Recommended Tools and Methods for Using Audio and Video in Canvas

Using audio and video in a Canvas course can open the door to many possibilities, including multimedia discussion boards, recorded student presentations, using a flipped classroom model, and more. Still, instructors must make a number of choices regarding what tools to use and how to use them, from picking a webcam recorder to figuring out the best way to share videos in Canvas.

In this article you’ll find our recommendations on what tools and methods to use to support audio and video in your Canvas course, including:

  • Kaltura Capture, Kaltura webcam recorder, and Kaltura (My Media), the university’s supported solutions for recording, storing, and sharing media. Both tools are available to you and your students for free. We will also discuss the recording features in PowerPoint and how you turn your PowerPoints into lecture videos.
  • YouTube, Vimeo, and other third-party video platforms. Though the university doesn’t support these platforms, we will cover recommendations on how to embed or link to these sources.
  • PlayPosit, a powerful tool for making your audio and video content more interactive.

Recording Audio and Video

Kaltura Capture

When you or your students need to record audio or video content, Kaltura Capture will suit your needs in most instances. The app is simple to use and offers screen recording and webcam recording capability, making it an ideal tool for video lectures or prerecorded student presentations. After downloading and installing it on your device, you can use Kaltura Capture to:

  • Record the content on your computer screen. If you have a second monitor connected to your computer, you can choose which display to record.
  • Record video of yourself with your computer’s built-in or external webcam.
  • Record audio of yourself speaking with your computer’s built-in or external microphone.
  • On Windows, you can also record the audio from your computer system, such as when playing a video during a screen recording. (You must enable this feature in the application settings first.)

Kaltura Webcam Recorder

If you don’t need Kaltura Capture’s screen recording features, you can use Kaltura webcam recorder to record audio and video of yourself instead. It can be launched from your browser without downloading any software. Simply open the app from My Media in Canvas or within the Rich Content Editor while editing a Canvas page, discussion, assignment, quiz, or announcement. The webcam recorder is a quick and easy option for providing video feedback or recording a video introduction for a discussion board.

The "Kaltura" button in the Canvas Rich Content Editor, along with the "Add New" media dropdown menu
To launch the webcam recorder while editing an item in Canvas, click on the Kaltura icon (rainbow flower) in the toolbar of the Rich Content Editor. In the pop-up menu, click the “Add New” button and select “Webcam Recorder” from the dropdown menu.

Microsoft PowerPoint

If you already use PowerPoint to develop your lecture materials, consider using its built-in audio and video recording capabilities to create your pre-recorded lecture videos. Audio narrations can be recorded within PowerPoint slide by slide. Additionally, you can enable your webcam and record video footage of yourself during your narrations. To make your presentations mobile-friendly and more accessible, we recommend exporting your narrated PowerPoints as video files, uploading them to Kaltura (My Media), and then embedding the videos in Canvas. This LinkedIn Learning video is a great resource for getting started with recording narrations in PowerPoint.

Other Tools for Recording Audio and Video

Kaltura Capture and the Kaltura webcam recorder are not the only means of recording audio and video out there, and they may not work for every situation. You are welcome to explore other recording software, but know that if you use a tool that is not provided by the university, it also means that you will be on your own in terms of finding support if you need help.

It’s worth mentioning that there is one recording method we would discourage instructors from using: the “Record/Upload Media” option in the Rich Content Editor. First, Canvas has a limit on file size for media recorded with this feature. And second, captions (both machine-generated and professional) cannot be added to recordings made with this tool. To maximize accessibility and save yourself a potential headache, use a different recording software and store your recordings in Kaltura.

Storing and Sharing Your Media

Kaltura (My Media)

Whether you choose to record with Kaltura Capture or another application, we highly recommend uploading your recordings to Kaltura. One of the biggest advantages is that Kaltura provides unlimited long-term cloud video and audio storage at no additional cost. Once an audio or video file is in Kaltura, it is also incredibly easy to link or embed it anywhere in a Canvas course.

