When is it necessary to create video content?

Educational videos can spur discussions, summarize topics and help students visualize concepts. In designing your course for flexible teaching, you might consider creating your own video content. Students can watch videos on their own time and review materials as needed. Producing videos is time consuming, but if planned and practiced, can provide you with evergreen

Determine if videos are necessary

Think about whether a video is essential for learning. Can the course content be conveyed through readings, homework, problem sets or some other method? Would a discussion of course content in live sessions make more sense? Is practicing difficult concepts by Collaborate or Teams or in class sufficient? It may be easiest for students to review existing slides or for you to add annotations or provide your lecture notes to supplement the slides. To see if the students understand the materials, you can give comprehension quizzes or ask students to solve problems during class time.

Examine the need for new videos. Are there already existing videos and materials you can use for your course? If you haven’t looked into open educational resources (OER) before, review what existing content you might be able to use in your course instead of creating new video content. In many cases, it is possible to develop activities that are as effective and engaging as new video content. There are multimedia tools designed to enhance interactions with existing videos such as VoiceThread or Kaltura.

Ask yourself if it is worth the time. If you decide to create videos, plan on it taking more time than you expect. While “lecture capture” video might be close to “real time,” higher production videos (with edits, titles and other features) might take you much longer – often an hour of work per minute of finished video. If you plan on creating and editing an eight-minute video with slides and a script, budget eight hours to work on it from beginning to end. If you are unfamiliar with the software for recording and editing videos, you will also need to factor in time to learn those tools. 

Decide if video supports your course goals

Video content supports a flipped classroom, in which the students watch or learn content outside of synchronous meetings and use face-to-face (or online synchronous) classes for in-depth discussions, questions and problem-solving. Does the subject matter of your course lend itself to this approach? Is it more advantageous for students to hear directly from you so you can answer questions immediately? Are there certain skills that must be practiced that cannot be gained by watching videos?

Watching videos can make up for lost contact hours. If your course is not able to meet as often as it would in a typical semester, moving lecture content to videos that students can view on their own time is an efficient way to replace face-to-face meetings. This deficit could also be made up by redesigning assignments to encourage students to explore topics on their own, engage in greater depth or do group work.

The videos you need may not be lectures. Students appreciate one-on-one contact with faculty that can be difficult in an online course. You might make connections with them by sharing your analysis of a current event, presenting yourself at the beginning of the semester or interviewing an expert in your field. Videos can also give students clarity about the course structure and expectations, for example a walkthrough of the course site, an example of how to solve homework problems or a discussion of common problems on the midterm.


  1. Guo PJ, Kim J, and Robin R (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. ACM Conference on Learning at Scale (L@S 2014); found at http://groups.csail.mit.edu/uid/other-pubs/las2014-pguo-engagement.pdf.

  2. Mayer RE (2008). Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction. Cognition and Instruction 19, 177-213.

  3. Lawson TJ, Bodle JH, Houlette MA, and Haubner RR (2006). Guiding questions enhance student learning from educational videos. Teaching of Psychology 33, 31-33.

  4. Vural OF (2013). The impact of a question-embedded video-based learning tool on e-learning. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice 13, 1315-1323.

Creative Commons License

Flexible Teaching guides were developed by Duke Learning Innovation and adapted for NIU by the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. They are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


Didn’t find what you were looking for? Need more information? Contact the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) with your feedback and questions about this resource.

Workshops & Support

CITL staff are available to answer your questions about Flexible Teaching. Give us a call or text 815-753-0595 or email citl@niu.edu for assistance. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our staff.

View CITL upcoming events to view available upcoming workshops offered or to register.

Back to top