Educational Technology,  Instructional Strategies,  Remote Teaching

Keep recording when you present content

The move to remote instruction with COVID-19 forced a pivot that was frustrating for educators and students alike.  USask collected data about the student learning experience in focus groups and surveys throughout the pandemic.  Students consistently told us they missed community and direct connection with their professors. However, they also told us how much they value recordings of the times when the professor is presenting information in class – a practice they would like to see USask educators continue as we return to traditional classroom formats.

What research says

A recent meta analysis of video in higher education using only randomized controlled trials found that while recorded video is not more effective than an interactive classroom, and is only slightly more effective than readings, content video that supplements in class instruction had the greatest impact. It had substantially more impact on learning than students just listening in class (Neotel et al, 2021).

Why recordings help students

  1. Students like to review what you said and hear explanations again for things they did not understand the first time.  Reviewing and summarizing are high-yield independent learning strategies when the original method of instruction is transmission, and they work better when students can replay and pause.
  2. For language learners and students with disabilities, captions of content (even imperfect ones) help them both hear and see what you mean.
  3. Student have long gotten notes from other students when they had to miss class, but the quality of those notes varied and students lost the opportunity to learn for themselves. With video, they can keep attending and making their own notes, even if they are sick when class is scheduled.  Moving forward, we’ll ask more students not to come to class when they have symptoms, so a good recording of your presentation content has never been more important.

What to record

Great courses have a mix of presentation of content and active learning, including  learning activities, discussions, and problem solving, even in large classes. While our students want to get back to connecting to others, it is hard to learn from a recording of a discussion. You can rarely hear everyone and people feel self-conscious participating. Focus recordings on information you are passing along and not on learning activities in a face to face classroom.

Record short chunks of 8-10 minutes maximum of what you present to a class, and be sure to capture any visuals. Include new content, directions for how to do things, demonstrations and “talk alouds” (where you describe how you think about or solve something). Experts indicate no more than half of a class should be presentation of content if we hope that content will be remembered, and that our students need to be applying what they are learning by talking about it or trying it regularly throughout each class. Luckily, it’s the ideal way to break up your videos.

Tips for recording in your face to face classroom

  • Discuss what you’ll be recoding with your students, what your copyright expectations are, and where to find the recordings in Canvas. It’s a good idea to add this information to your syllabus.
  • Record yourself and your visuals by opening a Zoom session and sharing your slides as you present live (or in advance) or by doing lecture capture in Panopto (if the classroom you are in has capture capabilities). Each of these options will create a video for you and both Zoom and Panopto generate a  link to share to your students. You can also edit in Panopto if you need to. If you stop or pause the video recording before each learning activity, you’ll get neat chunks you won’t need to edit.
  • Be sure that you are wearing the microphone in the classroom and test the audio quality the first time in each room you plan to record in. Doing a quick test recording to check the video and audio settings is always a good idea.

Need help?

  • To determine what to record and how to share recordings with your students via Canvas, contact GMCTL
  • To get help with the generating a recording or setting up lecture capture, contact ICT


Noetel M, Griffith S, Delaney O, et al. Video Improves Learning in Higher Education: A Systematic Review. Review of Educational Research. 2021;91(2):204-236. doi:10.3102/0034654321990713