students should…”). This will help students to feel more personally connected to you through the video which helps to reduce the lack of presence when materials are moved online.
  • Emphasize important concepts. Emphasize essential material by highlighting, using pointers, zooming in, and drawing circles, to focus learners’ attention on important points.
  • Avoid too much visual information. Try to use graphics and narration to communicate concepts. Avoid adding too much printed text to prevent cognitive overload as it is difficult for the brain to read and listen at the same time.
  • Limit video length. Try to limit video length for online viewing. Instead of uploading an hour long lecture, break the material into multiple, shorter videos. While 6-8 minutes is often given as a target, it is important to consider the context and purpose of the videos as well as the overall amount of video content students are expected to watch each week. Some academic concepts cannot easily be reduced to a 6 minute explanation, so if you do go longer make sure the material is focused and tied closely to assessment activities.
  • Design for reuse and longevity. Video is expensive and time consuming to create, so you want to make sure you can use the same videos from term to term without having to redo them. Avoid including dates and references to current events that will limit the potential of reusing content from year to year.

Additional Design Principles:


  • Time and Budget. Video can be time intensive and expensive to produce. Learning how to use the audio-visual equipment and editing software requires training and time.  Depending on your goals a Do-It-Yourself approach might be a good way to start simply with existing tools and training that are available.  For more advanced productions, funding for support might be necessary.
  • Instructor Workload. Producing videos requires planning, filming, and post-production; all which can be time consuming tasks. Using videos to replace lectures means the instructor will also have to plan and redesign what will be done during class time.
  • Content Coverage. Keeping videos short enough to keep learners’ engaged while covering the required materials can sometimes be a challenge and may require some decisions about what is most important to include. Consider separating the video into multiple segments with distinct topics and learning goals.
  • Student attitude and workload. Changing the method of learning may cause some students to respond negatively if they are uncertain of the purpose or view it as more work. Communicate the purpose and objectives of the videos so students see them as a useful resource and not an addition to their workload.  Students are also likely to engage more actively with video materials that they perceive are directly connected with assessments and class activities.

Additional Resources

  • Chen, Z., Stelzer, T., & Gladding, G. (2010). Using multimedia modules to better prepare students for introductory physics lecture. Physical Review Special Topics—Physics Education Research, 6, 010108-1-010108-5. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.6.010108
  • Frey, B. A., & Sutton, J. M. (2010). A Model for Developing Multimedia Learning Projects. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching , 6, 491-507.
  • Krippel, G., McKee, A.J., & Moody, J. (2010). Multimedia use in higher education: promises and pitfalls. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 10, Retrieved from Aabri manuscripts 09239 on February 3, 2015.
  • Mayer, R., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43-52.
  • Moore, E.A. (2013, May 20). From Passive Viewing to Active Learning: Simple Techniques for Applying Active Learning Strategies to Online Course Videos.
    Retrieved from Faculty Focus on February 4, 2015.
  • “Research-Based Guidelines for Creating Effective Video and Multimedia Learning.” Information Technology at Purdue. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2015.
  • Zhu, E., & Bergom, I. (2007). Lecture capture: A guide for effective use (CRLT Occasional Paper, No. 27). University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.