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Online Content Design

Creating Original Online Content

Creating videos, narrated slides, and other multimedia projects can be great ways to provide students with engaging, informative content that can be used in face-to-face, online, and blended courses. SCU offers a variety of tools and resources you can use to create your own content.

Creating Videos:  Zoom is a video creation tool you can use for micro-lectures, welcome videos, assignment descriptions, and screen share videos. Check out this guide for recording with Zoom. Don’t worry about producing a perfectly polished video, but do keep in mind your learning objectives as you decide what you want to say during the video. You may want to begin the video with a quick overview of its goals and content and end the video with a summary and perhaps a question for reflection. For more tips on creating engaging minilecture videos, see this guide.

Creating Narrated Slides: VoiceThread, PowerPoint, and Google Slides are three tools you can use to create narrated slides for your students to watch. You likely already have the slide content, so adding your voice and narration to the content can replicate in-class lectures in an online course. Check out this guide for recording with VoiceThread. 

Finding Pre-Existing Content for Your Courses

Leveraging educational media that already exists can be a great way to supplement the original content you create for your face-to-face or online courses. Not sure where to start looking for content? Here are a few ideas:

Open Educational Resources:  Open Educational Resources (OER) are resources that are freely available and can be customized, combined, and distributed in a variety of ways. The SCU Library has a guide on OER which highlights various databases for finding resources. This guide from Humboldt State also offers discipline-specific OER resources (hover over the disciplinary clusters in the sidebar navigation to find resources for your content area). 

Here are some other OER resources to check out:

YouTube:  Yes, YouTube may be your favorite source for cat videos, but it also houses some really solid educational content. Check out this list of YouTube channels which are known for producing engaging and informative videos related to a variety of content areas.

Podcasts:  Podcasts can be a refreshing alternative to video, and since podcasts are frequently consumed in spurts and while doing other tasks, students may be more inclined to listen to a 60-minute podcast than to watch a 60-minute video. You can search podcasts by topic within Apple Podcasts and Spotify (two of the most popular podcast apps). A few podcasts which feature content relevant to a variety of content areas are Hidden Brain, 99% Invisible, Radiolab, Freakonomics, and Stuff You Should Know.

Students:  Many students are quite skilled at finding multimedia online. You could assign students topics and ask them to find relevant videos, podcasts, infographics, images, articles, etc. After screening what students find, you could integrate these materials into your course and credit the students who found them. This would be a great way to engage students and give them a sense of ownership of the course.

Additional Resources

Conaway, T., & Schiefelbein, J. (2020). The human touch and your digital personality. Online Learning Consortium. 

Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. In Proceedings of the first ACM conference on Learning@ scale conference (pp. 41-50). DOI:


Page authors:
Brian Larkin, SCU Instructional Technology Manager
Dr. Rachel Stumpf, former SCU Faculty Development Program Manager

Last updated:
August 6, 2020