Recording Online Modules

There are many reasons one could want to record an online module - perhaps it is an overview of a topic you'll be covering in class, but you want to give the students some foundational material as pre-work; perhaps you want to explain a difficult concept that students are struggling with, and you think visuals would be beneficial in addition to your explanation; perhaps there is a public health emergency requiring social distancing and quarantine; perhaps the weather (or metro) result in cancellation of classes, and you need to provide your content to the students in an alternative way.  These and many more situations are good reasons to consider recording an online module.  

At GW SMHS, we have several tools available to use when recording an online module or presentation.  The choice of which tool depends on what you would like to accomplish, and your familiarity/comfort with the tool or learning a new one.  For example, you may want to simply record your voice-over static slides.  Alternatively, you may want to be able to zoom in, highlight key points, annotate, or even include an interactive quiz.  All of these are options depending on what tool you select.  

We have developed the following chart to help you determine which tool might be the best fit for your content.

Tool Options to Record Your Lecture

Use this table to choose the appropriate tool for your lecture:

  PowerPoint Panopto Camtasia VoiceThread Audacity Explain Everything
Installation Requirements
  • Most faculty have PowerPoint
  • Available for download on home computers via GW IT
  • Software must be installed (available through Software Center or Blackboard)
  • Also available in classrooms/lecture halls in Ross Hall.
  • Pay-for-purchase (30-day free trial available)
  • Available on select Himmelfarb laptops (can be checked out for ~1 week)
  • Free online tool
  • Software must be installed (available through Software Center or free download)
  • iPad app - after free trial, contact CFE for purchase options
Computer Requirements PC Only (do not use PowerPoint for Mac to record) PC/Mac PC/Mac PC/Mac (iPad with app) PC/Mac iPad
Editing Abilities Edit slides; Re-record narration on individual slides Yes; remove segments, errors, etc; insert new recordings Yes; remove segments, errors, etc; insert new recordings  Re-record narration on an individual slide Edit audio in detail (remove pauses, errors, etc) Yes: annotation, video, edit audio & video, insert new recordings
Posting to Students Save as video; OME load into Panopto Automatically uploaded to Blackboard once recording is finished. Contact OME to move as needed. Save as video; OME load into Panopto Post directly in Blackboard Save audio file; OME will load audio and separate slides (if applicable) into Blackboard Save as video; Can load into Panopto
MD: OME will load into Panopto for Pre-clinical courses
Variable Playback Speed (Student preference) Once loaded into Panopto Yes Once loaded into Panopto No Depends on playback tool used. Depends on playback tool used.
Student interaction No No Yes - can add quizzes/knowledge checks Yes No No
App for iPad No View; not Create No; Output can be viewed on iPad Yes No Yes
Slide Annotation Recorded Limited (can capture mouse movement while recording) Limited (captures mouse movement while recording) Yes; additional animations can be added after recording Yes No Yes
Help/Training Guides
  • PowerPoint Office 365 (PDF) - or update to Office 365 (PC or Mac) for free!
  • PowerPoint 2016 (PDF)
  • How to Record with Panopto for PC (PDF)
  • How to Record with Panopto for Mac (PDF)
  • Editing Panopto Videos (Video Link)
  • Using VoiceThread - for Faculty (PDF)
  • Using VoiceThread - for Students (PDF)
  • Troubleshooting VoiceThread (Link

Note: If you have a tool that you prefer to use, and are comfortable using (e.g. Captivate, Quicktime), you are welcome to continue to use that tool and provide OME with the output video.  This table is intended to help those who do not know which tool to choose. For more educational tools, check out this page: Educational Technology.

Recording Voice-over-PowerPoint

If you need to simply record narration over an existing set of slides, without any user interaction or additional features, you may already have the tool for that on your computer! PowerPoint can be used to record audio narration and export the final product to an mp4 video file that can be posted on Blackboard, or distributed to users in a variety of other ways.  

What you'll need:

  • Computer/Laptop
  • PowerPoint software (available free to any GWU student/employee)
  • Microphone - preferably a headset.  If you need to borrow one, both Himmelfarb library and OME have them available for check-out
  • Speakers or headphones to hear the output

Step-by-step instructions (be sure to select the correct version of PowerPoint in the selection tabs)

Video Tutorial - Recording a Video in PowerPoint


Panopto is available for all SMHS faculty and staff to record videos.  Pantopto allows you to record both slides/screen and your webcam simultaneously, as well as to turn the webcam on/off during recording.  

Please visit the Panopto page for more information and instructions. See also the Web-Based Panopto Tutorial Series.


Zoom is now available to all GWU faculty and staff.  It will allow you to record both your slides/screen and your webcam simultaneously.  Zoom recordings can be saved locally, or to the Cloud.  

More information on recording using Zoom can be found on the Zoom Recordings support page


Camtasia is a tool that allows for some interactivity, and more robust editing than is available in PowerPoint.  In Camtasia, you can edit out any errors you make in your narration, as well as easily update the information on the screen.  You can also zoom, pan, add highlights, arrows, or annotation.  Finally, you can include basic quizzing so that students can self-test whether they understand the material.  

Camtasia is a paid product and is available for purchase with an Educational license from TechSmith.

Himmelfarb Library has media laptops available for checkout that have the software already installed.  It is also available in the SMARTLab at 2000 Penn, and on the Faculty Workstation in Himmelfarb.  

  • Computer/Laptop
  • Camtasia software
  • Microphone - preferably a headset.  If you need to borrow one, both Himmelfarb library and OME have them available for check-out
  • Speakers or headphones to hear the output

Articulate Storyline

Articulate Storyline is a tool that enables the creation of highly interactive modules, including branching scenarios.  Modules created in Storyline can include audio, video, branching (e.g. based on the participant's answer, they are directed down a different "path"), quizzing/surveys with a variety of question types, and more.  Storyline is a robust product that requires some ramp-up to use effectively.  Staff at the SMART Lab and in the Center for Faculty Excellence have licenses for Storyline.  If you are interested in a project that would benefit from the use of this tool, please contact the SMART Lab or the CFE to arrange a consultation.  

Additional Resources