Types of Video Content for Online by Design.

Online Prerecorded Video / Classic Course Content Mode

These are the conventional ‘one-take’ recordings of voice over presentations. Both voice over only, and PiP are recommended.  Try to cap around 30 minutes to 45 minutes, as it’s an energy intensive process, and tough on the voice.  For those wondering about the student attention spans – livestreams go for many hours, many YouTube channels are 45 minutes to an hour, and binge watching Netflix isn’t done in a 15 minute interval relay race.

During an AHE workshop, I heard this mode of student lecture streaming as Education-on-Demand, and it’s a useful model to consider how you can best package knowledge into on-demand sequences. Just like textbook chapters, instruction manuals, YouTube beauty tutorials and how-to guides, On Demand Learning is about having the content ready in non-realtime access. This approach also allows for post-production, multiple takes, and revisiting content more easily before it’s uploaded to the server.

Shorter segments 5 – 15 minutes snippets

There are two reasons to go for the segment video approach

  1. You have limited capacity to record long form content. If you have cats, kids, carer duties, an active phone line, or busy roads in the background, you may only have a limited window of production. In which case, shortt, fast and focused is a viable design specification for recorded content.
  2. You have a very focused topic. Shorter videos support task orientated recordings – for example, walking through a set of expectations for a assignment task. Short videos work well for assessment and assessment feedback, particularly if you’re doing a talking head straight to camera. Remember, you’re going to be staring in direct eye contact with your audience, so make it human and shorter if there’s no visuals from PPT to break things up.

Sub-5 minutes Weekly touch point content:

“Weekly Check-In” videos are short (5 to 7 minute) videos of the lecturer explaining the week ahead, discussing issues or feedback arising from student questions over email, and setting the tone for the week. This is part of the Better Practice for maintaining student cohort cohesiveness as the Weekly Updates show that the course is crewed, the staff are present, and if you use them to be responsive to student queries, they get a sense of personal connection. Use a webcam or phone cam, and put the production emphasis on authentic, unscripted and personalised for that week.  The aim is to show we’re here, human and connected throughout the semester, and we’re listening and responding to the students.


For those who are familiar with Camtasia, it may be possible to create a sequence of shorter videos, uploaded into LMS as smaller packages of reading, video and ppt file.  These can then be composited in Camtasia in a longer file with chapter markers for upload into an appropriate video host.  Microchapter approaches also allow for the repackaging of materials into stand alone units to be cross linked later.

Recording in Venue / Blended Delivery

If your work from home conditions are non-conducive to recording, you may need to make use of a presentation space on Campus to perform your class in a lecture space, recorded over the classic in-venue capture system.  Talk to your institution about the safety requirements.

A challenge to consider with the use of in-venue recording is that you’re effectively presenting a live show, without the benefit of a mixing desk, road crew or production team. Depending on your proximity to the microphone, and the student distribution in the socially distanced space, it may be impossible for the full effect of the live space to be captured in your audio. Similarly, it’s very likely the venue is only concerned with capturing the monitor/projector screen, so use of in-room assets such as whiteboards, handouts or OHT (old school methods) will be lost.

Course Recordings: Post-recorded Streamed content

When recording a class on zoom, remind students at the start that they will be recorded, and that recording will be shared with the student body. If people wish not to be recorded, allow for an opt-out, or designate a particular live event as the recorded session each week.  Consent of the recorded is important and your institution probably has some boiler text statements that can be used to increase participation and consent to recording

Zoom Post-recordings: When setting a Zoom session you can have the computer save the recording locally (allows for edits, requires uploading) or on the cloud. Be aware that cloud storage will delete after a certain time, so if you want it for the duration, save locally.  External harddrives are cheap.

Two notes to consider

  1. If you are saving the video session to the local drive, Zoom will need time after the event to post-produce the video file. Having multiple live Zoom classes in a day means that you need spacing between events for the computer to do the post-session work.
  2. Decide early if you pause/unpause the videos, or let the recording run start to finish.