The university’s system for recording lecture content is Panopto (also called Replay by the university). This is used for lecture capture in lecture theatres and can also be used to record videos of lecture content.
On this page, you’ll find advice to consider regarding pedagogy and practicalities when recording videos of lecture content. This is relevant regardless of the way in which you make the video. In the links on the side, you’ll find specific guidance on different technical options; you can choose based on what technology you have available, and what will work best for the material you are teaching. In addition to this guidance from the Mathematical Institute, you might like to see the University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning advice about recording lectures.
You might want to see information about the University copyright policy relating to recorded lectures.
Recorded lecture material will be made available only to users with an Oxford Single Sign On.
Viewers can download recorded lecture content via Panopto, which is particularly helpful for those with limited internet access. Students are not allowed to share or disseminate recorded lecture content, as explained in the University policy.
In order to use Panopto, you will first need to log in to the Lecture Capture Website - please do this now (using your SSO), so that links elsewhere in the guidance work correctly. Note that this year's lecture capture website is different to last year's and if you need to get access to your old videos there will be guidance forthcoming how to move them across. If you need access to those videos now before we move them across automatically, please email email@example.com .
If you need any help with using Panopto, or would like to use a teaching room in the Andrew Wiles Building for your recording, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three key updates for 2021-22, drawing on student feedback
(These are all included below too, highlighted here for convenience.)
- Students prefer material broken up into shorter (eg 15-20 minutes) videos, rather than 50-minute videos to replace 50-minute lectures.
- Students prefer being able to see the lecturer (captured on their webcam).
- Students prefer a mix of live handwriting and pre-prepared slides, or just live handwriting.
Planning and structuring video lecture content
- Providing video lectures gives us greater flexibility than we would have had otherwise, allowing us to focus on what will be most useful for students’ learning. There are good options for recording yourself, your slides, your computer visualisations, and your handwriting. We can adjust the length of videos to suit the material, rather than having to break in the middle of a long proof at the end of a lecture.
- There is no need to replace a 50-minute lecture with a 50-minute video. Shorter videos are more convenient for everyone (students and lecturers alike). Aim for videos lasting 15-20 minutes (or slightly longer or shorter), corresponding to natural sections in the material. Student feedback is that over 80% of students prefer shorter videos or have no preference (rather than 50-minute videos).
- The pacing is naturally different in a video, and that’s fine; there’s no need to aim for the same pace that you would use in a whiteboard lecture. With Panopto, the viewer can slow down or speed up the video, as well as being able to pause and rewind.
- If you use slides or create handwritten notes for your videos, it would be a good idea to make these files available for students alongside the videos. You can upload them to your Moodle course page. Some students find it convenient to have their own local copy that they can follow while watching the video.
- Please make sure that you label/number videos clearly, so that the sequence is evident. On Moodle, you're asked to specify which videos and which sections of the notes correspond to each problems sheet.
- You can choose whether to include a video of yourself. Students have reported finding it more engaging and easier to concentrate when they could see the lecturer. More than half of students indicated that they prefer to be able to see the lecturer, and only a handful prefer not to (the rest had no preference).
- Alongside the video of you, you can choose to display slides (or whatever is on your computer screen, such as mathematical software or an animation) or video of yourself writing by hand (on paper or on a tablet). You can also mix and match between these. See the separate links for technical tips on how to do this. About half of students preferred having a mix of live handwriting and pre-prepared slides, and another quarter preferred live handwriting alone. Comments included that live handwriting can be more engaging (especially if with slides the lecturer just reads them out), and that live handwriting can help with pacing for students who are making their own notes while watching videos.
- Whichever technology you use, you will need to end up with your video in Panopto, and you can then use Panopto for editing and post-production (see the links on the left).
- It is good practice, for accessibility reasons, to include captions with all videos. Panopto automatically generates captions, and students can choose whether or not they see these. At the very least, you are advised to check that the automatic captions do not contain any inappropriate words that you would not want included. Also, note that if you edit out a section of a lecture then the corresponding captions will not necessarily be deleted. If you have time available, then you can edit more fully to correct any issues, which will make the captions more useful for students. Full instructions are on the post-production page.
Tips for successful videos
- If you include a video of yourself, try to look directly at the camera as much as possible.
- It might at first feel strange to record lecture content with just a computer and no audience. Some people find it helpful to imagine that they are talking to a small group of three or four students: this helps to get an appropriate level of energy and pacing for a video, even though you can’t see the students.
- You are likely to want to edit out the start and end of the video, at the least, to chop off the parts where you move from the Panopto recording software to your slides and back, or similar. This will be easier if you move from Panopto to your slides, look at the camera, smile, and pause for a second, before you start. Giving yourself a window like this makes it much easier to edit in the right place, rather than trying to catch the millisecond between opening your slides and starting to talk. Similarly, at the end, pause for a second, then return to Panopto to end the recording.
- If you make a mistake and need to redo part, or there’s an intrusive background sound, or your cat gets in the way, just wait till the issue is over, pause for a couple of seconds to make editing easier later, and then resume (and redo any short section needed). It really is worth pausing for a second or two, this makes a noticeable difference to later editing, which is then quite easy.
- If you are about to move to a new slide or clear the screen in some way, it might be helpful to pause for a moment and perhaps say that this is what you’re about to do. Viewers can of course pause the video while they review a section, but this becomes easier if there is a clear moment when they can do it. If you put up a line of text and immediately move to the next slide, then it is hard for the viewer to pause.
- Go for the best sound quality you can manage.
- Remember that you can’t show the viewer something by pointing at your screen, however tempting this may be!
- Turn off any notifications on your computer (email, Teams, OneDrive, Dropbox, …) before you start recording. (Within Teams, set your status to “Do not disturb”.) Close any unnecessary windows, especially those containing sensitive information.
- If you’re recording slides or your screen, move your mouse to the corner of the screen before you start (unless you’re using it during your video), to avoid it being a distraction.
Where to put your videos when they’re ready to be published
This guidance will be available in September, following the department's move to Moodle.