Quick Tips for Creating Tutorials

Last month I provided some tools that can be used for creating online tutorials and videos. This month, I am sharing my list of tips for improving videos. These tips are some things that I have learned along the way through trial and error. If you don’t currently create videos and need to start, don’t be intimidated. You will see that it gets easier over time. As usual, the professional development is available at the end of the post.

  1. Write a script and practice it. While you may not be face-to-face, an online video will still give the world an idea of who you are. Present yourself as a well-spoken professional. If there are gaps in the audio, re-record it.
  2. Place the script on the screen next to the slides that you are recording. Then if you are recording yourself, it will look like you are looking at the camera. In addition, placing the script next to the presentation will eliminate the sound of you turning pages.
  3. Record in small segments. My recordings are better when I use smaller segments because I make fewer mistakes, and there is less of a chance that someone will come in and interrupt me. In addition, if I make a mistake, it is quicker to fix 1 minute rather than 12 minutes. I typically use PowerPoint and VoiceThread to record videos in segments.
  4. Purchase a screen or sit in front of a piece of paper to make the background look professional. You don’t want other people to see your background clutter. Having a solid background will look more professional. If you use a solid green piece of paper, you can use an app like Do Ink to add different background effects.
  5. Avoid background noise by using a microphone or headset. When you are in a busy place, there is no telling what type of noise your computer will pick up when you are recording. The last microphone that I bought was $8.00 and worked reasonably well for eliminating the background noises around me.
  6. If you are in front of the camera, dress professionally. You are an information scientist and educator. You want people to perceive you as an expert. Sitting in front of the camera while dressed poorly will not help to change the image of librarians.
  7. Limit your recording to the part of your screen that is related to your presentation. Avoid recording your icons to protect your privacy. Screen-Cast-O-Matic is an example of a screen recorder that will let you zoom in.
  8. You don’t have to break copyright rules to get music. Garageband (Mac IOS) has music that you can adapt. YouTube has music that can be used to enhance videos too.
  9. Add captions or share a script to improve accessibility. YouTube has automatically generated captions that can be edited. Furthermore, YouTube allows for viewers to generate captions if you want to crowd-source the project. You might consider having your students create the captions for extra credit.
  10. There is nothing wrong with a short technology tutorial without audio. If there are only 5 or so steps, write them down on the bottom of the screen.
  11. Are you wondering if students or colleagues are listening to your videos? Then add a quiz to your videos. Now you have assessment data. You can add a quiz using tools such as EdPuzzle and PlayPosit which embed questions into videos. You can also make quizzes with Google Forms, make a flipped lesson with a quiz using Tes Teach (formerly known as Blendspace), or use Padlet to create an exit question.
  12. Sometimes there are slight changes between what classes need to know or updates for a new school year. Recording slides with tools like iMovie, Knovio, PowerPoint, and VoiceThread will let you quickly go back and make updates to videos. I don’t re-record the videos; I just change the part that needs to be updated.

In conclusion, creating videos can be time-consuming. However, video creation is a skill that is invaluable for personal branding, marketing library services, and providing information to your school community. I like to create videos because they can provide documentation of my efforts and viewers can watch a video as many times as they want for knowledge retention. Do you have additional tips for creating videos? Please share your comments!

May 2018 Professional Development

Organization Date & Time Professional Development Title
Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) May 9, 2018, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM EST


Introduction to R for Libraries, Part 1


May 23, 2018,2:00 PM-3:00 PM EST Introduction to R for Libraries, Part 2


May 30, 2018, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM EST Introduction to R for Libraries, Part 3
Early Childhood Investigations May 30, 2018,

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST

Ready or Not? Incorporating e-Learning into Your Program’s Professional Development Mix


edWeb.net May 1, 2018,

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST

Best Digital Reading Practices for Early Literacy: Strategies for Teaching PreK-Grade 3 Students


May 9, 2018, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST Walk the Talk: Supporting Young Children’s Language Development


May 10, 2018, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST DAT, DIT & DET: Solving the Digital Integration Puzzle


May 15, 2018, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST Wonderful Ideas to Ignite Collaboration, Creativity and Computational Thinking


May 17, 2018, 4:00 PM- 5:00 PM EST What You Can Do Today to Lessen Challenging Behaviors Tomorrow


May 21, 2018, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST Using Digital Literacy to Build Unstoppable Reading Grit


May 22, 2018, 4:00 PM- 5:00 PM EST Summer Fun with Digital Citizenship



May 22, 2018, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST Designing a Programming Language for Early Learners



May 23, 2018, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST Visual and Data Literacy Learning



May 24, 2018, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST Growing STEM from Early Childhood Roots




May 30, 2018, 3:00 PM- 4:00 PM EST Strategies for Building Proficient K–12 Writers





May 8, 2018, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST Emerging Tech Trends in Libraries – Part 8


May 15, 2018, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST Visual Merchandising for Public Libraries: Practical Strategies for Applying Bookstore Insights to Library Collections
SimpleK12 May 5, 2018,
10:00 AM – 1:30 PM EST
STEM/STEAM Tools and Ideas to Enhance Your Classroom
May 12, 2018,
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM EST
Intro to Gmail: Using It Efficiently in Your Classroom


May 12, 2018,
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST
Creative Ways to Incorporate Google Slides in Your Classroom
May 12, 2018,
1:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST
Personalize and Stimulate Student Learning with Google Tools


May 12, 2018,
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST
Flipping Your Class with Videos and Live Streaming from YouTube Live


May 15, 2018,
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST
How School Leaders Can Simplify Data Collection with Google Forms


May 15, 2018,
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST
Crisis Management: Communicating and Staying Connected to Staff, Parents, and Students
May 17, 2018,

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST

Creating Interactive Photos in Your Classroom



May 22, 2018,

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST

Publishing Accessible ePub Books for All Readers


May 29, 2018,

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST

Free Accessibility Tools for Students with Visual or Auditory Needs


May 15, 2018, 11:00 AM – 12 PM EST 2018 SXSW Interactive for Libraries: Reports from the Field


May 22, 2018, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST Developing Digital Citizens – Resources and Strategies




WebJunction May 29, 2018, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST Taking Community Partnerships to the Next Level


Note: The photo in this post was purchased from DepositPhotos.com.


Author: Daniella Smith

Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently the Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children’s Library Services at the University of North Texas.

Categories: Blog Topics, Professional Development

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