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Enhancing Course Content with Educational Video

NOTE: The following material has been adapted from “Video Resources,” which is produced and maintained by the Boise State Office of Information Technology. It contains a variety of useful information about using educational video at Boise State, including tutorials, how-to guides, and documentation for producing and distributing video.

Video can be a compelling instructional medium when used appropriately and created so the video is high quality and accessible to students at Boise State. The guidelines below help to provide the campus community with benchmarks and tools to create consistent, high quality, accessible, and simple, user-friendly instructional video content.

Before You Begin

What is your instructional intent or learning objective using video? What can video provide that other media can not? Talk to an instructional design consultant in the IDEA Shop or eCampus Center (for online courses) about why you might use video for instruction.


The following guidelines should assist you in the creation and presentation of high-quality and accessible instructional video content. There may be additional federal and/or Boise State requirements for creating and using instructional video in your classes depending upon how and where you use instructional video.

Instructional Content

Boise State instructors should use instructional content in ways that enrich the learning experience by being aligned with instructional objectives and are informed by current research literature/best practices.

Instructional Content Guidelines

GuidelineDescription and How-To Information
Videos should be co-located along with other instructional content.Embed or provide links to instructional video inline with instructional content. This helps contextualize video content for your students. If you embed the video in your Blackboard , also provide a link to the video so students can copy/paste the link to view the video in a browser.
Chunk your content into specific topics and succinct videos.Ideally, each video will focus on one topic. Chunk content into short videos–the shorter the better (try for under five minutes). If you video is longer than five minutes, can the content be split into two videos? Shorter videos not only allow students easy access to specific video content, these also playback more easily on mobile devices and over slow Internet connections.
Provide a content listing, bookmarks or links to specific content sections in your videos.If you must post a video longer than five minutes, provide a table of contents, links or bookmarks to specific sections within your video.
  • How to: Link to a specific point in a video posted to YouTube by selecting the “Start at” checkbox next to the share link under the “Share” tab. You’ll see the link change with the timeline. Simply, select the link at the point in time you want to link to.

  • How to: To link to a specific point in a Classroom Capture video, navigate to the point in the video you want to link to, click the “Share” button and select “Video at current time.”

Students engage with video content produced with enthusiastic inflection and slightly faster-than-normal speaking rate.
Students engage more with visually stimulating videos.Try producing your video content using “Khan-style” videos where the speaker is drawing on a tablet as opposed to fixed slides with a lot of text. Your video should “show” something.
While Classroom Capture (lecture capture) videos can provide a review resource for students, these should not be considered as instructional video to be used for primary instruction.If you want to use videos to “flip” your classroom so that students receive information before coming into the classroom, create short videos on specific topics and share these with students before class.


All instructional videos must comply with Boise State Policy 8140, which stipulates that the “university information technology (IT) environment is accessible to all, and in particular to individuals with disabilities. This policy “applies to information technologies employed by all Boise State units and departments, including departmental websites hosted by non-Boise State servers, applications, and other technologies employed to store, convey, or otherwise host information and communications accessible to the general public.”

Students requiring accommodation, or instructors needing consultation, should contact the Boise State Educational Access Center. Learn more about the accommodation process on the students’ page of the Center’s web site.

For more information about accessibility, see “Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning at Boise State.”

Accessibility Guidelines

GuidelineDescription and How-To Information
Instructional videos must be closed captioned.Closed captions provide a text equivalent of your videos. Closed captions make your videos more accessible to non-native English speakers, deaf and hearing impaired students.
If video is already captioned, providing a transcript is highly recommended.Providing a transcript of your video assists hearing impaired, blind/low-vision students, non-native English speaking students, and students who prefer to follow videos with text.
  • For deaf/hearing impaired, provide a verbatim written transcript.

  • For blind/low vision, provide a descriptive, written transcript where actions and all relevant visual and auditory clues and actions are described.

  • Example: In a video for math, describe the action and location of X and Y, not simply say, “move the ‘X’ over here.”

  • How to: In Blackboard, simply upload your transcript and include the link to the transcript along with your video.

Presentation of instructional videos (in class) may need to be accompanied by real-time accommodations (sign language interpreters, real-time video description, note takers, real-time transcription, etc).Students with disabilities should contact the Educational Access Center for accommodation. Instructors can contact the Center for consultation.


Your videos should have high-quality audio and should look as professionally produced as possible.

Quality Guidelines

The TechSmith web site contains tutorials and tips on how to make your videos look and sound as professional as possible. Visit the TechSmith software tutorial pages for information on using Camtasia Studio/for Mac.

GuidelineDescription and How-To Information
Audio should be consistently audible throughout your video.Many video and audio editing programs (like Camtasia Studio and Camtasia for Mac) allow you to “normalize” the audio in your video. Normalizing your audio basically means that your audio levels, how loud the audio is, will be set at the same level throughout your video making it easy to hear.
Your primary audio (instructional content) should be distinct from other audio within your video.If you add music or sound effects to your video, set the audio levels (the loudness) so your primary audio is easy to hear over the secondary audio.
Edit out dead air and avoid or eliminate “ums,” “uhs,” filler words and long pauses.Long pauses in video and audio are distracting and provide your viewers an opportunity to abandon your video–edit this out of your timeline.
The subject(s) of your video should be in focus and well framed.Whether you use a webcam or another video camera, make sure the subject of your video is clear and in focus.
Your video footage should be stable, not shaky.Use a tripod or other attachment to ensure your video footage is steady.
Proofread titles and text.Proofread all text in your video. If you use Powerpoint as part of your video, run spellcheck before recording your video.
When screen recording, consider everything your students will see on the screen.Clearing off your desktop and using a subdued, solid color as your background is less confusing for viewers. Also, when showing a screen recording in Blackboard, be sure you’re in view mode, not edit mode, so you do not confuse your students.


Instructional videos should be produced in formats that are accessible on multiple devices and multiple bandwidth rates.

Technical Guidelines

GuidelineDescription and How-To Information
Preferred file types to upload to YouTube or the Boise State Video Service are Quicktime (.mov) and MPEG (.mp4).Creating your videos using Camtasia Studio/for Mac or the Classroom Capture system allows you to easily export your videos in the MPEG format.
  • How To: In Camtasia Studio or Camtasia for Mac, select “Produce and Share” and select “MP4 only (up to 1080p)” option. You will then be prompted to save your video file–save it somewhere you will be able to find it like your desktop.

Use the MP3 or AAC audio formats for best playability and sound quality.Creating your videos using Camtasia Studio,Camtasia for Mac or the Boise State Classroom Capture system, produces videos with the correct audio format.
Shoot and create video in high definition.High definition video ensures students can see small details in your video. Uploading the highest resolution allows visually impaired people to enlarge the video without losing too much quality. High definition is generally considered to be 1280×720, 1920×1080 or higher resolution.
Use the native frame rate of your camera or screen recording software.Frame rate is the number of frames, or images, per second recorded or played back. Using the default frame rate of your camera and editing software ensures your video will play back smoothly for students.
Use aspect ratio of the source video so your video does not appear stretched or squished during playback.Use 16:9 ratio for HD video or 4:3 ratio for standard definition video for best-quality playback.


While it is not required that instructional videos follow Boise State video branding guidelines, including the logo and official colors in your instructional videos helps to add to your videos a more polished and professional look.