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DIY Video Information

“Thoughtfully-integrated audio and video are recognized by research as effective tools for use in education" (Hsin & Cigas, 2013; Kay, 2012; Lloyd & Robertson, 2012). Even if you’re now recording or broadcasting from your home office or another non-studio space, we can consult remotely with you to find the most effective strategies for recording and sharing content. By letting us offer some guidance, we can help ensure the best possible results for you and your students.

Here is some research-supported advice to consider for video content:

  • Take advantage of CMU-supported solutions. Get started with Panopto/Chipcast.
  • Keep it short. 6-9 minutes is recommended based on related data (Guo, Kim, & Robin, 2014).
  • Be conversational. This encourages social connection and engagement (Mayer, 2008).
  • Use a quick pace and enthusiastic tone. Learner engagement increases as the narrator's speaking pace increases (Guo et al., 2014).
  • Personalize when possible. Learner engagement decreases when viewing an experience intended for someone else (e.g., recorded session for another class) (Guo et al., 2014).

You might also consider this “experience-supported” advice from the Creative Media Production Team:

  • Consider using a USB or external microphone and do a couple of test recordings to get the levels dialed in.
  • Make sure your slides are 16:9/widescreen. 4:3 is so 2009.
  • Don’t put a light source (i.e., a window) BEHIND you. Always have the light source on your face or near your face. A small desk or table lamp will do wonders!
  • Get the camera at eye level — even if that means raising your entire laptop up on a stand (OR on a stack of books or an upside-down laundry basket).
  • When recording: remember you don’t have to get it perfect in one take. When you make a mistake, just PAUSE, collect your thoughts and start that section again. Keep the recording going — recording a few seconds of silence is OK and can be edited out!

Let us help you set up your remote recording space or give some feedback on a sample recording you've created. Contact us to schedule a remote consultation.


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

Hsin, W. J. & Cigas, J. (2013). Short videos improve student learning in online education. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 28, 253-259.

Kay, R. H. (2012). Exploring the use of video podcasts in education: A comprehensive review of the literature. Computers in Human Behavior, 28, 820-831.

Lloyd, S. A. & Robertson, C. L. (2012). Screencast tutorials enhance student learning of statistics. Teaching of Psychology, 39, 67-71.

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