Recording your own course and module intro videos

Posted on Jul 19, 2014

A course or module introduction video is more than just an interesting piece of media…

It provides your learners with several benefits:

  • It helps students to prepare to learn by gaining their attention, framing prior learning in relation to new subject matter, and setting the stage for new information.
  • It promotes your presence in the course as a “real person”. Cognitive presence is a critical factor that helps learners maintain interest, feel like part of a learning community, and sustain their resilience.
  • It gives you an opportunity to respond to the unique events and issues that emerge from module to module. This can can include highlighting specific forum comments from a student, citing a recent news item that points to your subject matter, mentioning due dates and tasks, and addressing patterns of misunderstanding directions.
  • It leverages your talents as an instructor to be seen as the leader of the course.

What should you put in an Intro Video?

Typically, you will want to cover the following:

  • What is this course/module about?
  • Why does it matter?
  • How does this course/module relate to prior knowledge?
  • What has been said by students in prior modules that relate to this prior knowledge?
  • How will this module matter later on in the course?
  • What are the major topics/concepts in this module?
  • What activities will we be doing and what will we discover (in a general sense)?
  • Upcoming due dates, instructions, expectations, concerns, issues.
  • Reminder to contact you in case they are stuck or have questions.

Try to put this together within a 5-10 minute duration.

What should an Intro Video look like?

No major production is needed! But here are some guidelines to make the recording look as good as possible:

  • Work in a quiet environment where you are likely not to be interrupted.
  • Use a headset with a microphone if you have one (a good idea!). If you use your laptop or webcam microphone, be sure to monitor the recording level of your sound to be sure you are close enough. Directions for this process are listed in the recording process page.
  • Position yourself so that there is sufficient light on your face so that you do not have heavy shadows.
  • Avoid having anything behind you that could be distracting, such as a bright light or window (causes glare) or extraneous motion.

Should I write a script?

If you write a script, you will sound….scripted. Try writing an outline with basic information points and then improvising like you would in a classroom. The good thing is that you can rehearse! Delete your bad takes, refine your delivery, and only upload what you want.

What should I do while I am recording?

Should you just sit there and speak? Stand and lecture? Frankly, it’s up to you and whatever feels natural to you. Think of it from your students’ perspective. How do you think they would like to be presented to?


Below is a basic example of an Intro Video. It is a straight “talking head” approach, but it covers the essentials and it was easy to do.

Creative Commons License
“Recording your own course and module intro videos” by Steve Covello is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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