Video: It’s Not Just for “Online” Learning!

smiling woman taking a picture

As the Fall 2016 semester approaches, instructors are assiduously preparing their teaching materials: drafting syllabi, revising assignments, and refining all manner of content in the hope that come the first day of classes, their students will have a fully developed course awaiting them. Arguably, it might seem like an inauspicious time to introduce a new element into one’s pedagogical repertoire, but for the daring among our readers, we recommend trying video in your course if you haven’t already.

Now you might be saying to yourself, “I don’t teach an online course, so why would I use video?” That’s a fair point, since video can be a significant part of the online learning experience. But if you use technology outside traditional face-to-face class-time for things like communicating with students or collecting assignments, you know that it’s possible to leverage technology to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the educational experience. Just like email, Canvas assignments, or other tools you use for course management, video can be used for engaging students outside the classroom, which is why we are recommending you try it.

Video Resource Guide

The iDesign Video Resource Guide gives a comprehensive, user-friendly introduction to video for education. It covers:

  • reasons for using video in an educational context.
  • best practices for creating and using video.
  • how to overcome certain fears and discomforts that commonly affect novice video-creators.
  • equipment you’ll need to create a video. Don’t worry–as you’ll see, you really don’t need much aside from a computer with a webcam!
  • how to add video to your Canvas site.

Getting Started

If you’re ready to try video, here’s a simple project we recommend for getting started:

  1. Create a video introduction to your course. This can be as minimalist as you want. One approach would be to add a webcam-video to your Canvas site’s homepage* in which you give some information about the course–a brief description, learning objectives, and a short bio to introduce yourself should suffice.
  2. After you publish your Canvas site (please don’t do this until you have finished building it, unless you want students to see a work-in-progress!), create an announcement, and ask your students to watch the video on your site’s homepage before the first class meeting.
  3. To create continuity between the video and the first class meeting, ask students–either in the video or in the announcement–to come to class with questions about the course in response to the video.

*You’ll need to pick “View Pages Front Page” or “View Syllabus” to record the video; the other homepage-layout options don’t offer video-recording.


Please email Joe Schaffner ( if you have any questions, and please check the TRL Blog again for more suggestions on how to enhance your teaching with technology!

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