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Tutorial: How to record short clips for education?


Many teachers are now recording short clips. They do this for several reasons; to save time in lectures for flipped classrooms, to standardize explanation, to provide a more motivation form of learning, or for representation purposes. Every clip recorded has its own form, but there are similarities:

  • Their length does not normally exceed 5 minutes
  • They are easy to record
  • Recording doesn’t take that much time (relative to “professional” recordings! Recording a clip costs between 5 minutes and multiple days)
  • They cover only one topic (this makes reuse of the clip in multiple settings easier)
  • This guide is intended to help you decide which form to choose when producing clips, and to help you on your way.

Is it already there?

Why produce yourself when it already exists? You may not completely like or agree with the videoclips you find. But have you considered showing a clip of the famous Professor X, then discuss with your students in class why some things in the video are wrong, or why you can use a different approach?

Some starting points to find clips:

Once again a happy citizen
Once again a happy citizen

Record your own: which form?

When you find there isn’t any material available that you’d like to use, you can choose a form, such as:

  • Your own explanation: You record your own clip, with you on screen, explaning a particular course topic. For example, this video explaning the Great Invention of Debt . Time needed for this form ranges from a few hours, to a few days. Other examples, from the faculty of Law, are about “ Witwassen ” and “ International Law ”.
  • Interview : To save time, and to help you focus on what is really important you can arrange to be interviewed on the topic you want to talk about. For example in this clip, where teacher Jacqueline van Kruiningen talks about peer-feedback in Blackboard . The recording of this clip was done in 30 minutes. Editing and publishing was done in about 1 hour by a professional crew of 2 persons.
  • Animation : There are several tools online that can help you to make animation clips. An example would be this clip from CommonCraft on “ Wiki’s in plain English ”. You can use tools such as Powtoon ( ) or Videoscribe ( ) to make animated clips. In general, this costs more time than doing an interview, or recording your own explanation, but results can look quite professional.
  • Let your students do it . Why should you as a teacher do all this hard work of thinking and planning around your course content when your students could do this? Here’s an example of a student produced clip on Brainwaves and Mozart . With tools such as, students can record their own clips. You can break up a big course (150 students and more), divide it in groups, and ask the students to produce clips based on parts of the course content. Many teachers are looking for ways to activate learners, and struggle to find ways to do this, especially for large groups. Having students record their own clips could be one of the solutions.
Design and production process
Design and production process

The design and production process

To make short video clips, the steps in the production process are often similar. You can follow these steps ( online source ):

  1. Make a mind map of what you wish to explain. This can be done on a piece of paper, or with a mind map program.
  2. Make a sequence of the different parts you are going to explain.
  3. Search for pictures on the internet for every part of the sequence. Add some describing words, but not too many. Paste the pictures in a presentation (e.g. PowerPoint). To find pictures go to or Google and use the advanced search tools there to search for royalty free material. Mention the image’s source on the slide.
  4. You can write out or check your timing with a script (edited from internal documentation, University of Amsterdam):
Central concept of your clip Scenario to develop understanding Timing
I. Introduction: what is the problem, goal of the clip
II. Explanation
III. Summary - solution
  1. Make a video presentation. Here you can use tools such as . Tell your story with the pictures, speak slowly and use your mouse to point out specific parts.
  2. Redo the presentation when you are not happy, this is often faster then editing your clip afterwards, as you will start speaking more concisely with practice. Thus, we recommend not to start editing. If you do want to edit, tools such as “Camtasia” can be used. The paid version of Screencast-o-matic supports editing as well.

It could help to check out some more tips and info for speaking without an audience (information is in Dutch).

Need more help?

Several departments at the University offer AV services, and help can be obtained from CIT as well:

Laatst gewijzigd:30 juni 2016 15:29
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