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.

 

Top 10 Technology Tips & Time-Savers

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In an effort to help instructors in their work, CATL brainstormed some of the best technology time-savers and tips we have to share with you. Here’s our “Top 10” list. We encourage you to save it for future reference and use.

  1. Have end-of-semester questions about Canvas, such as how to send grades to SIS or give a student extended access to a course for an Incomplete? Consult our End-of-Semester Canvas Survival Guide for answers to these and other frequently asked questions.
  2. Work smarter and not harder by copying over your Canvas materials the next time you teach a course. Besides doing a full course import, did you know that you can also quickly copy a single module or module item to another course or share one with another instructor? You can even reuse imported course announcements by using the delay posting option to schedule them to post at a future date and time.
  3. Speed up your grading and boost transparency by setting up rubrics in Canvas. Once you’ve added a rubric to an assignment or a graded discussion and checked the box to use it for grading, Canvas will calculate the point total automatically when you use it to grade. Plus, rubrics can also be directly tied to your course’s outcomes in Canvas.
  4. Encourage or re-engage specific groups of students using the analytics and inbox features. Check out the weekly student activity trend data available in New Analytics to see which students may need a little prodding or use the “message students who” feature in the Canvas gradebook to give reminders and/or praise for an assignment.
  5. Want to fine tune the pacing of your course? You can add requirements to a module to force students to work through its contents in order. Once you have requirements set up, prerequisites can also be added which require a student to meet the requirements of a previous module before accessing the next.
  6. Consider using Kaltura (My Media) for the most streamlined audio/video experience in Canvas. You can upload and store your audio and video files in Kaltura, which has much greater storage capacity than many other options, and then easily embed your media in Canvas or provide a share link.
  7. Even if you’ve used Kaltura Capture before, you may not be familiar with all the different options for recording, such as the ability to choose a source for each output and toggle your webcam, screen recording, and audio on/off. In Windows, you can even enable system audio to capture audio from videos playing on your computer.
  8. With PlayPosit, you can enhance course videos in minutes by adding interactions for learners to engage with, such as polls or free-response questions. If you create a graded bulb, students’ grades also sync with Canvas automatically.
  9. If you are using Zoom for synchronous online classes or office hours, remember that you can schedule meetings through the Canvas Zoom integration. If you record your meetings, you can also publish these recordings for students to access in Canvas through the Zoom integration.
  10. If you’re looking for ways to add more engagement to your synchronous online lectures, try preparing in-class quizzes or polls for your Zoom meetings. Polls and quizzes can be added to Zoom meetings through the Zoom web portal and then pushed out to students during the meeting. Want to try something similar in an in-person class? Consider exploring PlayPosit’s Broadcast feature.

Approaching the Spring 2022 Semester & Mitigating COVID Disruptions

We know you may have questions or concerns about the upcoming semester and the possibility that you will have to temporarily adapt the way you teach or share information with students based on your own or numerous student illnesses. While we hope that doesn’t happen, know the resources below are available if it does.

We also know you may be tempted to improvise in the moment (e.g., using a cell phone to record a live class and post it to Canvas), but these sorts of solutions may create their own problems. A lecture recorded with a cell phone, for example, may present issues for remote learners—are the audio and video quality good enough for learners to understand and absorb the lecture? Can they see what’s on the whiteboard and monitors at the front of the classroom? What about participating in-class group work or discussions? 

Some more sustainable, equitable options could be: 

  • creating a formal note-taking buddy system among students 
  • modifying assessments with online submissions or flexible submission dates 
  • moving group presentations to a virtual, recorded format, such as Zoom, VoiceThread or PlayPosit, that students can comment on in Canvas 
  • “flipping” a course by recording lectures so students can watch them on their own time and devoting in-person class time to review/group work/collaboration 
  • reworking elements of your course to be asynchronous 
  • offering alternative options to in-class participation, like online discussions, journaling, or reflection 

Remember, CATL is always here to help with generating strategies to assist quarantined learners and instructors. 

Who To Contact About What

Your Chair, Dean, and others mentioned in the Chancellor’s 1/14/22 campus email can help with:

  • Questions about policies related to temporary pivots in instruction modality, special accommodations in your teaching, and any other class decisions related to COVID-19
  • You may also reach out to the COVID Response Team (covidresponse@uwgb.edu) and/or Associate Provost Courtney Sherman with policy and COVID-related questions

The CATL Team (CATL@uwgb.edu – teaching; DLE@uwgb.edu – teaching technology) will assist with: 

  • Teaching and learning (e.g., course design, assignment options, equity-based instruction) 
  • Using technology in course instruction (e.g., holding office hours in Zoom, having students use Microsoft Teams for group work, using the Canvas Zoom integration, recording videos for asynchronous instruction using Kaltura tools) 
  • Strategies to keep quarantined learners engaged and/or how to modify assignments or assessments to accommodate 

The GBIT Service Desk (GBIT@uwgb.edu) is your resource for:  

  • All other technical software or hardware questions, as well as technological support in campus classrooms (e.g., login issues, Office 365 and Sharepoint, non-teaching Zoom & Teams use, classroom projectors) 

Specific Vendor Support Services (varies by service – see links below under the appropriate tool) 

  • We have direct vendor support for many technological teaching tools. Although CATL can and will help with best practices, most purely technical questions are best answered by the support line for that software.  
  • Canvas support is available to instructors 24/7 
  • Vendor support is also available for Zoom, PlayPosit, and VoiceThread (see below) 

Resources for Specific Tools

Click on one of the headings below to expand the accordion and see the related guides.

