Faculty & SMEs: Tips for Recording Instructional Video

As a faculty member or Subject Matter Expert with Champlain College Online, you have access to Canvas Studio, an application that allows you to record webcam and/or screen capture video. Weekly recorded announcements, directions for projects and other complex tasks, and problem-solving examples are just a few of the types of instructional videos you can create to enhance student learning.

Learn to produce compelling and concise videos by following these ten tips.
Download 10 Tips for Recording Instructional Video Infographic.

  1. Objective
    Define the key message that you want your students to understand from your video and plan accordingly. Keep your video short so that is covers a single learning objective or task. Here are some great video ideas that provide value:
    • Announcement video, 1-2 minutes
    • Demonstration of specialized software, 3-5 minutes
    • Problem-solving demonstration, 6-8 minutes
    • Explaining a dynamic process, 1-2 minutes
    • Visualizing quantitative data, 1-2 minutes
    • Telling a story, 1-2 minutes
    • Constructing knowledge in mathematics, under 5 minutes
  2. Length
    Keep your video’s message succinct; include targeted, relevant information to maintain student interest. Write a script for your video to help guide your presentation and keep you on track while you practice and then record. For scripting tips, see Tip Sheet For Recording Great Audio. A single page of text, double-spaced, 12 size font translates into 2.5 minutes when read out loud. Research from Mejia and Forian (2021) suggests that retention declines substantially after 6 minutes.

    Avoid mentioning or showing URLs to online resources in your video. Consider using annotations in your Studio video or include links in the Canvas webpage which can easily be updated.

    Also, avoid referencing specific material from the texts as that information can become outdated and it can be difficult to update the video content.

  3. Recording Tools
    You will need either a built-in microphone or an external microphone (USB), a stable internet connection, and access to a Canvas course as a teacher.

    The resolution of your video recording is dependent upon your computer and your webcam. When you are setting the size of your recording in Studio, use either the 1080p or 720p setting. This will ensure that you are recording in a 16:9 aspect ratio, the standard for video productions.

    See Canvas Studio Guide Table of Contents for instructions on how to use Studio.

  4. Audio
    Audio is the single most important element of your video. Consider using a USB microphone and take measures to control ambient sound and extraneous noise.
    • Turn off computer notifications.
    • Silence mobile phones.
    • Unplug phone landlines.
    • Turn off heating or air conditioning units.
    • Use a seat that is stationary and quiet; avoid chairs with wheels and swivels.
    • Keep noise from children, animals, and guests from interrupting your presentation.

      For more audio tips, see Tip Sheet For Recording Great Audio
  5. Elements
    Gather illustrations, images, graphics, video, and any other elements that you plan to use in your video. If you are creating a presentation video, pre-build your slides in Google Slides and use different slide layouts to highlight key information.

    Build a slide presentation that is clear, simple, and visually compelling. Make sure your Google Slide presentation page setup is Widescreen 16:9.

  6. Annotations
    A notecard allows you to create an annotation at a specific point in your Studio video and is ideal for sharing online resources with your students. Add a title, description, and active URL address to the notecard.

    As the video plays, when it reaches a notecard, the video pauses and the student can read the information and access the link in a separate browser window. A Continue button allows the student to restart the video at the location of the notecard.

    Notecards are advantageous because they are 100% accessible with screen reader software and can easily be edited or removed from the video.

  7. Captions
    Follow directions for generating auto captions for your Studio video but take additional time to Review and Publish those captions. Depending on the clarity of your audio track, auto generated captioning can be accurate; but correct any grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors to avoid misinterpretation.

Additional Canvas Studio Articles

Faculty & SMEs: How to Record Video Using Canvas Studio

Faculty: How to Post a Studio Video to a Canvas Announcement

Faculty: How to Post a Studio Video to a Canvas Discussion

Canvas Studio Guide

Canvas Studio Guide Table of Contents


Guo, W., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale