5 Creating and sharing content

Curating and creating content

Curate before creating

First, gather all the material you already have available to re-use if possible. Curating will save you time! There are many sources of content:

1. Seek alternatives to copyrighted materials, including public domain, open access, creative commons, links, and insubstantial use.

A main source of resources are Open Education Resources (OERs), which are “teaching, learning, and research resources in any medium—digital or otherwise—that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistribution by others with no low limited restrictions.” –UNESCO Some sources of OERs include:

2. Copyrighted materials (video, text) may be desired sources. For these items, you could

  • Send students directly to the source by sharing a link
  • Request or require that students purchase the material (e.g., course textbook)
  • Consult these Quick Copyright Tips for Digital Delivery, a guide adapted by TRU’s Intellectual Property Office to help you shift your teaching from in-person to online. As always, please contact the Copyright Office (copyright@tru.ca) with any questions you may have related to copyright concerns.

Writing text or preparing slides

For online courses, full sentences are preferable to bullet points. Bullets on slides can be explained in person but the meaning can often be unclear when seen out of context. That said, be a brief as possible an avoid being redundant–repeating key points is important face-to-face as students may have missed the message or not realized the importance. Online, you can emphasize the key messages and they can always return.

Creating videos

As needed, create new material. There are great explanations for creating instructional videos (e.g., Columbia, Edutopia, TechSmith). We also provide a series of examples in the Appendix. In short, videos should ideally:

  • Be short (2 – 15 minutes, like TED talks). Ideally, videos will be centred on a single topic or sub-topic. Long video recordings (i.e., > 20 min) are difficult for many reasons, as they make it hard to: keep students engaged for that amount of time, find information later, update or clarify content (if there’s a mistake in an 80 minute video, it’s a lot harder to fix than a mistake in a 3-minute video), or point students to specific sections of relevance.
  • Identify a key message (e.g., learning outcome, topic, or sub-topic in the course).
  • Have accompanying visuals that can be annotated (e.g., slides). Share these with students so that they can annotate, too (e.g., post the slides on Moodle, use an editable format, like Powerpoint). More on creating videos and cognitive load from Vanderbilt University.
  • Be engaging: use a conversational tone; making mistakes is okay!
  • Let students see you in video recordings to increase engagement and impact.


Here are some set-ups you can use. However, there are many options out there, so you can always look into others. The Appendix has a few specific example videos of how each choice would turn out.

  • Hardware – these are optional, aside from a computer to do the recording
    • Webcam: your laptop/desktop’s built-in camera or a separate webcam, such as Logitech’s 960 or C615
    • Tablet for digital handwriting: an iPad with pen or the Wacom pen tablet
    • Microphone: the SnowballBlue YetiMXL Tempo, or MXL conferencing; the built-in microphone on most computers is noticeably lower quality
    • Headset: the Logitech wireless and wired versions are excellent value; a head-set is helpful if you plan to do lots of editing or doing more advanced recording
  • Software
    • TRU recommends and offers technical support on: Powerpoint slides recorded using BigBlueButton and uploaded to Kaltura. Other options include:
    • YouTube Studio (simple editing), iMovie (Mac only), TinyTake (good for short videos), Camtasia (records screen, video, and audio; simple to advanced editing, but more expensive), or even Zoom (recording only). As usual, there are many other options if these don’t work for you.
    • Notability (captures annotations on blank pages or a slide – can be run on a tablet or desktop)
    • Powerpoint or Keynote, to make and share slides

To make the recording:

You may want to review the webinar by Instructional Designer Ken Monroe on Screencasting: Why’s and How’s.

If you are using a MacBook, the video “Screen Cap ur Mac” by TRU’s own Professor Tucker provides clear directions on a number of no-cost and low-cost ways to create screen capture videos.

You can find more information on Other Video Tools in the Moodle course “Support for Alternate Modes of Delivery,” including additional options for video editing.

  • Key principles on creating educational videos from Edutopia (LINK) and TechSmith (LINK)
  • Cognitive load theory guidelines, from Vanderbilt University. LINK
  • Technology involved, from Shopify. LINK

To share the recording with students – Using Kaltura within Moodle

Kaltura is integrated within Moodle now so you can create recordings and add media directly into a media gallery in Moodle and then share the media within one or more of your courses.  You can even use it to allow students to submit video assignments.  Be aware that after you save your recording it could take up to an hour to show up in My Media. For best results use Chrome when recording.