Canvas

Learning management system. Allows instructors to post learning materials (readings, videos), create assessments (assignments, discussions, quizzes), and grade assessments. Also allows students to interact with course materials, submit assessments, and view their grades. 

Kaltura

Video recording, hosting, and sharing platform. Integrates with Canvas. Sometimes referred to as “My Media” within Canvas. 

Zoom 

Web conferencing application with features like chat, polling, and breakout rooms. Integrates with Canvas.

Microsoft Teams

Web conferencing application and file sharing platform. Best for courses centered around group projects and collaboration. 

PlayPosit

Platform for building and viewing interactive video content; can be used to create formative assessments during video playback. Integrates with Canvas and uses videos uploaded to Kaltura (My Media), YouTube, and Vimeo. 

VoiceThread 

Platform for conducting asynchronous discussion around a presentation or other media. Discussion takes the form of text, audio, and video comments. 

End-of-Semester Canvas Survival Guide

We know instructors and students are both tired at this point in the semester. We at CATL want to provide as much help and support as we can as you work to finish up both teaching and grading. One thing we can offer is a list of resources about Canvas that may make the grading process a bit easier or even show you things that you didn’t know you could do. Click on one of the suggestions below to expand the accordion and see the related guides.

Quizzes and Assignments

Assigning Alternate Assignment Due Dates to Specific Students – Do you need to grant an extension on an assignment or quiz to a specific student or students? This guide shows you how to set up alternate student-specific due dates and availability dates.

Using Quiz Moderation (Classic Quizzes) - Are you giving a final exam in Canvas? This guide explains how to use the quiz moderation page to view student attempts, grant additional time to a specific student, and allow additional attempts for a specific student. 

Using Quiz Moderation (New Quizzes) - Have you already made the switch to using “New Quizzes” in Canvas? Use this guide to learn about the New Quizzes moderation page to view attempts and allow additional time or attempts to individual students. 

Regrading Quiz Questions (Classic Quizzes) - If you find an issue with a multiple choice, true/false, or multiple answer quiz question after students have taken a quiz, this guide explains how you can use the regrade option to change a question’s correct answer and automatically award points for the question to some or all students. 

Regrading Quiz Questions (New Quizzes) - If you’ve already made the switch to using “New Quizzes” in Canvas, this guide explains the regrade options in the new tool. 

Finalizing Grades 

Create Grade Columns for Non-Submission Assignments - Non-submission assignments are useful for providing grades for work outside of Canvas. Creating a non-submission assignment adds a column to the Canvas gradebook for you to enter these grades. 

Awarding Extra Credit in Canvas - Canvas has a few methods for handling extra credit. You might award “bonus” points by creating an assignment worth 0 points, or by adding extra points to a regular assignment or quiz in SpeedGrader, for example. 

Total Grade Calculation with Missing Assignments – This guide explains how Canvas calculates final grades and the importance of regularly entering zeroes for missing work in the Canvas gradebook.

Sending Final Grades to SIS - This guide explains how to use the time-saving grade sync feature that allows you to quickly send final grades from Canvas to SIS. 

Student Course Access 

Course Dates and Access FAQ and Information - Read this guide to learn about how term dates and course dates work in Canvas and how you can allow or restrict your students’ ability to view the Canvas course after its conclusion. 

Extend Student Access Tool - Do you have a student taking an “Incomplete in your course? This guide shows you how to use the “Extend Student Access” tool to give an individual student more time to access and finish work in the Canvas course. 

Other Canvas Tips

Using "Undelete" to Recover Deleted Items - If you accidentally deleted something in your course while cleaning it up and need to get it back, this guide explains how to access your course’s “undelete” page to restore deleted content. 

Where to Get Help 

You can get 24/7 support from Canvas by live chat, phone, or email by clicking the “Help” button in the Canvas global navigation menu bar on the left side of any page in Canvas. 

As always, CATL is also here to help you design your course, set up your assignments, and work through the process of grading. Fill out our consultation request form to schedule a meeting with a member of the CATL team.

Presentation: HTML and Advanced Formatting in Canvas (Aug. 20, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.)

Join CATL for a presentation and Q&A session Friday, August 20 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. We’ll be covering the advanced and sometimes “hidden” editing features in Canvas pages, syllabi, assignments, and other areas of Canvas where the Rich Content Editor can be found. We’ll cover layouts, tables, buttons, callouts, linking within and between pages, and doing more with images.

This is a great topic for those who wish to freshen up the overall look and feel of their Canvas site, incorporate new or improved banner images, want to make their content more accessible, are building liquid syllabi, or just want to see more of what Canvas can do!

Click Here to Join via MS Teams