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EDU Support Blackboard Instructor Lectures, Tutorials & Seminars Video for education Tips for making videos

Tips for making videos

Making videos yourself

Making videos yourself is fun and not necessarily difficult. At the least you need a camera, preferably with a stand. You can use a smartphone or a comptact videocamera (such as a CANON). There are numerous tutorials on Youtube with tips and tricks to make your own educational video. Simply put is it important that you know in advance what you want to explain and film. A written script can be a valuable asset. Besides videos you can also use animations, there are a number of applications such as Powtoon that make this readily accessible. Additionally there are online databases such as Academia and TedEx where you can find video fragments.

The advantages

Making videos yourself has the added benefit of control. You decide what the clip is about and what material is discussed, and more importantly how it is presented. Students can watch these videos at home and the video can be used in tests and assignments. You can also turn videos into interactive material and use them for flipped classroom. ESI provides a training for integrating the flipped-classroom model in your courses. Videos can be a welcome, activated distraction from regular material such as books and lectures.

Dependent on the subject of the video we recommend a length between 1 and 7 minutes. Recording a video in one go can be boring and difficult to get right, so you can edit the video or clear things up using additional software to add text and images. Programs such as Screenpresso and Screencast-o-matic allow you to use your webcam to record a video that integrates your computer or laptop's screen into the video.

Would you like to take a more professional approach? FEB and the AV Services Arts/Law have studios for rent with professional equipment. While their own students and staff get priority you can make a reservation during free moments. For more information please contact the video coordinator of your faculty.

What do I need?

You need to prepare a number of things to in order to make a good video. The most important resources for making a video are:

  • Video recording equipment: Almost every digital camera possesses a more than decent video function. You can use a photo or video camera, but a mobile phone or webcam also works - depending on their quality - quite well. A simple 'Do-It-Yourself Studio' has been set up for recording such videos in the Harmonie building. The studio is very easy to use, and most people do not require much support to produce their recordings. More information on the DIY studio can be found by clicking here.

  • A suitable background: During filming choose a suitable background. The best backgrounds are clean, so try to avoid messy areas. This way students will not be distracted so easily, and it also gives your video a professional vibe if you choose a calm, plain background rather than a busy one.

  • If necessary use a stand: A stand prevents the camera from moving, making for a stable video which feels calmer and more professional.

How do I make a good video?

There are a number of technical and functional elements to keep in account when creating a video. This will massively boost the quality of your video.

  • Consider the length of your video in relation to the content carefully. A good educational video is a maximum of 7 minutes long and focuses primarily on one subject. If you deal with complex material it might be wise to make a thematical division between a number of videos dealing with concepts individually. Try to cut out any explanation or material that is not necessary for proper understanding of the message conveyed in your video.

  • Visual means such as drawing, animations and other forms of presentations can tremendously add to the quality. Besides the obvious advantages of illustrations it can also provide for a gentle variation in the video.

  • Proper lightning, camera angle and camera distant are paramount to a good video. Try to avoid light coming from above or the side casting any awkward shadows on the presenter, this can be very disrupting.

  • Think well about how you are going to portray the speaker and any relevant objects. You can choose to show the entire speaker or a close-up of his upper body. The background plays an important role here as well; try to avoid messy backgrounds, in particular featuring objects that have any readable text on them, rather select a plain wall or tidy bookcase; this positively focuses attention on the speaker and not their surroundings.

Where do I start?

Our recommendation is to write a short plan before you start recording and to make a script in which you write out, for yourself, what exactly the purpose and contents of the video are. This way you can carefully consider each and every element in advance. It can actually be to your benefit to write the text out in its entirety and time a rough duration, especially if you use other visual material in the video as well. Especially during a series of videos or for a video for an exam we strongly recommend planning ahead to make sure the material makes logical sense.

The internet provides a wealth of information that can serve as inspiration. Youtube is packed with interesting educational videos and professional productions such as MOOCS can also be a great example of videos done right. A good source of information is (In Dutch) which provides information, examples and best practises.

Collaboration, working together and discussions

Video collaboration means working together and discussing through the means of video. Collaboration can be used in a variety of different ways, many of which are available online. In case you would like to meet with (fellow) students or as a teacher want to explain something, it can be convenient if you do not have to meet in person. Video provides the perfect solution for this and there are various possibilities for you to explore.

Example 1: Guest lecture

When a lecturer from outside the RUG is to give a guest lecture remotely there are a number of possibilities.

  • Blackboard Collaborate is a part of Blackboard and is available in Nestor. This means that a Nestor account is required for using this tool. Blackboard Collaborate makes it possible to set up an interactive lecture from home with students. Lectures or seminars are possible both with or without video. The lecturer can divide students up in groups to give specific feedback or have a general lecture. There is an automatic recording that can be disclosed afterwards.

  • In addition there are software packages such as BlueJeans and Adobe Connect available by request. This software works in the web browser on any desired device (laptop, tablet and phone) and works especially well for external teachers or students (such as high-school students or students from another university). It is also possible to have so-called webinars (online seminars) on a larger scale.

Example 2: Cooperation

A group of student has to work together on a group assignment but would like a final discussion on some things without having to meet up in person. The most logical solutions for this are Skype and Google Hangouts/Meet.

Example 3: Business meeting

Working on a project requires contact with an external company. Because of the distance and tight schedules it is not always possible to meet up in person. A viable alternative is using video conferencing to meet up remotely. There are both software packages as well as physical meeting rooms with equipment available. These rooms are outfitted with video conferencing equipment with a camera and microphone.

How do I use video collaboration?

To use video collaboration you need at least a webcam and software. Many laptops and tablets have a webcam built-in. For computers we recommend Logitech webcams, these work automatically with the university workspace.


As the examples demonstrate there is a huge diversity in video collaboration tools. Which tool is best depends on your situation and goal.

Virtual classroom

For a virtual classroom there are a number of options, depending on the number of students and whether or not they study at the RUG.

Blackboard Collaborate is highly suitable for a virtual classroom within your Nestor course. Students can work together or you can set up a question and answer session.

Bluejeans is a virtual meeting room that works straight from the browser. Students or users do not need a Nestor or even an RUG account to use Bluejeans. Bluejeans is only available through request.


For meeting online external tools such as Skype or Google Hangouts are the most convenient programs to use. For Google Hangouts you can use your RUG staff or student email. Skype is available through the university workspace. For both tools you can find more information at and .

Whom to contact?

Contact EDU Support or your faculty's Embedded Expert from ESI for tailored didactic advice in using these suggestions in your teaching. For technical assistance please contact Nestorsupport.

Last modified: 18 November 04:50 PM
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