Using Zoom to Create a Weekly Video Message for Students

I like to send out messages to my students at the start of the week to describe the assignments for the week and provide any other important messages and reminders.

Here’s a summary of my steps:

  1. First, I create a script and decide what I plan to discuss.
  2. Next, I select visuals that can support my points. If I’m discussing a reading, then I open website in a new tab in web browser. Likewise, if I’m using my own visuals or slides, then I have those ready and open on my desktop.
  3. Once I have all the text and visuals ready and open on my desktop, I start Zoom. I open a new meeting, but I don’t invite anyone else. I’m the only participant in the meeting.
  4. I turn on my video and start recording. I usually start my video for the first part of my video message so I can wave to my students as part of the introduction. After saying hello, I generally turn off my video. This keeps the file size a bit smaller.
  5. I pause the recording at any point when I need a break to move between visuals. Once I have the visual in place, I resume recording and continue with the video. I repeat this process as many times as needed. I also find it helpful to pause the recording when I need to slow down and take a breath.
  6. Once I’m finished the message, I stop the recording and end the meeting.
  7. Ending the Zoom meeting will then render the video. The output will be in audio (audio_only.m4a) and video format (zoom.mp4). Another format is also offered (playback.m3u) – for single entry playlists. If my presentation incorporated visuals, then I select the video output (mp4) to share with students as a screencast. If my presentation did not have visuals, then I select the audio output (m4a) and share with my students as a podcast.
  8. I use the learning management system provided by my school to share the file with my students. I can post a news item for students and add my video message. I can also send out a note via email and provide the link to the message as well as a copy of my script. Some students may prefer to review the script and the video. The script also allows students to check over any words they may not have understood. The video can be watched more than one time if needed and provides a personalized way of communicating with students regularly.
  9. My final tips for creating a weekly video message for students is to aim for “one-take production.” I wrote about how I use one-take productions to provide students with video feedback. Similarly, I advocate for one-take productions when creating weekly video messages. This means, I usually record the video one time and I don’t worry about stumbling over words or any background noises, or other interruptions. It shouldn’t take hours to create a video message. Be yourself, don’t worry about creating a polished or theatre ready production, and most importantly have fun!