Following on from last week’s post on Recording Online Teaching Materials, this week DigiKnow looks at how to record yourself and/or your screen using Mediasite (in Queen’s University), and how to add this to your online teaching materials.

Before you start recording materials for online delivery, ask yourself are you using the best tool for the job? Consider, can this content be used for several teaching cycles/years? Or is it just for this year’s group of students (as it can only be used this year)?

Demonstration videos can be re-used. In a medical context, this may be demonstrating clinical skills such as hand washing or taking blood pressure. In statistics, the demonstration of a software package and particular function, i.e., the use of R or Python. The demonstration won’t change.

If a recorded item might be re-used for several teaching cycles, remember to future proof it, i.e., remove references to dates. If referring to future dated items, avoid saying things like “next year, in 2021, we expect x, y and z…”. Drop the “next year” wording. Why?

When watched by students in 2021 or 2022, it stands out as a recycled recording and students may feel disengaged with this content which can have a knock-on effect as regards attendance and attainment.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with pre-recording everything, students do want to interact with you as a teacher in real-time and ask questions to develop their knowledge and understanding of the subject. This is an opportunity for students to gain information about assessment and feedback on learning, etc.

Unless you have a timetable conflict and have to pre-record a taught lesson, live teaching is better delivered in real-time using MS Teams, Zoom or Conferences. Do watch out for these blog posts over the next few weeks.

Live teaching can be recorded and used with that student cohort only. Students do find it beneficial to re-watch content to clarify understanding and later for revision purposes.

Now, let’s take a look Mediasite!

Please expand each of the items with a down arrow for more information.

What is Mediasite?

Briefly, Mediasite is a Canvas-integrated service managed by Information Services at QUB, which allows you to:

  • Record content on your computer with Mediasite Desktop Recorder
  • Manage your recordings online (sort, rename, add description / external links / interactive quizzes, limit or increase access, delete)
  • Edit if required (cut sections, fade in/out, move/replace slides, add/edit subtitles)
  • Share with students, colleagues or the world (like a QUB-based YouTube)
  • Embed into Canvas courses and web pages
  • View detailed analysis of how your recordings have been watched, for how long / how often, which sections are most skipped, and who has viewed them.

For more information and training on Mediasite at Queen’s, and to sign up for an account, take a look at the Mediasite team pages and the Frequently Asked Questions.

How do I record using Mediasite?

Firstly, you’ll need to download and install Mediasite Desktop Recorder (MDR). On campus, MDR is already available on centrally-managed computers, such as podium PCs in most teaching rooms. If you already have it, skip to step 2.

Step 1: Download, install and register Mediasite Desktop Recorder
Access My Mediasite

You can download Mediasite Desktop Recorder (MDR) from the My Mediasite portal. If using Canvas, the quickest way to access My Mediasite is from within Canvas, using the My Mediasite tab. It logs you in automatically, saving you from having to log in multiple times.

Screenshot of the Canvas VLE with left-hand tab "My Mediasite" highlighted.
My Mediasite tab in a Canvas course.

If you don't see the My Mediasite tab, click here to see how to enable it on your course.

  1. Select Settings, then the Navigation tab.
  2. Select My Mediasite, drag this to where you want it to appear in the Course Navigation and select Save.

This will now display a My Mediasite tab in the Course Navigation to all staff with access to the module, and will automatically link to the user’s Mediasite account (if they have one), allowing them to access and manage their Mediasite content.

If you require any help with this process, contact Canvas support via the Help link in the Canvas navigation bar.

My Mediasite can also be accessed by going to go.qub.ac.uk/mymediasite and logging in with staff credentials, or registered users will find a link to it in Queen’s Online.

Download and install

From My Mediasite, click “Add Media” at the top right.

Screenshot of the Mediasite portal, "Add Media" page, with the "Add Media" and download links highlighted.

MDR can be downloaded by clicking on the first link on this page and then selecting the Download for Windows (or Download for Mac) button.

Screenshot of the download page for Mediasite Desktop Recorder, with "Download for Windows" button highlighted.

Run the installer on your computer, and keep My Mediasite open in your browser for now.

Register

Once installed, MDR must be registered. This is to ensure that any recordings are associated with your Mediasite user account, and it should only need to be done once.

Screenshot from My Mediasite. "Confirm and Register: Use the button below after you have installed the Desktop Recorder to register it with your Mediasite Server."

To do this, back on the Download page in My Mediasite, click on the “Register” button. A browser prompt may ask you to if you want to open MDR; click yes.

Installation is now complete, and Mediasite Desktop Recorder should be registered with your account. You can confirm this by checking that your QUB staff number is shown at the top left corner of the MDR window.

Screenshot of Mediasite Desktop Recorder, with registered username highlighted: "[blurred number]@ads.qub.ac.uk"
If your staff number is shown at the top of MDR, it is successfully registered and ready to use.
Step 2: Recording setup

Open Mediasite Desktop Recorder (MDR) from the Start Menu (Windows) or from the dock (macOS). When MDR opens, check that your username is displayed at the top left. If not, you’ll need to register the software on My Mediasite (see Step 1)

Presentation name and recording mode

Go to the Record section, and type in a name for your recording. This can be changed later, but it’s a good idea to include something here, so that you don’t end up with multiple videos entitled “Unnamed Recording”.

Mediasite Desktop Recorder, Record section. Presentation name is filled in, and a selection of options is available for recording.

There are a number of recording modes available, such as presenter audio/video and of screencast/slideshow. These options are described on the Mediasite Frequently Asked Questions page (see “Slideshow, screencast, audio and video – what do they mean?”).

For now, we’ll assume that you wish to record video of yourself (from a webcam), and static PowerPoint slides (from your screen). Slideshow + Video will record snapshots of your screen every time it changes, as well as video of you presenting.

Click on the Next button. For future recordings after this one, you can use the Record button, to skip the following pages.

Set up camera and microphone

Next, check that your camera is positioned correctly, and that your microphone is picking you up.

Screenshot of Mediasite Desktop Recorder, camera and microphone selection screen.
Your computer may have multiple cameras or audio input devices available.

To choose the correct microphone input, try tapping on your microphone and, while watching the audio meter, select each audio input in turn until the meter responds.

Next, check your speaking level. Try reciting part of your presentation, and check that your voice is metering in the mid-green to yellow range. If it is too loud or too quiet, you can adjust the microphone level, using the Sound Control Panel button in the bottom right. When you’re happy, click Next.

Choose which screen/window/region to record

To complete the recording setup, you’ll need to choose which area of your screen to record. The quickest option is to choose Desktop, and then select your chosen computer screen from the dropdown list. This is best if, for example, you wish to record a full-screen slideshow.

Screenshot from Mediasite Desktop Recorder, displaying screen recording selections: Desktop, Window or Region, and buttons with a tick (confirm) and cross (cancel) at the bottom right.
Desktop option is especially useful if you have more than one screen on your computer. You can also choose to record a specific window, or select a custom region.
Review your setup

Finally, you can review your selections.

Screenshot of Mediasite Desktop Recorder, displaying a summary of the selected recording settings. "Save as default" and "Show recording control panel" options are highlighted.

Saving as default will allow you to skip the setup next time. Toggling the control panel will hide recording controls during recording; this is best if you have only one screen at your computer, to avoid the control panel being recorded at the same time as your presentation.

Step 3: Record

Press Record. You’ll see a five-second countdown before recording begins. Don’t worry if you’re still not quite ready when recording starts! You can edit this out afterwards.

The control panel / preview can be helpful, if you have enough space to display it outside of your record area. It allows you to monitor your video and audio level. If it displays a warning message, you will need to either move it outside your recording area, or minimise the panel, to stop it being recorded.

To pause the recording at any time:

Screenshot of Windows system tray, with a red and white "pause" icon highlighted.
Pause icon in Windows system tray.
  • Click on the Pause button on the control panel (if displayed)
  • Press Ctrl-F8 (on some keyboards you may need to press Fn-Ctrl-F8)
  • On Windows, click on the pause (❚❚) icon in the system tray, bottom right of your screen.

When paused, you can choose to discard, resume, or finish the recording.

Screenshot of Mediasite Desktop Recorder pause screen, showing options to discard, resume, or finish recording, as well as a toggle to turn on the control panel and a display of the current length of recording.

When finished, the video will upload to your drafts folder on My Mediasite. Upload time will vary depending on your chosen recording settings, the length of your recording, and your internet connection speed.

Step 4: Review on My Mediasite

When a recording finishes, you will be presented with the Manage section, which lists all of the recordings stored on this computer. Your video should upload automatically to the Mediasite server, and once complete, a “world” icon will appear beside it. This will take you straight to the recording on the My Mediasite portal.

Screenshot of Mediasite Desktop Recorder "Manage" page, showing an existing recording, with a button highlighted.

You can also access this via the My Mediasite tab in Canvas, or by browsing directly to My Mediasite (go.qub.ac.uk/mymediasite), and viewing your drafts folder. The rest of the work you do with your video will be in My Mediasite.

Screenshot from My Mediasite, showing options available for video files: Watch in New Window; Edit Details; View Analytics; Publish; Move To; Who Can View; Share; Edit Video; Edit Slides; Edit Captions; Edit Quizzes; Edit Polls; Moderate

On the right hand side of the page, you will see all of the options available. Who Can View shows that, currently, only you are able to see the video, so you can review and edit to your heart’s content.

Click on Watch in New Window to see what the video will look like to your audience.

To edit the title, description, date/time, list of presenters, or to add links to further reading and more, click on Edit Details.

Further down the list, you’ll find the Edit Video option. This is an online video editor, where you can trim the start and end of your video, cut out any mistakes, and additionally (if the presentation was recorded as a ‘slideshow‘) reposition or replace slides. For a detailed guide to editing videos, it’s worth looking at the training videos on the Mediasite team’s website.

The Edit Slides option allows you to choose a different slide as the video’s thumbnail image.

Edit Captions will open up an online subtitle editor.

Edit Quizzes and Edit Polls provide additional teaching tools that can be embedded into the video to increase interactivity with viewers.

Step 5A: Share your video in Canvas
Give permission for students to watch
Screenshot from My Mediasite, "Who Can View" section. A sliding bar, which is set to "My Organization".

Firstly, ensure that students and fellow staff will be able to view the video, by setting the Who Can View slider to My Organisation. This just unlocks your video; it won’t yet be visible to anyone unless you provide a link to watch it. Avoid setting this to Everyone, unless it is a video you wish to make public, such as on your School’s website.

NB: To collaborate with other staff members on the same content, it’s worth setting up Shared Folders for your modules. More information on this in the Mediasite FAQ.

Embed the video into a Canvas course

The easiest way to embed the video into a Canvas course is within Canvas itself. Open the Rich Text Editor in the section where you wish to include the video.

Screenshot from Canvas, showing the Mediasite icon available in the Rich Content Editor.
Screenshot of a popup window from Canvas, displaying options to insert content from Mediasite. The highlighted option is "Add Existing Media: Presentation".

Selecting the Mediasite icon (four orange dots) from the toolbar will open a popup window to access your Mediasite content. Select Presentation, and you will see a list of your most recent videos. You can browse to your video, or search for it using the search box.

Screenshot of a popup window from Canvas, listing content from Mediasite. "Add to course" is selected and the option "Player Only" is highlighted.
All of your Mediasite content is available, with most recent first.

To add a simple link to the presentation, select Presentation Link. However for best engagement, embed the video into your Canvas course using the Player Only option. Remember to publish your course.

Tip: After you’ve published your Canvas course, go to Analytics on My Mediasite to see how many students have been watching the video, how often, and useful tools such as a heat map, showing which sections of the video are most/least watched.

Screenshot of a section of My Mediasite: Analytics page. Includes a table listing On Demand Views, Date of First/Last View, Total Time Watched, Average Time Watched and a heat map of the most/least watched sections of the video.
Step 5B: Share your video outside Canvas
Give permission for students/staff/the wider world to watch
Screenshot from My Mediasite, "Who Can View" section. A sliding bar, which is set to "My Organization".

On the video’s My Mediasite page, ensure that students and fellow staff will be able to view the video, by setting the Who Can View slider to My Organisation. This just unlocks your video; it won’t yet be visible to anyone unless you provide a link to watch it. Avoid setting this to Everyone, unless it is a video you wish to make public, such as on your School’s website.

NB: To collaborate with other staff members on the same content, it’s worth setting up Shared Folders for your modules. More information on this in the Mediasite FAQ.

Get a link to your video

Now click on the Share Presentation button.

Screenshot of the Share screen in My Mediasite, with the "Quick link copy" button and "Embed" tab highlighted.

The two most useful items here are:

  • Quick Link – hit copy to copy a link to your video. You can then paste this link anywhere you like;
  • The Embed tab on the right – here you can copy an embed code to paste into a web page, etc.
Further reading/watching:
Next week

Next week, we continue with delivering teaching online by demonstrating Microsoft Teams for live teaching.

Do join us then, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


Tony Furnell

E-Learning Officer in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's University Belfast. Passionate about digital literacy, making life easier for users of technology by designing better systems, and incorporating equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) (including accessibility) into teaching and daily work.

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