Kaltura makes it easy to manage your media as well. You can apply tags and add descriptions to help organize your content, sort and filter by a variety of attributes, and even make simple edits to your media with the Kaltura video editor, such as trimming out unwanted sections at the beginning or end of a screen capture recording.

The Kaltura video editor as it appears in Canvas
The Kaltura video editor is great for when you need to cut out sections of a video clip, trim the beginning or end of a clip, or create a short clip from a longer video.

Using Kaltura is also best practice for accessibility. When you upload your media, machine-generated English captions are automatically applied. When a student makes a formal disability accommodation request for captions through Student Accessibility Services, professional captions can be easily ordered and applied to your Kaltura media as well.

Quick Tip: Uploading Media from a Smartphone to Kaltura

What do you do if you want to have students create audio or video content, but they don’t all have access to a computer with a webcam? Fortunately, an Apple or Android smartphone can do the trick in these situations. First, students can record their media with the camera application on their phone. To upload a recording from your phone to Kaltura, download the Kaltura MediaSpace GO application for iOS or Android and then follow these instructions to configure the app’s setup. Once the app is configured, you can upload to Kaltura (My Media) in just a few taps.

Other Tools for Storing and Sharing Your Media

Since video and audio files can be large, it is best to pick a storage solution in which your videos are saved to a cloud or hosted on a website. YouTube, while not a technology supported by the university, is still an option that supports both share links and embed codes. If you are comfortable with using OneDrive, you can also store recordings in your UWGB OneDrive cloud and share links to those recordings, though there is not currently a supported method for embedding these recordings in Canvas.

Please note that it is not advisable to upload media to your Canvas course’s files area. Video and audio files will quickly take up your course’s limited file storage space. Using a cloud storage system for your media helps solve this issue, as media embedded from platforms like Kaltura or YouTube do not count against this quota.

The "files" tab in Canvas
The “Files” area in Canvas is good for storing documents and images that are linked or embedded in your course, however it is not ideal for larger files like audio and video.

Sharing Media from External Sources

For media that you do not own and that is hosted outside Kaltura, such as YouTube videos and Ted Talks, you have a few options for sharing. Depending on the source, you might be able to search for and embed the content from within Canvas’s Rich Content Editor. For the rest, you can use an embed code or a simple hyperlink.

Canvas Integrations

Films on Demand, TedEd, Vimeo, and YouTube all have Canvas integrations that you can access from the Rich Content Editor. While editing a page or post, click on Apps (the plug icon) in the toolbar of the Rich Content Editor and then “View All” to select a tool. Use the tool’s interface to search for and embed your video.

The YouTube video search using the YouTube Canvas integration
The YouTube Canvas integration lets you search for and embed media from within the Canvas Rich Content Editor.

Embed Codes

If your video source is not listed above, check to see if there is an embed code available on the website where the media is hosted (often this will be an option when you click to “share” a video). If you have the embed code, you can add the media to a Canvas page, discussion, etc. by going to Insert > Embed in the Rich Content Editor and pasting the embed code.

Hyperlinks

If all else fails, you can add a hyperlink to the media using the Links button in the Rich Content Editor and then “External Links.” Make sure to give the hyperlink a descriptive name, rather than just pasting the whole URL on the page. This is not only best practice for accessibility, but it also helps contextualize the links before a student clicks on them.

Enhancing Audio and Video Activities

Want to bring your audio and video content to the next level? Tools like PlayPosit can help by adding interactions for students to engage with while they watch. PlayPosit bulbs can include content from Kaltura, YouTube, and Vimeo, so you can mix and match content you’ve created yourself with other videos you’ve found online. Adding a few simple interactions to a video takes just a few minutes of setup. You can learn more about this powerful media tool in this overview guide and another guide on potential use cases.

Questions?

Using audio and video in a course can seem intimidating at first, but with the right tools and training, it can also be harnessed for effective teaching. As always, we also welcome you to request a CATL consultation if you’d like to learn more about developing learning materials or activities with audio and video. As you explore your media options, you may also find the resources below useful.

 

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