It’s been a busy summer for blogging but we’re back to weekly blogs.

Over the month of July, we did a Canvas blog-a-thon (blogging Monday to Friday) for the whole month. It’s our intention to slow it down a bit over August and share some best practices when using the digital spaces we have available at Queen’s.

This week, we would like to look at improving practices when uploading / sharing recordings held in MS Stream.

Let’s get started!

What is MS Stream?

MS Stream is a Microsoft video hosting service. This holds recordings that can be shared with staff and students within Queen’s University.

What about accessibility?

If you are narrating slides, please ensure you have used good fonts and text sizes, appropriate colours / contrast and not too much text on screen. Your PowerPoint narrations can be saved and then rendered to MP4 from the PPTX format. Think about slide design and PowerPoint Accessibility before making the MP4 file and this will help improve accessibility. It’s the MP4 which gets uploaded to MS Stream.

Subtitles are automatically generated within MS Stream. These are around 80%+ accurate but you need to go through and check for misspellings, mispronunciations and other errors. You can make the subtitles more accurate by considering your rate and pace of speech, your accent and the terminology you use whilst speaking. Slow it down a bit.

Students can search the subtitles in MS Stream which can help them with their studies and it might be an idea to provide a ‘glossary of terms’ where terminology is new to students. This then becomes searchable.

MS Stream - transcript and search transcript feature
MS Stream – transcript and search transcript feature
Can I add chapters to recordings?

Of course you can. You may have a video which is 15 minutes long and it covers several topics. In the description area, you can type in the minutes and seconds, then add a title. You can see an example of this below where I’ve included navigation for the Introduction, Learning Outcomes, etc.

When the time is clicked on by viewers, the video jumps to that timecode on the recording.

This makes video more navigable, user friendly and it saves time finding content. By adding in the chapters to your recordings, you are helping students in their studies. You are helping students navigate resources as well and that’s a benefit to everyone.

MS Stream - adding chapters to videos
MS Stream – adding chapters to videos
How can I make my recording more searchable to students?

You can use lecture titles in the Title box. Add in a description of what the recording is about and also add in the module code(s) the recording is for.

It may be your recording has terminology which is new to learners. Add those in as well. It all helps searchability.

Are subtitles downloadable?

Yes. Advise students to have a look around the MS Stream video page for a Download option.

What about permissions, how do I add those?

Permissions can be added for individuals. It’s prudent to add in support staff and module coordinators as Owners to recordings.

Students get added to permissions via Module Groups, i.e., module-XXX-0000. And if you are using MS Team spaces which were created to correspond with Canvas modules, when you record a live-teaching session within MS Teams, these permissions are automatically set AND the recording in Teams should automatically go to MS Stream.

If that’s not the case, please contact the IT Helpdesk who will be happy to help automate this process for you.

Below, you will see a screen grab of MS Stream to highlight were the Title and Description go, the Permissions section and other Options:

MS Stream - Details / Permissions and Options areas. Remember to APPLY
MS Stream – Details / Permissions and Options areas. Remember to APPLY

When uploading content, remember to click the Publish button to release it to viewers.

Can I create a group?

You can and better yet, it’s already set up for you. Just coming back to the MS Team spaces that were created by Information Services last year, that’s the group! Students are added to the Team / Canvas spaces when they enroll on their programme of study.

It’s a good idea to explore groups in MS Stream and add in other colleagues as Owners to the group. This allows for a group of recordings to be accessed by staff on the module and other permissions added in if need be. It also safeguards content should a staff member leave.

Uploading to MS Stream

If you have pre-recorded material in video (MP4) format, you can upload this to Stream by clicking Create and Upload Video:

MS Stream - upload video
MS Stream – upload video

Whilst the video is uploading, give the video a Title, add in a Description, include a module code and add in chapters to help with the video navigation. It might also be nice to include new terminology and this also makes the video content searchable on MS Stream.

How can students view my recordings?

Videos can be shared via links on email OR video can be embedded into Canvas. Just a side note. If you’re embedding videos in Canvas, please also include a direct link to the video on MS Stream as not everyone can view the embed. Not all students will be using a laptop/desktop machines, some may be using the Canvas App which may not show an embed but it will show the link to the video.

Can students download recordings?

No. Only Owners can download / amend / replace / delete videos. Students viewing via module code permissions have display rights and this means they need to be online to view the content.

What else can I do with my recording?

You can add in quiz questions to the video. This means the video will stop on the timecode the question has been added to and this can be used for students to check their knowledge on what they have watched. It also provides you, the academic, with feedback on how many students have watched the video, answered the question and the result as well.

MS Stream - adding in Interactivity (MS Forms)
MS Stream – adding in Interactivity (MS Forms)

To add in quiz questions, create the quiz in MS Forms and in the Interactivity section, paste in the MS Form URL and the time you want the questions to appear. Single questions can be added through using multiple forms, it’s up to you. Just be mindful if it’s your intention to have questions at the end of the video, not all students will sit through to the closing screen of a recording.

Saying that, just tell students there are questions and communicate that in the Description box too!


To improve your practices in MS Stream, don’t just upload a recording and expect it to be found. Please make sure the Title is correct. Add in module codes / terminology / descriptions and timecodes which creates Chapters!

Also remember to check permissions are right. Find the group on Stream and make other staff and contributors Owners to the group.

We hope you find these practices useful and it helps towards improving the student experience.

Next time

In our next blog post, we will be looking at best practices when using MS Teams and how to increase engagement in the Team space.

Remember, the DigiKnow blog posts are released at noon on a Monday.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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