Peer-to-Peer #1: Example of Video Mini-Lectures

This is the first post to the Peer-to-Peer series, sharing instructor’s experiences and approaches.

Neal Patwari (ESE) recorded mini lectures for ESE 471 (Communication Systems) last spring.  A sample set of videos for a lecture are on YouTube. Some features are as follows with A, B, and C being increasing levels of sophistication and adopted at an instructor’s discretion.   If you’d like some guidance on adapting this process (including the software and hardware used) to your own needs, please contact Jason Crandall ( or Meghann Pytka (

A. Generate the videos

  1. Lecture appropriately “chunked” into short video segments (in this case, five segments each 5-12 minutes) with logical breaks based on content.
  2. Neal used a Wacom Intuos graphics tablet and the standard screen recorder on a Mac.
  3. He wrote on OneNote (a “how-to” on using OneNote in videos is forthcoming) and preloaded any graphics (see e.g. start of video #2).

B. Edit the videos

  1. Neal edited the video, using iMovie, to run at 2x or 4x speed when he was writing-but not talking-for long stretches; this both shortened the video duration and helped keep student’s attention.  Care was taken to not speed up the video so much such that students could not keep pace.
  2. He did edit out mistakes and this added to the editing time. 
  3. Neal feels that student support of ~5-6 hours a week is sufficient for the video editing (in his case, two lectures each about 25-35 minutes duration).

C. Organize the videos and providing context

  1. Videos were uploaded to YouTube and compiled into playlists, one playlist for each lecture. A link to each playlist was embedded in Canvas.
  2. During the synchronous sessions each week, Neal would provide learning context by explaining what students would be learning and should be able to do after watching each playlist.  (This context could also be provided in a leading video for each playlist.)