At a Glance

In this guide for faculty and staff, you’ll learn how to record an instructional video in the MIT Sloan Teaching Studio. An instructional video is any video that an instructor creates for students in their course. Here are a few highlights:

  1. Make your instructional video less than six minutes long.
  2. In your slides, use a large font size (at least 18pt) and engaging visuals like simple graphics and charts.
  3. Follow the tips under Choose Your Outfit to pick clothes that will look great on camera.
  4. Make your video part of a balanced homework diet. Students are more likely to watch one video than five—and they’ll be more interested in a new video if they’re not already balancing a heavy homework load.
  5. Unless you have the time and knowledge to edit your video, you will need to record at least one complete take—the entire video from start to finish—that you’re prepared to share with your audience.

Tip: Use this guide to learn how to record a student-facing video in the studio. To learn about creating public-facing videos in the studio, see How to Record a Public Video in the MIT Sloan Teaching Studio.

Make a Reservation

To reserve the Teaching Studio, request a consultation with a member of the Teaching & Learning Technologies team. We’ll contact you to learn more and schedule your studio session. Here are a few important notes:

  • Submit your consultation request form at least ten business days before the studio session date.
  • When you fill out the form, select Teaching Studio from the first dropdown menu.
  • If this is your first time using the studio and it is available, we’ll confirm your booking after you complete the required studio orientation and (for some projects) a studio consultation.
  • Some projects may be eligible for instructional design support including presentation design guidance and video script reviews.
  • Scheduling is contingent on both the studio’s and the Teaching & Learning Technologies team’s availability. Studio reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Request a Consultation

Tip: We recommend booking about one hour of studio time for every five minutes of video you plan to record.

Prepare Your Presentation

Design Your Video

Start planning your instructional video by picking one key topic, learning outcome, or goal. Then identify the most essential content to include. You might want to prioritize

  • algorithmic content like how to solve for an equation;
  • clear visual aids like maps or diagrams;
  • examples and anecdotes that illustrate ideas or emphasize important points;
  • and complicated concepts that students might want to review multiple times.

Instructional videos usually work best if they’re less than six minutes long (Guo et al., 2014). You can think of a video as a highlight reel or a quick dive into an important topic. Consider starting with a “hook” (like an interesting real-world example), diving into engaging content, then wrapping up with a quick summary of what you’ve covered. Research also suggests that extraneous information, complicated slides, and even music can distract from learning (Ibrahim 2012). Simplify your presentation so students can focus on what matters.

You can also support students by providing tools to help them process the information in the video (Brames 2015). For example, you can invite them to think about specific guiding questions while they watch. You can ask them to submit a quiz or share a reaction on a discussion board after they watch. You can even make the video part of a flipped classroom experience. In that case, you’ll replace your usual in-class lecture with this new video and pre-class knowledge checks. Then you’ll dedicate that freed up class time to active learning opportunities. Note that students are more likely to watch one video than five for a single class session. They may also be more interested in a new video if they’re not already balancing a heavy homework load.

Create Your Slides

Consider these tips for designing effective studio slides:

1. Keep it simple.

The best slides for studio presentations are simple, focused, and contain very little text. When you embed a video in a Canvas assignment or quiz, the video size will be similar to a cell phone screen. Prioritize visual content like basic graphics and charts to make your slides effective at that scale.

2. Use a large font size.

Use 18pt or larger fonts in your slides. You can use even bigger font sizes in slides that you’ll use in Projector scenes (since slides in Projector scenes only occupy part of the screen).

3. Plan ahead.

Familiarize yourself with the studio’s capabilities by reviewing the Explore the MIT Sloan Teaching Studio page. Here are a few important reminders:

  • Your slides will not be visible in Speaker Only and Whiteboard scenes.
  • You (the presenter) will not be visible in Content Only scenes.
  • In Full Screen and Screencast scenes, you will appear in front of your slides. Design those slides so you don’t block important content.
  • You can think of Full Screen slides as an interactive backdrop:

Screenshot of full screen content view with presenter standing in front

Full Screen Slide Example 1: You can feature an image that covers your entire slide and move around to gesture towards different parts of it.

Person icon on the right side and marketing graphic on the left side

Full Screen Slide Example 2: You can limit content to one side of the slide so it looks like images or text are appearing next to you.

 

Practice Your Presentation

Practice your presentation at home and during your studio orientation. This way you can confirm the length of your presentation, get a sense of what works, and spot any desired revisions. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Smile and be energetic.
  • Remember to enunciate.
  • Use your normal speaking voice and volume.
  • Feel free to use hand gestures if they feel natural.
  • Use good posture and open body language.
  • Look directly at the camera lens as often as possible.
  • Pretend you’re talking to a friend who’s behind the camera.

Choose Your Outfit

Wear an outfit that will look great on camera:

  • Choose a garment that includes both
    • a neckline or lapel where you can place the clip-on microphone;
    • and a back pants pocket or belt where you can attach the microphone hardware.
  • Wear solid color clothing. (You may be able to wear a simple pattern if you’re wearing a jacket over it.)
  • Don’t wear all white, all black, all red, the same green as the green screen, or the same color as your studio slides.
  • For shoes, consider wearing flats. High heels can make it difficult to operate the studio foot pedals.
  • Avoid wrinkled clothes; shiny fabric; busy patterns (like high-contrast stripes, plaids, or polka dots); and visible labels, logos, or text.
  • Smooth down wispy or flyaway hair.
  • Wear makeup if desired. Face powder can help prevent shine under the studio lights.
  • Avoid jewelry or other accessories that could make noise while you’re recording.

Attend Your Studio Session

On the day of your studio session, a technician will let you into the studio. They will make sure the technology is working properly. When you’re ready to start your presentation, the technician will leave the room. They will stay nearby in case you need support during the session.

Consider these tips for your studio recording session:

  • Make sure to put your phone on silent and mute notifications on your laptop or iPad.
  • Pace yourself. Keep your energy up by drinking water, eating a snack, or going for a quick walk outside.
  • This studio is designed to empower you to create high-quality videos quickly and efficiently. Unless you have the time and knowledge to edit your video, make sure to record at least one complete take—your entire presentation from start to finish—that you’re prepared to share with your audience.

Edit Your Video

After your studio session, we suggest you use Panopto to edit your video. Panopto provides basic video-editing capabilities. You can connect with our team to learn more about how you can edit your video—however, we do not provide video editing services beyond a consultation. If you need advanced video editing capabilities, you may wish to connect with an external video editor.

Watch these videos to learn more about editing with Panopto: Getting Started: Edit a Video and How to Trim a Video in the Editor.

Share Your Video

When you’re finished editing, you can share your video with students using Panopto and Canvas:

  1. Embed your video in a Canvas Announcement, Assignment, Discussion, Page, or Quiz.
  2. Add the video course content to a Canvas module.

Tip: Make your Canvas site easy to navigate (for example, by following MIT Sloan School’s Gold Standard Canvas Course guidelines) so students know exactly where to go to watch the new video.

Related Resources

References

Brame, C.J. (2015). Effective educational videos. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.

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).

Ibrahim M, Antonenko PD, Greenwood CM, and Wheeler D (2012). Effects of segmenting, signaling, and weeding on learning from educational video. Learning, Media and Technology 37, 220-235.