5 Tips: Video Lectures from Home


Panopto Logo

Creating video lectures can be very daunting – especially if you haven’t done it before. Do a quick Google search on “best practices for video lectures” and you will get a deluge of resources. Yikes on the overwhelm. WSU’s Academic Outreach and Innovation team also have great resources for Videoconference Tips for Success you can check out (quick tips and videos led by expert faculty).

The great news for most faculty is that they already have lectures slides created for a large portion of their curriculum. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. When I create video lectures I do one of two things: 1) record my voice over PowerPoint slides or 2) record my voice over screen capture as I walk students through an interactive space like website or series of documents. Sometimes I use the video camera as well; other times I leave my shiny little face out of it. There are several schools of thought on which one is better. If you want to see a research report on the topic, check out this one from two researchers at Stanford – they say “showing the face” is preferred by students.

Here are 5 practical quick tips I hope are helpful:

  • 1) Use existing lecture slides

    Your existing lecture slides provide the perfect platform for you to use as you walk students through key topics. With video lectures, you can control the pacing, whether or not you have slide transitions and animation, and length.

    Best practices from Panopto state that ideal video length should be between 6-15 min based on user attention span statistics. If your video lecture length will go beyond 15 minutes, I suggest breaking up the lecture in parts (Part 1, 2. etc.) with logical pauses between sections.

    Below is a sample of one of my video lectures – an introduction to a course (with video in-set). Note – this video does not have closed captioning – something we all should be doing for ADA compliance. >> Learn more about Panopto and closed captioning

    COMSTRAT 310 Overview Video (Spr19)
  • 2) Prep your space for recording

    a) Find a quiet space – or as quiet as possible (maybe one where the dog barking and road noise is muted and sounds of giggly kiddos is minimized)

    b) Do your best to control lighting so it isn’t too dark or too bright

    c) Record horizontally (vertical really only looks good in Instagram)

  • 3) Record, and make time for it

    a) Until you become really good at the craft of creating video lectures, it will take some time to get used to it. You may have to stop and start a few times. Give yourself at least an hour to record for your first few.

    b) Check your slides and do a quick, un-recorded run through first so you refamiliarize yourself with your own material, catch errors in advance, and ensure the deck is prime-time ready.

    c) Test your audio and video to make sure you sound clear and if showing your face, your framing and camera angle looks good (up-the-nose and odd profile shots under the chin are hard to watch).

    d) Sit still! According to my mother, I am a “wiggle tail.” I have a hard time not swiveling my chair, messing with my hair, or reaching here and there to pick up things around me. I have been told this is distracting. Have your notes and materials right in front of you to make it easier to focus.

    e) Use Panopto keyboard short cuts for record, pause, and stop. >> Learn more (Windows); Learn more (Mac)

    f) View your finished recording after it’s done. It doesn’t have to be perfect but if you want to trim things up at the beginning or end, there are few things you can do. >> Learn more

  • 4) Keep it simple and be yourself

    In a perfect world, video lectures are beautifully designed, full of interactive features, captivating, and engaging. But in this current climate in response to #COVID19, it is my opinion that it is most important you deliver solid and logical content in a clear, concise, and easily digestible way. You can increase the dynamics through inflection, good energy, and even an occasional smile. Be organized. Be yourself.

  • 5) Post your videos on Blackboard

    I advocate that faculty record lectures in Panopto vs. YouTube. Panopto can easily be integrated into your course space. >> Learn more about setting up Panopto in Blackboard

Want more tips? Here are a few more articles from Panopto:


Academic Outreach and Innovation is scheduling face to face and virtual Panopto trainings three (3) times daily through March 13. Training is scheduled for 8:00 am, 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm daily. Attend in person or join via Panopto zoom meeting.

Need help? Email aoi.li@wsu.edu or visit AOI’s Tool Kit for Extended Distance Delivery resource page.

This post is part of Rebecca L. Cooney’s Online Teaching Tips series. Check out more tips in the “Online Teaching Tips” category.

Leave a Reply