YouTube: Hosting Videos and Creating Playlists

Why YouTube?

When it comes to sharing video, YouTube is a great option. Video files are often too large to share via email. Your LMS (Blackboard, Canvas, Angel, Moodle) may be able to host your videos, and it may have features that are comparable to YouTube. However, you may find that there is a limit to storage space for video files, and you also risk losing access to these files when your course ends. By hosting your videos on YouTube you can control which videos are available for your students, organize your videos, provide closed captioning for hearing-impaired students, and easily share your videos within your course or via email.

You will need a Google account to use YouTube. If you have a Gmail address, you can use that. However, if you use YouTube for personal videos, you should consider creating a separate account for teaching purposes—just be sure to record your log-in information for future use!

Some colleges have a shared YouTube account that instructors can use. You might want to explore this option before deciding to create your own.

What is a YouTube channel?

Basically, a YouTube channel allows students to see the course videos in one place. If they subscribe to your channel they will receive notifications whenever you post a new video.  Because your video is “hosted” on your channel, you can easily share the link to the video by email or post the video in your course content without worrying that the file size is too large to share.

Creator Studio – This is the tool in YouTube that will allow you to post, organize, and share your videos as well as see analytics about when your videos have been viewed.  Once logged in, you can click on the “Creator Studio” button, as seen below:

Adding Videos

Start uploading videos! Once you have videos uploaded you can start to organize them into playlists in your YouTube channel.


Creating Playlists

What is a Playlist?  A playlist is a group of related videos. For example, if you teach English 101 and 102, you may have a separate playlist for each so students can know to view only the playlist for their class. You can use playlists to compile videos that are specific to a course, or specific to a unit or week of a course if you have several videos each unit.

Do I need a playlist? No. If you are planning to use YouTube for just one course you likely do not need separate playlists. However, if you plan on posting many videos on different topics for different courses it will help keep them organized and let your students know which videos they should be watching.

You must upload at least one video before you can create the playlist. Once it is fully loaded you can select the video and then select the button that says “Add to” which will allow you to “create a new playlist”.  Once your playlist is created you can use this same process to select new videos and add them to the existing playlist.


Adding Captions

Keep in mind that in order to be accessible to students with hearing impairment, it is important that you add text to your video. If you prepare a script in advance of recording your video, you can easily upload that text into YouTube.  If you do not have a script, YouTube does have an automatic captioning tool. However, voice translation technology is still in its infancy—so there will likely be many errors if you use this automatic feature.  If your video is short, you can easily add the text yourself from scratch. You can also easily edit the automatically prepared captions that YouTube creates and correct any errors.  Your school may provide resources to help you caption your videos as well, and you can likely find out this information by contacting the office for disability services on your campus.



YouTube will automatically generate subtitles once you choose english as the language, however these may not be very accurate. Creating your own may be quicker than editing the automatically generated captions.


Paste in your script, or manually transcribe the video as it plays. If pasting in the text, you can then use the “sync” tool that will automatically create the timings for closed captioning.

Note: You can only add captions to videos that you upload and manage. If you use a video that you find on YouTube created by someone else you may wish to create an additional transcript file that can be downloaded for hearing impaired students to follow along.

Sharing Your Video

There are two main ways that you can share your YouTube videos. The first is to share the link. You can copy and paste the link to your videos into emails or onto content pages in your course. When students click on the link the video will open in a new window in their browser.


The second way to share the video is called “embedding”.  This action will display the video in the place that you embed it- most likely on a page in your course.



Using very basic html code, you can also paste the embed code onto any page where you can access the html editor.  In Canvas, this is a button that says “switch views”.  Once you see the html code, find the spot where you want to put the video and paste the embed code in there. Return to the regular view of the course and make any necessary edits to spacing from there.




Privacy and Settings

You can investigate all of the different options to customize your YouTube channel—and there are many! One thing to keep in mind is that if a video is set to “private” then students will not be able to view it.  If it is set to “public” then anyone searching YouTube for something similar would be able to find your video. For this reason, a popular setting is to make the video “unlisted”.  This way students can easily view it when provided with access to the link or YouTube playlist, but it would not appear in public searches. 

Deleting Videos

You can easily delete videos from your YouTube channel also. Simply select the video(s) and then click “delete” from the “actions” drop-down menu.


 Because YouTube is so commonly used it is easy to find answers and how-to videos about specific features should you have any trouble. Use the search feature in YouTube or Google to find any resources that may help answer your questions. From the YouTube homepage, if you scroll all the way to the bottom there is also a “support” button that allows you to search for user-guides as well.



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