3.08 Multimedia


Key Concept: Adopt the 'quick and dirty' approach for limited-use multimedia. Use a polished approach for resources with longevity.

Multimedia, such as audio or video, provides an alternative way of conveying information and evoking responses from students. Video resources in particular are readily available online and can be easily created by both teaching staff and students. Whether you are using a webcam built into your laptop, your smartphone camera or specialist screen-recording software such as Camtasia or Replay Panopto ‘At-Desk’ Capture, this format of resource is now quick to create and becoming part of standard practice.

Learning benefits

Video is particularly strong when you are trying to convey processes, abstracted ideas or emotive concepts. Video is the combination of sound with visual stimuli, in the same way that the lecture environment can support the controlled explanation and exploration through a bigger picture. Short videos can also be used to provide summaries of group activities or feedback. The video itself may be a ‘talking head’ of the lecturer, or it could be a webcam pointing at a whiteboard or paper to work through problems. USB visualisers can also be purchased for this purpose.

Screencasting, which is the recording of what appears on a computer screen, is one of our supported technologies and enables existing skills in the development of presentations through PowerPoint or Prezi to be used to create supplementary learning resources. Screencasting can also be used to show software demonstrations and problem solving, for example with specialist software packages core to the curriculum.

Audio is also quick to produce and offers the possibilities for informal feedback, for example on presentations or group work, and bringing outside expertise into the module. Audio recording an interview with a subject or practice expert can provide an alternative perspective for students. These are quick to create with mobile phones, but good recording equipment does not cost too much and can be a worthwhile investment.


Multimedia offers significant accessibility advantages, particularly to students with dyslexia who may favour visual or aural content over text-based resources. Multimedia resources can be repeatedly played, have the speed of playback adjusted or as a bare minimum simply paused to allow time for students to process and write notes.

However, multimedia can be a barrier to students with hearing or visual impairments and as such there are accessibility adjustments to make. All resources should have an accessible equivalent, which will vary depending on the significance of that resource to student learning. The default would be provision of a transcript, and if possible this should be implemented. Some types of resources may not need transcripts if existing resources that were used in the creation of the multimedia could be drawn upon. For example, using the flipped classroom approach where the video is delivering the core content of the module, all aspects must be accessible to disabled students. This is a legal obligation. For flipped classroom online lectures will need full lecture notes (not just slides) provided to students. For oral or video feedback, then a text-summary (for example your own prompt notes) would be sufficient as long as the same key points are expressed. Subtitles can be created or imported to videos uploaded to the Replay Panopto system.

Creating multimedia resources

In this section we provide guidance on how to create a range of multimedia resources:

  • Videos – using YouTube, creating videos using your mobile phone or camera, or uploading video files you have permission from the copyright holder to use.
  • Screencasting – recording your computer screen for narrated presentations, software demonstrations and video feedback.
  • Animations – using PowerPoint or online tools to create animated sequences.
  • Podcasts – how to create good quality audio recordings and audio feedback.
  • Exploratory resources – ways to present other resources or content in less structured ways or using visual metaphors.

Adding multimedia to the VLE

Once you have created your multimedia content there are three main ways to provide it to students: Uploading Files, Replay or YouTube. MP4 video files and MP3 audio can be uploaded as file attachments to Content Items in Yorkshare, or as part of an in-line player contextualised within a learning activity. The Replay platform can also be used to provide videos and audio either as embedded players or links to media. Replay offers the best control for restricting access by username or module cohort. YouTube videos can be embedded into Content Items, or linked to like other online resources.

Uploading video files

Good for Smaller audio/video files uploaded via browser or stored on Google Drive. 

Students are able to download videos to watch offline.

Learning benefits Downloadable – for use where internet may not be available, working on field projects. 

Privacy – videos are not stored on the open web when uploaded to Yorkshare. Google Drive has a range of access controls also.

Main limitations Students need a media player on their computer or device. 

Should not be used for large multimedia files as will impact limited personal storage space.

Replay ‘At-Desk’ Capture

Good for Record up to four webcams, up to two screens, or audio only. 

Videos upload seamlessly into the VLE and can handle large file sizes. Request a Folder for uploading.

Downloadable version with reduced file size for distance students, can be turned off.

Uploading from your mobile device via the Panopto App.

Learning benefits Flipping the classroom – can provide core content and materials for students to watch online in advance to free up time in class for more in-depth discussion. 

Feedback – making audio/video resource available to individual students securely.

Main limitations Basic online editor for removing parts of a recording, cannot overdub. 

Only records full-screen so may not be suitable for detailed on-screen demonstrations where you need to zoom in.


Good for Device and operating system compatibility, can embed directly into the VLE via YouTube ‘mashup’ tool or via web link. 

Uses Google accounts to log in – every university member has access to a Google account.

Learning benefits Draw upon wide range of pre-existing resources (lectures from other institutions, TED Talks, software demos). 

Automated captions (depending on audio quality and accent) for disabled students.

Could be used for student-created content to share with the wider community.

Main limitations Privacy: videos can be ‘unlisted’ but would still be accessible to anyone that had the link. You can use ‘private’ adding individual users for access using Google Accounts. 

YouTube is a third-party provider, not suitable for any content requiring confidentiality.

Not accessible in certain countries if international students are working from home, e.g. China.


Legacy guides for York Streaming

We no longer recommend York Streaming for video content as the player requires Flash which is not supported by all devices. Instead, use the Replay system for uploading video securely. These guides are useful should you need to convert to a supported video format.

Lecture capture

Lecture capture enables students to recap and revise the lecture content. Lecture Captures made using Replay Timetabled Lecture Capture can be automatically recorded and published to students via Yorkshare. This type of resource is explored in more detail in our Key Area page:

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