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Videos: Video Best Practices


While videos are not required, they can provide an additional layer of instruction to help students understand a process.  Consider a video for any process that has more than three steps.  Even something that may not immediately spring to mind, such as filling out a form, can be well served by a video.

This page covers some things to consider when creating videos.

Capturing the Video

There are a number of different software programs available to create videos.

Screen capture software 

Screen capture is recording your computer screen and is helpful in showing how to click through a website, a software program, or any other process done on a computer.

  • Skype for Business's Meet Now tool allows you to have a meeting with yourself. In that meeting, you can use all the standard Skype tools to share content, your webcam, and audio and record all of it. The Skype software is installed on all Walden laptops. 

  • Jing is free, easy to use screen capture software from Techsmith.  You can record audio and your computer screen for up to two minutes using Jing.  You cannot edit video content within Jing but can upload the video into video editing software such as Camtasia, Captivate, or MS Movie Maker.

  • SnagIt is another product from Techsmith and is a step up from Jing.  You can record longer screen captures with SnagIt, and have more control over the capture settings.  You can do basic editing in SnagIt.  SnagIt costs $99 per computer; this is a one-time purchase cost, not an annual subscription. SnagIt is installed on the CAE media computer, located in the Minneapolis office.

  • Camtasia is the final screen capture product from Techsmith.  You can use Camtasia to both record and edit screen captures.  Camtasia is $299 per computer; this is a one-time purchase cost, not an annual subscription.  Camtasia is installed on the CAE media computer, located in the Minneapolis office.

  • Microsoft Movie Maker is a free video editing software from Microsoft.  Movie Maker is similar to Camtasia and allows you to make basic edits to video, add audio tracks, titles, and some animation.


Media Production Software

Captivate is an industry standard video creation and publishing software program by Adobe.  It is a complex program that allows you to do anything you ever wanted to media.  Captivate is $299 per computer and is also a one-time purchase. Contact Frontline to purchase Captivate through the University's Adobe license (after receiving departmental approval).  Captivate is also installed on the CAE media computer in the Minneapolis office.

Non-CAE staff, contact Tom Patterson to reserve the CSS media room.

Video Hosting

Public videos are hosted in YouTube.

Once the video is created, it is loaded into YouTube and either embedded or linked.

YouTube Standards and Information

Creating Videos

Review the following tips to create an instructionally robust video.  

  • Consider storyboarding the screens/clicks and script your voice over in advance to ensure you cover all instructional points and to prevent ums and ahs.  Reading a script results in a smoother voiceover and keeps you from forgetting an important point.  Practice the screen capture with the audio until you are comfortable with the process.

  • Use the script you created to develop the required transcript and captions.  You may need to edit the script here and there, but for the most part, it is ready to go.

  • Chunk the content. Focus on teaching one core concept or skill; make multiple videos if needed.

  • Videos, as opposed to webinars, should be short.  1-2 minutes is optimal. Videos should be under 5 minutes.

  • Start where the action starts. Only start at the homepage if one of the learning objectives is to show where something is located on the website.

  • Consider how much of the screen you need to show.  Don't capture the entire desktop if you are demonstrating something in a smaller window.  If you are using a browser, hide your bookmarks and other open tabs.This makes the video look more professional, and keeps you from being caught with something embarrassing in your screen capture.