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Set Up/Preparation

  • Find a quiet spot (KITL?)
  • If in an office or other place where you may be disturbed, make a “recording in progress” sign.
  • Ensure recording devices are fully charged; get additional batteries if necessary (use external power supply).
  • Put phone on silent to avoid any incoming communication that may interrupt recording
  • Wardrobe - should be season-neutral
  • Be date, time and weather neutral (especially important for reusable objects)


  • The video is only as good as its audio!
  • Use an external microphone; most external microphones are fine.
  • Proximity of the microphone to the speaker is more important than the microphone quality.
  • Test out the mic before beginning; Make sure the volume is correctly adjusted.
  • Make sample recordings and playback to check on the sound quality.
  • NOTE: If there is an echo in the test, then need to reshoot. (You can not remove echoes in any audio editing software!)


  • If reading from a computer screen, reduce the brightness of the monitor so that it does not cast any unwanted light and/or shadow on the person(s) being recorded (esp. glare with glasses).
  • It's better not to sit; stand as if teaching in front of class (especially important for typical lecture setting); act animated and natural
  • Voice and body language are not the same online as in a face-to-face classroom. Think about speaking to the person on the other side of the screen.
  • Speak comfortably fast; students can pause if need be and re-watch sections as they please. 
  • Look directly into the camera - imagine a person where the camera is and imagine a conversation. 

  • For tablet capture/voice over ppt: imagine you are sitting next to your student, explaining the material.  If you make a mistake, stop for a second and then restart the last sentence. You can then edit out the mistake. Speak with deliberate pauses for editing!

  • First couple of takes are always the best;  generally become increasing unnatural as number of takes increases


UTS Teacher and staff video prompts



1. Picture-in-Picture Recording


    • Students benefit from seeing both the professor and the material in visual form
    • During the video, it’s nice for students to always have some movement on the screen that they can look at, rather than listening to someone talking to completely static slides
    • Students want to feel like they are getting to know the professor


    • “Floating head” can be distracting and get in the way of slide content

2. Voice Over PowerPoint


    • Easy and fast, especially when PowerPoint is already created
    • If done well, can allow for 'one-on-one' feel between the instructor and the online learner


    • Usually comes across as a presentation not a conversation
    • Can be difficult to spark and sustain learner engagement because of static visuals (keep visuals moving!)

3. Tablet Capture


    • It is easy, fast, and excellent for conveying heavy concepts
    • Can allow for 'one-on-one' feel between the instructor and online learner (use hand writing)
    • Because the speaker is not visible, these videos can be heavily and easily edited, so you can start and stop multiple times


    • Engagement is only conveyed via voice, annotations and drawing, which is not everyone's strong suit

4. On-site Video/Interview


    • Excellent for adding a personal touch and connection to the videos
    • Adds variety to the course


    • Content, video and audio errors are difficult to correct


5. Studio Set-up


    • Controlled environment with professional equipment is set up for a productive session
    • Can create a highly polished product (especially with Green Screen)


    • May find difficulty being personable for audience in the controlled environment
    • Can be expensive to set up


6. Home Video/Webcam Style


    • Easy to schedule
    • Can be really personable and convey one-on-one feel


    • Audio and lighting quality can be weak and convey lack of planning and forethought
    • Requires some filming skills and set up time on your end


  • Plan for up to a 20:1 ratio of post-production work time to produced content (for studio-quality editing)
  • Use noise filtering on the videos to clean up the audio.
  • Zooming in post-production doesn’t work very well – do it live
  • Transitions: The most commonly used transitions are fade to black and/or cross dissolve. Most of the other transitions can be more distracting than useful. Stick with fades unless you have a really good reason to use the others
  • Text: Make sure text is on screen long enough to be read by the viewer. Rule of thumb is that it’s on screen long enough for you to read it twice when played back in real time


Finding and editing images for your presentations and video can be difficult; especially free content.  There are a variety of places to go to find free, open, usable images for your videos and presentations. Note that some of the material may require attribution somewhere on the slide/page/image. 

In an ideal world:



Notes from mtg. w/ Will (04/07/2015)

EdX Studio -> Content -> Video Uploads 

Have to upload vids to both YouTube and EdX (order doesn’t matter)

  • YouTube is blocked in some countries; YouTube doesn’t enable downloading of vids (EdX hosting does)

3Play (for captioning) is linked to YouTube

  • 3Play takes 3 days to turn around

  • The only thing I have to do in 3Play is to place the order

  • Default captions are fine (SRT and SJSON custom)

Once uploaded, click "Edit Video"

  • Basic tab (paste YouTube link, 3Play transcript should connect automatically)
  • Advanced tab - Transcript = True, Download = True; EdX ID - need to get this (the method to acquire this number is changing - ask Will)

Need consistent file naming conventions


  • Will Heikoop (will dot heikoop at utoronto dot ca), UofT Online Learning Coordinator; works with Laurie Harrison
  • Lock, Stock and Barrel of Video Techniques presented by Lena Paolo Kushnir at TKF 2014 
  • PSU media commons
  • Coursera Instructor’s Portal
  • Suggested Practices, Lecture Videos and edX Support
  • edX101 – How to Create an edX Course
  • MOOC Design and Development Guidelines -




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  1. Design ideas for first and last slides that are consistent throughout the MOOC for all vids. Michelle made one for Jim's talk. Can we use it?

  2. Alisa, these are from earlier notes. I added them here in comments. If not needed, please delete them.

    take a look at other moocs and add more 
    Classroom + expert commentary so that in a week, it starts from classroom, goes to teacher, and then researcher or expert practitioner (quizzes can link across vids)