Recording Online Lectures


Media is an effective tool to simplify complex concepts or reinforce essential content. It’s also a great way to meet the federal Department of Education’s requirements for “direct instruction” in online courses. 

Recording Tool Options

There are lots of options for recording lectures. Choose one you are familiar with and can meet your needs. Here are several recording options we recommend:

  • Kaltura is USU's primary media management portal, which offers a freely available lecture capture system that can be used in a live classroom or from your desktop computer. It is easy to use, but has very limited editing capabilities. You can learn more about Kaltura here.
  • Camtasia is a lecture-capture software with extensive video editing capabilities that is installed in the on-campus audio/lecture capture recording studio and can also be purchased and installed on your desktop computer for around $100. You can learn more about how to use Camtasia here External Link Icon .
  • Zoom can be used to to record meetings with students for students within the same class to view on their own time. It can also be used to record an instructor presentation when no one else is in the meeting.
  • Record on a mobile device. If you choose to go this route, be sure to review the guidelines found in the Best Practices for Video section.

Whichever recording option you choose, it is important to be aware of some practical guidelines to create a professional product.

Best Practices for Video

Below are some strategies to help you make a quality educational video.

Be Yourself

  • Speak in a conversational style with high enthusiasm, rather than formal style
  • Maintain eye contact with the camera to engage viewers
  • A personal, authentic feel can be more engaging to viewers
  • Remember, your enthusiasm or disinterest in the topic is contagious


  • Align each video to a learning outcome
  • Break content into bite-size pieces so presentations are short and easy to reference or review
  • Create a storyboard to plan what to say, choose visuals to display, and determine the sequence
  • Create a script and practice until you can deliver with a conversational voice



  • Use a microphone for enhanced voice quality
  • If no microphone is available, a headset with a microphone can help reduce echo
  • Place speakers away from the microphone to avoid echo and adjust volumes to 50%
  • Being as close to your microphone as possible will give you the cleanest and clearest audio


  • Position yourself close to the camera and line the camera up with your eye line
  • Align your body in the center of the frame
  • Ensure your whole head and upper body are visible

Background Noise Reduction

  • Control for background noise
  • Turn off IM or email notifications that may pop up when sharing your screen
  • Be mindful of tapping fingers, typing, or crumpling paper while recording
  • Alert others in your household or office to not disturb you
  • Mute cell phone or other alerts that may come in while recording


  • If using a script, practice reading so delivery sounds conversational
  • Conduct a test recording 
    • Check that image quality and sound levels are desirable
    • Evaluate delivery and presentation style

Clear Picture 

  • Ensure the picture is clear and in focus 
  • Keep visuals as free of distortion, blur, and shake as possible
    • Hold your recording device with both hands as close as possible to your body
    • Use a table, book, chair, or shelf to support the device
    • Use a tripod with an adapter to hold your device
  • Check that there are no smudges or fingerprints on the lens
  • Select any available touch-up tools with your recording software to improve the appearance

Background Environment

  • Remove clutter or visual distractions
  • Ensure adequate lighting for face; when possible, use natual light from the sun through a window or skylight
  • Have the same amount and type of light for both your subject and background

Best Practices for PowerPoint Slides

Following are some general guidelines to follow when creating a PowerPoint presentation: 


  • Review learning objectives to guide topics you will include
  • Begin with a message to grab the learner’s attention (quote, question, etc.)
  • End your presentation by returning to your opening message
  • To enhance understanding, focus on three main points/topics


  • Provide introduction, body, and concluding slides
  • Guide viewers from point to point with appropriate headings
  • Limit yourself to 3-5 bullet points per slide 
  • Limit text by using phrases or keyword; avoid using complete sentences unless presenting a specific quote 
  • Aim for no more than six words per line


  • Strike a balance between appropriate visuals and text
  • Ensure all text and graphics are large enough for the audience to easily view
  • Utilize images that visually express the content being discussed
  • Use instructive rather than decorative visuals and less text on the slides 
  • Keep charts and graphs simple
  • Use high-quality graphics
  • Limit transitions and animations—busy doesn't mean better
  • If using third party graphics or other content, adhere to copyright and fair use guidelines

Additional Resources

CIDI has created a library of resources to help you get up and running with media in Canvas. USU has licensed Kaltura for media recording and hosting and we recommend using Kaltura for recording your videos. 

If you would prefer to record your lectures in a studio, our Media Production team has an audio studio and a video studio that you can reserve.

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