  • Media Upload (file already recorded and on your desktop)
  • Express Capture (quick video capture from your webcam)
  • Kaltura Capture (screen and webcam capture at same time)
  • Video Quiz (select pre recorded video, then add multiple choice questions directly on the video. Can force the students to respond before moving on in the video)

Kaltura is for asynchronous broadcasting of lectures or other content. It’s basically YouTube – you go in, record a video, and it gets published to your course. If you are just pushing out content to your students and don’t want the interactive portion, this is the way to go as the service is geared towards this approach, and has more resources for publishing videos in a timely fashion.

In the video “What is Kaltura,” Jon Fulton provides a helpful overview.

You will find additional videos on using Kaltura in the “Support for Alternate Modes of Delivery” Moodle course, including the following:


We recommend course content meet accessibility guidelines. For example, export Word and PPT documents to PDF in the format “Best for electronic printing and accessibility)”, tag images with descriptions or label as “decorative image”, and add captions to videos (Kaltura will caption videos roughly).

You will likely find this TRU Accessibility Quick Guide helpful, as well as these Basic-Online-Accessibility slides from a presentation given by Dr. Carol Sparkes and Ms. Carolyn Teare at TRU’s Teaching Practices Colloquium. To delve even deeper into this topic, you can explore BCcampus’ Accessibility Toolkit – 2nd Edition.

Inclusive Design

Related to accessibility, inclusive design “considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, age, and other forms of human difference” (OCAD University inclusive design research centre). You can learn more about this topic from these slides from a presentation given by Amanda Coolidge of BCcampus,

User Experience Design

The University of Waterloo’s Centre for Extended Learning’s User Experience Design for Learning website provides a valuable design framework that revolves around the student. Their UDXL Honeycomb provides practical advice on how to create valuable online learning experiences.

We recommend starting with the “useful” cell, which focuses on designing online content that works with how people learn.

Honeycomb diagram with a central cell labelled Valuable, and six surrounding cells labelled Uesful, Desirable, Accessible, Credible, Usable, and Findable.

Intellectual property

You may choose to follow a traditional copyright route for licensing the materials you create; however, there are other options that make the content more accessible while still retaining some rights.

Creative Commons (CC) licensing is a format that lets you decide how much flexibility to give for use of your work. For example, you may decide that your work may not be used for commercial use and that any adaptations of your work need to be shared forward in the same way. You may also decide to waive all your rights by using a CC0 or Copyleft license. An interactive tool to choose a license can be found here.

Description of Creative Commons licenses
Figure 4. Creative Commons Licenses. JoKalliauer, 2015. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Creative_Commons_Licenses.png. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

To go deeper

The following book delves deeply into every facet of teaching online: Major, C. H. Teaching Online: A Guide to Theory, Research, and Practice; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.

As another option, eCampusOntario’s “Ontario Extend is a professional learning program grounded in the belief that the impact of learning should be the primary motivator for creating technology-enabled and online learning experiences. It aims to empower educators to explore a range of emerging technologies and pedagogical practices for effective online and technology-enabled teaching and learning.”

Mayer’s Handbook of Multimedia Learning contains many principles for designing effective learning through multimedia.

The following article describes evidence-based best practices for creating videos, aligned with Mayer’s Handbook. See Table 2 in particular. Students’ satisfaction was higher with some video types than others, but learning outcomes did not differ; all videos were short (3 – 5 min). Choe, R. C.; Scuric, Z.; Eshkol, E.; Cruser, S.; Arndt, A.; Cox, R.; Toma, S. P.; Shapiro, C.; Levis-Fitzgerald, M.; Barnes, G.; et al. Student Satisfaction and Learning Outcomes in Asynchronous Online Lecture Videos. CBE—Life Sci. Educ. 2019, 18 (4), ar55.

Content can become interactive by adding questions to videos using H5P using H5P or other methods, so that students can self-assess as they watch.

Minimizing bandwidth

If you wish to optimize further, this article by Kyle Mackie has suggestions for reducing bandwidth requirements for course materials, including how to optimize video streaming and reduce file sizes.

Synchronous activities

The chapter on Communicating with students offers more explanations about how to facilitate synchronous sessions.

Up next

In the next chapter, we address options for assessments, including quizzes, assignments, and exams.