What We’re Reading: 99 Tips for Creating Simple and Sustainable Educational Videos

illustration by Clare Reid

Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to have synchronous class sessions with our students. Between bandwidth issues, time-zone challenges, and general questions of accessibility and even privacy, often asynchronous videos are a better option for both you and your students in an online course environment. However, while we may know how to deliver a lecture in person in front of a class, most of us are unfamiliar with best practices for creating course videos, and we don’t have access to a studio where we can create them. 

Karen Costa, in her new book 99 Tips for Creating Simple and Sustainable Educational Videos: A Guide for Online Teachers and Flipped Class (2020, Stylus Publishers), argues that all you need to create effective educational videos is the camera and microphone on your desktop computer or phone. A longtime distance education specialist, Costa walks you through the steps and strategies for creating videos for your courses, explaining the different types of videos you can create, as well as the difference between in-person lectures and what you are producing for students in a distance delivery setting. 

Throughout the book, there are helpful QR codes that you can scan with your smartphone that will take you to video examples and tutorials of what she is discussing in that “tip.” As the title suggests, the book is divided up into 99 small “tip” sections that each walk you through one small part of video creation, be it an approach, a style, a tool, or a theory. Costa writes in an accessible and supportive way to help you feel more confident in producing your own videos for your course. 

At Georgetown University, faculty have several tools available in order to produce your own educational videos. We support Zoom and Panopto for video creation needs, as well as a number of video editing software options through the Gelardin New Media Center. But if you are looking for an accessible and readable guide for getting started, 99 Tips… is an excellent place to start.