Create Short “Just Right” Videos for Your Course

When teaching online, it is essential to establish a teaching presence. This has been correlated with increased affect and motivation, a sense of classroom community, and successful student learning (Faculty, 2012). A welcome video, course tour, and short videos sprinkled throughout the course are key building blocks of teaching presence. You can use short videos to introduce yourself, preview your course, explain an assignment, put student concerns at ease, and more. Panopto is an easy tool to create these short student-instructor connection videos.

How to Get Started

How to Create a Video Introduction

Step 1: Plan your purpose for the video. Are you creating a short video explaining a repeated mistake or an area in which students struggle? Do you want to focus primarily on introducing yourself in a video that can be reused across courses? Do you want to include a course overview or maybe even have two separate videos so that one is more reusable?

Step 2: Draft a script or outline of what you want to stay. Aim for 1.5 to 2 minutes for an introduction video –if you are writing out a script, it should be about 250 words or a one-page, double-spaced document using 12-point font. Try to stay conversational and personally professional with students –do not craft an overly formal script. (Script template) If you are aiming for a video with more content, still make it short! 3-6 minutes is ideal. If you can’t condense, consider chunking the video into multiple videos.

Welcome Video: Do Include –> Welcome Video: Do Not Include –>
• “Welcome to…course name/number…” or an attention-getting hook
• A personal introduction –include something short but interesting & personal
• Course overview (suggestion: 3 bullet points)
• Possibly an invitation of what to do next (if reuse is not important)
• Warm closing

• “Hi, I’m John Smith,….”
• A lot of dates or specifics
• University rules/guidelines
• Specific course policies
• Plagiarism or netiquette guidelines
• A slideshow…let them see you instead of slides!

Step 3: Set up your space and technology. Find a good spot that is quiet and has good lighting. You can use any webcam or the camera built into a laptop. When recording, you will not be screen sharing; the camera will focus on you. So, open the document with your outline or script and position it just below the camera.  

Step 4: Practice so that you feel comfortable and have a flow to your video. If you are creating a welcome video/course introduction then you may need a little more practice to stay at 2 minutes. You will not need to memorize the content but do become very familiar with it. You may elaborate from the text while recording if it seems the natural thing to do at the time. Be sure to practice out loud with a timer, and don’t rush.

Step 5: Record your video! There are many different software options you can use. Two no-cost options at NC State are Zoom and Panopto.

Do not take time to do extensive editing; remember this should be a “real” sounding video, and real people sometimes make mistakes or say “um….” If you do want to edit out a little of the beginning or end, follow these Panopto or Zoom instructions for editing. You will have more control if you use Panopto. You can also download videos from either Panopto or Zoom and edit them using other editing software like iMovie (installed on Mac computers) or Davinci (free download).

Step 6: Post your video to Moodle. You can also send a link to the video as part of a course welcome letter/email that goes out to students before the semester begins.

You could also use a smartphone to record a video and then upload it to Panopto or YouTube to share with students. This page has tips for using a smartphone to shoot video. If you use YouTube, you can use your NC State account to use the YouTube Studio needed to upload videos.

Best Practices

  • Welcome Video: Keep in mind that if you want your welcome video to be reusable, you should avoid mentioning the current semester, due dates, or other time-sensitive information. You might consider every course you teach (or might teach in the future) as you draft your script or outline so the video will be appropriate for all courses.
  • Use a conversational tone; you want to sound natural, not like you are giving a speech. You might want to pretend that you are welcoming everyone in a face-to-face class and record what you are saying. Keep in mind that when we talk, we typically use shorter sentences than when we write.
  • Filming/Recording Tips
    • Wear light-colored clothing.  Avoid solid white, bright red, and anything with a small, fine pattern or a tight pattern, such as plaids or stripes. Also, avoid large, shiny jewelry.
    • Don’t look at yourself while filming –move windows or, if possible, turn off the self-view so that you are not distracted by how you look.
    • Check the room for background clutter.
    • Consider adding extra light in front of you (never behind you) or recording outside.
    • Stand or sit slightly off-center
    • Be close enough to the camera to capture facial expressions
    • Your webcam/built-in camera should absolutely be sufficient for a welcome video. However, if you want to experiment with more sophisticated equipment, check out equipment from the libraries or consider using a studio at D.H. Hill or Hunt Library.
  • Research shows that welcoming students through video has a significant impact on course evaluations and discussion postings, so be sure it is the first item students see when logging into the course on Moodle (Dulaney & States, 2014).


Course Welcome/Introduction Script Examples

Script/Hook Example for a Golf Course: Have you ever wondered how that golf course you’re playing on fits into the environment around you? What about that athletic field you love to play on behind your housing development? Do you ever wonder if they made the grass look so good with chemicals, which might be spilling over into your backyard?

