Do-It-Yourself Video: The Top 10 Takeaways

Posted on: October 25, 2018 | By: Elizabeth Kirkhorn | Filed under: video

Video and education have gone hand and hand for many years, supporting professors who teach flipped, blended or online courses. Knowing this, Teaching and Learning Technology held a workshop for professors interested in incorporating video components to their courses. Participants learned the value of including instructional videos, the process for creating video, and tips and tricks for implementation.

Todd Lee, Professor of Mathematics and Faculty Fellow of Technology, Ted Moree, with TLT, and Tiffany Foster, an instructional technologist, facilitated the session. Whether you’re an attendee looking to brush up on the workshop, or a professor who missed it but is still looking to better use video elements in the classroom, here’s a quick top ten from this session.


1. Know what you’re trying to accomplish with your video.

Before you setup your camera and start rolling, think about what you will be trying to accomplish with your video content. If you are recording without a script in front of you, it is important to know your intent in creating a screencast, and keep this in mind.

There are many occasions in which you may want to consider a video lecture. If you are working with a flipped classroom, looking for a more personal alternative to an online assignment, or looking to clarify difficult content, videos may be right for you.


2. Integrate quizzes into your video lectures.

Video software Kaltura, which the Elon community can access free of charge using their university domain name, includes a quiz function that will allow you to add comprehension quizzes throughout the video. Contact Teaching and Learning Technologies ( for more information.


3. Don’t date the video

Make sure your video will remain timeless for courses to come. Refrain from using information that will date the information you’re sharing through the video.


4. Ensure proper use of the microphone.

You’ll likely want to check out a mic from Media Services, as the sound system built into your laptop is not state of the art. Once you’ve gotten this mic hooked up, check your computer setting before you start recording, to make sure you’re recording with the proper microphone, and not the default mic that comes with your computer. If you’re questioning how close the microphone should be to your mouth, Ted Moree suggests holding a “surfer / cowabunga” symbol to your chin; the distance between your chin and the tip of your pinky should indicate the distance at which you should place the mic.


5. View the recording like you view the classroom

Nervous about seeing yourself on camera? Think about video lectures like you think about standing up in front of the class and thinking in person. Just imagine yourself giving a traditional lecture and this may ease any pre-shoot anxiety.


6. Consider your lighting

Natural sunlight is the best possible light source, and you can take advantage of it by setting up near a window during the day. Sit facing the window, so the light is illuminating your face.

There are only so many hours in the day, and at some point you’ll need to use artificial lighting for your video. Overhead lighting may be unflattering; try turning it off and using floor or table lamps instead. Placing a lamp in front of you on the right and the left, a little higher than your eye level, should be a good starting point. Dimmable LED panel lights designed for video are available for checkout from Media Services.

Pro tip: Fix reflections from eyeglasses by dimming your computer screen, or else moving your lights farther to the side.


7. Be wary of distracting backgrounds

Film against a simple backdrop, so as not to distract students from the content or lecture.


8. Think about the psychological effects of camera placement

Place your camera at eye level to establish authority when filming. If the camera looks up at you, you risk appearing intimidating. If the camera looks down on you, then you appear less commanding.


9.  Watch the length of your videos.

A typical video lecture will run 8-10 minutes. Any longer than that, and you risk losing the attention of your students


10. TLT is here to help!

If you’d like to talk through these ideas, Teaching and Learning Technologies is eager to help you. Give us a call at (336) 278-5006 or email


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