Recording lectures and designing supporting online activities

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all lectures were recorded from Trinity term 2020 to Trinity term 2022. Recording lectures ensures that students and tutors are not exposed to the high-risk environment of crowded lecture theatres. Sharing recorded lectures with students means that they can engage with lecture material even if they cannot attend a live streamed event.


Pedagogical guidance

Recorded lectures are both inclusive and flexible, and feedback from students suggests they are a very welcome aid to learning. Benefits include being able to repeat important sections later and searching both the written text and spoken words (if using Panopto). They also offer advantages for tutors, since existing lecture presentations can be easily adapted; the lecture can be broken down into shorter chunks, making recording more manageable. It’s hard to produce an engaging 50-minute online lecture alone in a room with your laptop. Tutors suggest producing shorter chunks of lectures on particular themes or concepts; and imagine that you are explaining these concepts to a small group of students – this helps to develop the tone of your narrative.

This visual shows some possible follow-on activities after students have watched a recorded lecture:


Lecture can be moved to Panopto, and other elements incorporated such as group work, discussions, polling either virtual or in-person using Canvas, Teams and Vevox.



Recording and sharing lectures in advance offers the possibility of adding supporting online activities to help replicate those that would normally take place in a live lecture (questions and answers, polling, and student interaction and discussions). You could offer a live Q and A session in the lecture timetable slot or include an asynchronous timeslot for students to submit questions. Once you have collected questions, answers can be shared via Canvas, or you could make a short recording to discuss the answers. There are many excellent online tools (polls, quizzes etc) for promoting active learning alongside online lectures. These can be used to explore student foundation knowledge, enable students to test their understanding of concepts, encourage student discussions, or apply and use newly learnt themes and concepts.

If you would like to give a live streamed lecture from your own computer you should ensure that these lectures are also recorded and shared with students, so that those who cannot attend the live streamed session can watch the lecture as soon as they are able. You can design short pauses into your live lectures to invite student questions via online chat or ask students to respond to a live poll.

To ensure all recorded lectures are inclusive, a good quality microphone is essential so that students can hear clearly what the lecturer is saying. The Panopto automated captioning service can produce a fairly accurate transcript, or paid-for services may be used to provide better quality transcripts.

Technical guidance

The preferred and supported methods of pre-recording teaching content is to use the Panopto (Replay) service from home. If you wish to record on-site and have the recording uploaded for sharing online (via Panopto in Canvas) you should contact your department to discuss when bookable rooms and recording facilities will be available.

The preferred and supported method for recording live streamed lectures is to record the session using the built-in recording functionality in Teams and then share this with users in a Canvas course by first uploading the recording to Panopto. See the guidance on recording a live session in Teams and sharing on Canvas.

Our guidance on creating accessible videos will help you improve the quality and accessibility of your pre-recorded teaching content. A better quality recording and the inclusion of accessibility features will aid all students’ attention and comprehension, and can be particularly important for disabled students’ access to learning.

When live streaming lectures using Microsoft Teams (often referred to as MS Teams or simply Teams), student interaction can be invited in the form of asking questions via the chat functionality or responding to a live Teams poll. Be aware that streaming a lecture live via Panopto in some cases may incur an approximately 30-second time delay making such live interactivity problematic. Teams has no such delay and is better suited to live lectures where student interactivity is desired.

Once the recording has been uploaded to Panopto, the recording can be edited to include quizzes at selected points.

All video content within Panopto is now automatically captioned. By default, the captions are stored in the background, and can be switched on by the viewer by clicking the closed captions (CC) button within the media player. If a student reports that the automatic captions contain errors and they require accurate captions, they can request these from the Disability Advisory Service by emailing If captions are missing from a video, or there are other accessibility issues with a recording, these should be reported to the Centre for Teaching and Learning via By default, the captions are stored in the background, and can be switched on by the viewer (by clicking the CC button). 

Useful links

Many departments and faculties are reflecting upon how programmes are taught, what materials are assigned and how students are assessed. Academics and administrators who would like to consult with the CTL as they design flexible and inclusive programmes may contact us at

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Resources for flexible and inclusive teaching