Guidelines for Creating Instructional Recordings

University students benefit from having 24/7 access to course information in a variety of formats.  Many faculty can take advantage of the mobile devices and other technologies that students have at their fingertips by creating instructional audio and video recordings.  Instructor goals for creating recordings include:

  • To record a lecture from a face-to-face class.
  • To supplement course information and enhance student learning.
  • To review key points or concepts that students find challenging.
  • To record a guest speaker, interview, student presentations, or special event.
  • To demonstrate a physical process, skill, or software application.

The following guidelines are important considerations for your recording:

  1. Plan ahead – Make detailed notes including questions and examples before you start talking.  These notes help you to deliver a smooth presentation and may be used for a transcript.
  2. Be yourself.  Your knowledge and enthusiasm make the podcast interesting.
  3. Be aware of your sound quality: Speak loudly and clearly; enunciate every word, and use variety in your pitch and inflections.  Record in a quiet place and use the best quality microphone available.
  4. Use clear, concise sentences.
  5. If recording classroom lectures, repeat questions from students for the audio recording.
  6. Use recordings to enhance, rather than repeat, the textbook.
  7. If video recordings are viewed on small screens, students cannot see your body language or facial expressions.  Your words must be very specific.
  8. Provide an outline or PowerPoint slides for note taking.  Keep in mind that students may view your recording on the small screen of a mobile device.
  9. Consider closed captions or transcripts for your recordings.  Please see Best Practices for Adding Captions to your Panopto Videos for detailed discussion of captioning options and workflows.


Time Topic Purpose
15-30 seconds Introduction to the Recording Briefly state your name, role, and topic.  You may want to include the date, recording number, or title.  If appropriate, tell the student how this topic relates to the course. Introduce yourself and orient your student to the topic.
60 – 90 seconds Overview of the Recording State a statistic, quote, short story, or statement to grab the listener’s attention.  Provide an overview of the topic and why it is important to the listener.  You may also wish to link the topic to what the student already knows.

Example: “As instructors look for meaningful strategies to evaluate complex assignments and ways to enhance student learning, more and more are turning to rubrics.  A rubric is a guide that is used to evaluate the quality of student performance within a range of specified criteria.  Many faculty report that a rubric saves them time and improves the feedback they provide to students.”

Provide the purpose and framework to help students process the information.Motivate the learner to listen to your presentation.
5 – 10 minutes Main Topic Present your content in an organized manner.  The organizational structure may be 1 or 2 related concepts, a comparison, or a sequence. Engage students through a rhetorical question or thoughts to ponder.

Example: “There are two main types of rubrics – holistic and analytical.  The holistic rubric assesses student work as a whole.  Remember the feedback you received from teachers stating your paper was excellent, good, and average?  That is holistic assessment that looks at the overall assignment. An analytic rubric is a grid that considers levels of performance for various components of the assignment such as content, organization, and grammar.” 

Focus on 1 or 2 manageable chunks of information that are most important for your listeners to know.
60 – 90 seconds Examples or Practice State some specific and relevant examples to reinforce your main points.  Examples may be anecdotal, personal, or humorous.  You may also state frequently asked questions and the answers.  

Example: “Some faculty identify organization, research, and depth of content as being most important in students’ oral presentations.  Other instructors focus more on delivery criteria such as eye contact, voice quality, and visual aids.”

Help the students remember and interpret abstract concepts in a more concrete way.
60 – 90 seconds Conclusion Tell your audience what you told them in the recording.  Using different words, restate the most important points for your listener to remember.  Relate the content to what students are doing in class.  Provide them with the next steps in their learning process by emphasizing what they should do — read course material, review notes, submit questions, or write an assignment.

If there is a follow-up recording, alert listeners to your next topic.  If you are creating a series of recordings, strive to be consistent in your presentation format and style.


Example: Decide what type of rubric, analytic or holistic, is best for you by reviewing several examples within your discipline.  What criteria are most important in helping you to achieve your courses goals? Use the rubric in a trial run and revise it based on the trial. Contact me if you have any questions.”

Reinforce the main points of your presentation. Relate the information to course content and provide a sense of closure.