There are many reasons to incorporate instructor — and student — created content into course materials in higher education. You may wish to create content that fills a gap in the current course texts or materials, to share related research or other work related to the subject matter, to provide supplemental material to explain complex processes or to reinforce concepts that students struggle with, or to engage different types of learners through a variety of content types. Additionally, students have access to software to create video or audio recordings as part of their coursework.

If you would like to work with the video studio or with an instructional designer to create your own content, you may request assistance from the Center for Instructional Technology and Training.


Course content can be authored in a variety of formats and modalities; the summaries below provide suggestions on how to use each content type to encourage student learning.

Text Content

Text is probably the most comfortable method of creating content for many faculty, and it is an appropriate format for many types of course material. It’s important to think about how best to present material you’ll be creating for students, and when it will be useful to pair text with images or other elements. When authoring content for textbooks, case studies, blogs and websites, content can be made available to students enrolled in a single course, people affiliated with the university, or to everyone. Materials may also be made available as free open educational resources (OER) or for a cost. Consider these options when selecting an authoring tool and method of hosting material (LMS, webpage, or storefront/bookstore).

Video and Audio

Creating video and audio content takes time to plan and additional equipment, but it is an effective way to explain complex processes or concepts. Video can be used to create recorded lectures that can replace or supplement live classroom teaching, and allow students to review material they find challenging. Interviews with experts who are unable to visit campus can be captured through podcast (audio) or video (web or studio recording). Screencasts are useful anytime it is necessary to show a process (e.g., how to run a simulation) or to introduce students to new software (e.g., installing or accessing MATLAB remotely) because the recording can capture your actions and audio during the process. Virtual tour videos can show students a building or remote location that the class is not otherwise able to visit, and can be used as introductory course content (e.g., lab tour) or in conjunction with an assessment (e.g., reflection paper on tour/location).


Including animation in a presentation can be a powerful way to communicate ideas and underscore the importance of content. Adding simple animations to a slide presentation can help students associate key ideas with movement on the screen. More complex animations can be created to explain complex processes (e.g., animations of surgical procedures, or movement of planets). Animations can also be used to create a narrative and add emotion to a presentation to engage the audience. When investing the time to create a complex animation, check for direct alignment between the concept you’ll be demonstrating and the course goals and student learning objectives for the course to ensure that the animation will contribute to students’ learning.

View this short video to learn more about using animation in your teaching.

Students as Content Creators

Students create content constantly as they work through their degree programs and have access to the same or similar tools for content creation that instructors do. Encourage them to create a variety of content types through the assessments you include in your courses.

Best Practices

Follow these best practices when authoring any kind of content for a course

  • Consult a subject matter librarian to see if appropriate content exists before committing to creating it yourself.
  • Plan to create a manageable number of items per semester, and take advantage of instructional design and video services support when possible. When possible, avoid developing course content while the course is running.
  • Reflect on the alignment between the content you plan to create and the stated course goals, student learning objectives (SLOs), and assessments for the course. Does the content build students’ knowledge and prepare them to perform the skills they will demonstrate through assessments during the semester?
  • Create content in a variety of formats to encourage engagement from students who prefer a variety of modalities.

Follow the tips below when planning to create recordings:

Available Tools

Publishing Tools

  • Pressbooks accounts are available through the CITT or FDTE. Rich content (including text, images, and video) can be created by multiple authors, shared for free, or published and made ready for purchase. Students may also be given author access. Go to request assistance for assistance or to ask questions.

Recordings and Animation

There are multiple tools available to students and instructors at UF:

  • Academic Media Productions – For professional video recordings including greenscreen, Mediasite, screencasts, location shoots, limited post-production animation, and more. Services are free for courses offered for credit at UF. Contact us for assistance or to ask questions.
  • VoiceThread – For class assignments in Canvas.
  • MyMediasite – For creating video, audio, and screencast recordings in the office or at home. Go to Video and Collaboration Services and complete a service request to get an account.
  • PowerPoint (via Office 365) – Create slides and simple animations for use in live presentations and recordings.
  • Zoom: For hosting, joining, and/or recording synchronous meetings in the office or at home. Additional features include screen sharing, annotation, and green screen; find out more by visiting Zoom Guides

References and Additional Resources


[1] Guo, P.G., Kim, J. & Rubin, R. (2014). ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, How Video Production Affects Student Engagement: An Empirical Study of MOOC Videos.

[2] Pan, G., Sen, S., Starrett, D.A., Bonk, C.J., Rodgers, M.L., Tikoo, M., & Powell, D.V. (2012). MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Instructor-Made Videos as a Learner Scaffolding Tool.

Further Exploration

Hibbert, M. (2014). Educause Review. Case Studies. What Makes an Online Instructional Video Compelling?

Ruffini, M. (2009). Creating Animations in PowerPoint to Support Student Learning and Engagement, Educause Review

Comiskey, D. Using Animation to Enhance the Learning Experience, Higher Education Academy

Available Instructional Development

CITT Instructional Design Fundamentals