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Making your own Media

Inserting media content in your course is a great solution for presenting lectures or covering challenging material. It’s possible that the content you want to present is already available online. Searching YouTube or other media channels may yield the perfect piece of instructional content for your course. Just make sure you give proper attribution to the creator and that the media is accessible.

If you’ve searched the web and didn’t find a video to suit your needs, it’s time to create your own. While there are many methods for creating your own media, some guidelines and best practices hold true across every approach.

Pre-Production

The pre-production phase is the longest and most important step in creating quality media.

  • Write a script. A script keeps you on topic and helps you create a concise message.
  • Keep it casual. Conversational language is more engaging for students and prevents your presentation from sounding stiff and formal.
  • Keep it short. Our experience has shown that students tend to tune out after about 7-8 minutes when watching online educational content. When writing a script, note that it takes about two minutes to read a written page (double-spaced and 12 point font) out loud.
  • Find/create additional materials. After your script is complete, determine whether you can insert any extra content into your media. Pictures, charts, graphs, or even notes are can all add extra appeal to your media.
  • Find a prime recording location. Audio is the most important element of your recording – people are generally more tolerant of poor video quality than they are of poor audio quality. Make sure you are recording in a quiet space with few little external noise (closing a door helps!). If you are recording video with your audio, make sure you choose a location with enough available light. Video is a recording of light after all, and without light you have no video. Avoid sitting directly in front of a window or other powerful light source as the camera will have difficulty with its exposure, resulting in a video that is too bright or too dark. Avoid any location with a lot of distractions, such as bright colors and patterns, moving objects, or loud noises.

Tools

If you are looking to record media for your course, you will need some tools to do so. There are many solutions you can choose from in terms of both hardware and software that range in price from free to relatively pricey. In addition, there is no one tool that will do it all – different needs calls for different tools. If you would like assistance in determining what tools are best for your need, please contact Stephen Bridges and he will be happy to consult with you.

Production

With your script written and your tools at the ready, it’s time to record your media.

  • Stay energetic! If you feel like you are stumbling with the lecture, feel free to stop and start a new take. You can always edit it in post-production.
  • Look professional. Try your best to sit up straight or, if possible, stand up while recording. Good posture and mannerisms come across in video and help engage your students’ attention.
  • Avoid stating specific dates or deadlines. Ideally, you would like your media to be as “evergreen” as possible, meaning that it can be reused across multiple course offerings without having to be re-recorded.

Finishing it out

With your media recorded, it is time for the finishing touches. If your content needs trimming or editing, bring your recording into some editing software. Take your time stitching your video together and polishing it up. Once you are happy with your content, your video will need to be uploaded to the internet so it can be embedded in your course. Please see the Streaming Media page for guidance.

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