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Examples

Turfgrass management is about a lot more than just growing grass.  In the first two turfgrass classes, the focus was on growth and development, species characteristics, soils, cultural practices, and specialty topics such as aerification, thatch control and management of different types of turf areas. This course is unique within the turfgrass science curriculum. It is the only course in the program which really doesn’t discuss much about turf management, but focuses on how we as turf managers should be integrating all of the information about turf and the environment available to us.This will enable us to better conserve resources and better protect the environment with our management programs.Turfgrass installations are not set apart from the natural surroundings. These are human-managed systems that must fit into and become part of the natural surroundings, and the management practices. Hi – I’m _________ _________ and welcome to the course. My background is a little different than most other professors in our program. I have an undergraduate degree in general biology and a master of science in zoology. But I became interested in turfgrass management partly out of my interest in golf as a sporting hobby and partly because I was intrigued by the complexity of the management systems. Adding the environmental interest came about over time with my background in environmental science from my zoology degree. I believe you will enjoy the learning experience this course brings to our turfgrass science curriculum and I look forward to working with you. (Running Time: ~1:35/250 words)

Everyone has asked at some time, “Where do babies come from?”  I assume you know the general answer, but do you know some of the specifics? How do twins or other multiple births occur? What is the difference between identical and fraternal twins? These and other questions such as what is responsible for biological differences between males and females, and why do some animals only reproduce at certain times of the year, will be discussed. You will also learn about assisted reproduction techniques used in livestock production and in human medicine, such as artificial insemination, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, and even cloning. How milk is produced and what affects mammary gland development are covered in the lactation part of the course. My name is ______ _______ and I have taught face to face for years, and will now be offering these courses through distance education. I have worked with all the livestock species and do research on the regulation and effects of hormones in animals. We will discuss the important reproductive hormones and their effects and take you from formation of sperm and eggs to the birth of the baby. Reproductive management of livestock will be discussed and in the lab you will get to see many of the techniques used for reproductive management, including insemination and birthing of some species. If you want to know more about reproduction (and who doesn’t) then this course is the one for you. (Running time: ~1:25/241 Words)

Poole College of Management Example

When students ask me what this course is about, I tell them that it will be an extended, detailed response to three types of jokes people tell about economists. Here’s an example of a Type 1 joke:

President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin of Russia were holding a summit meeting. On the last day President Bush said to Putin, “Mr. President, I can’t help but notice you look a little worried, a little upset. Care to talk about it?” After a long pause, Putin replied, “Why yes, President Bush, I am worried and upset. As you know, I have 20 top advisors. My security people have recently informed me that one of them plans to overthrow my government and kill me. But they don’t know which one!” President Bush laughed and laughed. And then he laughed some more. Putin sputtered, “You find this funny?” Bush replied, “Oh, it’s just that I have a bigger problem here In the U.S. Much bigger—a Texas-sized problem.” Putin asked, “Care to tell me?” Bush replied: “Well, I have 10 senior economic advisors. Only one of them actually knows anything. But we don’t know which one!”

This type and the other two types of economist jokes I’ll tell you about are entertaining—even economists laugh–but as I’ll try to demonstrate in this class, the messages they convey are all wrong. I look forward to seeing you and working with each of you in my course. (Running time: ~1:30/242 words)

College of Humanities and Social Sciences Example

Imagine that you are a young lady in 19th century England. A young man wishes to court you, and he puts his intentions in writing to make it official. He also escorts you to balls and takes you on long walks in the garden. Does this sound like something you would like to see more of in the dating world of the 21st century? Or perhaps you have chosen someone who is as chivalrous as this young man. Over the semester, we will discuss the cultural and social contexts of different literary genres, including this one. Hello and welcome–my name is_________ _________ and I will be your professor for the course, which covers major periods from the Middle Ages through Modernism. My particular research and teaching interest is Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature, though I have published and taught widely in all the periods we’ll be studying together. Because this is a survey course, we will read a selection of works by writers that are representative of major periods. During the semester, you will read a variety of different kinds of primary texts in several genres, including epic, mock-epic, lyric poetry, drama, and short and long fiction, including a novel. The website is richly illustrated with color images, videos, recordings, maps. and links to other sources of information on each topic to help us think about the periods from multiple interpretative angles. I look forward to meeting and working with each of you in this course on major British writers. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions concerning the course or the course website. (Running time: ~1:40/269 Words)

College of Education Example


The following videos are examples of “Faculty Portraits” which are more extensive than course welcomes and were created in a studio with professional video editors: