A four-step guide to recording lectures
This guide is directed to teachers who would like to audio or video recordings to share with their students. The article is arranged as four steps to help you get started. If you would like individual help, feel free to connect to one of the workshops given every Wednesday from 2-4 pm via Zoom.
We begin with the question of whether it is even necessary to record a lecture, and if so, list some tools to choose from and perhaps most importantly, how to publish and share your digital lectures once they are made. There are links included when possible to written and video guides; some the guides are created by others outside of Uppsala University and the links will take you to external websites.
A first consideration: keep it short!
Some advice when recording your lecture (or other educational material) is to keep it in bite-size pieces. By this we mean to keep your recordings under 15 minutes. This benefits both you and your students, as you can more easily update specific parts of a lecture and your students won’t need to search through a long video to find relevant information.
Step one - decide on the format
To record or not to record – Can you provide the learning material in another way? Is there a course book that covers what they need to know? Are there already recordings available? Podcasts? Articles? Open educational resources?
Does it need to be a video? Or will audio podcast suffice? – Maybe it’s enough to record a short introduction with your face in the video and then the rest of the lecture consists of slides to view or notes to read. Another alternative is to record a voice-lecture. If your podcast is meant to accompany a visual presentation, you could first send out the presentation to students and cue them in the podcast about when to advance to the next slide. Here is a collection of audio lectures from MIT.
Could a script help? – If you have made the decision to make a video recording it can take a lot of effort focusing on the content of the presentation, while at the same time controlling your slide show and the buttons of a recording tool. For this reason, it could be worth the time to write down the essentials of what you will be saying. Preparing a script may allow you to focus more on your presentation technique. An added benefit is that the written script can be made available to students as a downloadable transcript of your video. Northwestern University in Chicago has published some tips on how to create a script.
Step two - choose equipment and tools for recording (and editing)
Most guides recommend using a headset. However, if you don’t have a headset, the ear-phones and microphone you get with a smartphone will usually work just fine. Just be sure to test the sound quality with a short test-recording before you record an entire lecture.
Canvas Studio for screencasting
The advantage with screencasting is that it allows you to show anything on your computer screen, including slides, websites and demonstrations. UU has recently obtain Canvas Studio for recording, editing and publishing. You can also generate captions to your films, which increases accessibility. Read more in the guide for Canvas Studio.
Record lectures with Zoom
Almost everyone is turning to Zoom to meet online, but since meeting platform has a built-in recording function, it is also very useful for recording a presentation. All recordings are saved locally to your computer (usually in the document folder under Zoom). The files are standard mp4 video files and can be published by uploading them into Canvas Studio. The process of recording a lecture is exactly like recording a meeting. You create and start a meeting, share your presentation and click on the record button. You can pause and restart the recording as necessary. When you have finished, end the meeting and your recording will automatically be saved. Here is Miami Dade’s video guide (2 min).
Power Point presentation with narration
If you have Office 2016 or later, you can narrate your slides one at a time and then save your presentation as a video. You can save the presentation as an mp4 file, which is the standard format for videos. This video by Alvin Trusty shows how to record in PowerPoint with a PC (3 min). A substantial benefit with using PowerPoint to record your presentation is that the audio is attached to individual slides. This will make it very easy to open the original PPT file when you need to make any changes to the original presentation. Simply re-record those slides and export a new mp4 video file to share with students.
Videos made with a smartphone
Do you usually write on the whiteboard as you lecture? It is possible to film your hand-written notes as you make them on a sheet paper with a smartphone. With a stack of heavy books and a pair of chopsticks you can make a simple stand for your smartphone. The first two minutes of this video by Rambutan Illustration shows how to set it up.
Audio only – Podcasting
If you don’t already know about it, there is a free program called Audacity, for recording on PC or Mac. Download and install the program from Audacity’s site, where you there is also an online guide for using Audacity. If you prefer to learn by watching a video tutorial, there are many to choose from such as this beginners guide to Audacity on YouTube by David Taylor (16 min).
Step three - publish your content
While publishing your recorded learning materials is a straightforward process, you will want to consider both the use of copyrighted material as well as how you will license your own material for use by others.
- Bonus Copyright Access is an agreement that all Swedish universities have paid to be a part of. Their website is a good place to learn more about how you are permitted to use copyrighted material.
- Here is Uppsala University’s information about rights to recorded material for teaching.
- Creative Commons is where you can see alternatives on how to use CC-licensed material and how you might license your own content
With the introduction of Canvas Studio, all teachers and students have a place to upload, store and share audio and video media. Video or podcasts can easily be shared within a course on Studium, but can also be shared publicly, by distributing a link.
Audio recordings - If you have recorded a podcast, the simplest of way of sharing it is to upload it directly to the learning platform. Audio files can also be uploaded to Canvas Studio.
Videos recorded with a smartphone - Canvas Studio is available in both the Canvas Teacher and Student apps. No need to first transfer video files over to a computer when you can simply upload them directly to the Studio platform.
MedFarm Play is a video portal created in cooperation between educators and MedfarmDoIT and is a good first choice for publishing recorded lectures and presentations. Teachers from Uppsala University can log in with their UU-credentials and password A. Videos can be uploaded and shared publicly or to anyone with a UU-ID. While there were initially problems with capacity in the first days of Uppsala University’s transition to online learning, the system has been given a boost so that it can hopefully handle the increased traffic. To upload your video to MedFarm Play, log in to the platform. Click on MinSida and then the Ladda upp film button. From there you will fill in the form and wait for your film to be uploaded and published.
Step four - how to share with students?
Studium - you can find information about several different ways of publishing media in Studium on the Teacher guides.