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Using Published Video in Online Courses

A guide for faculty who would like to use other people's videos in their online courses.

Screening a Video through Zoom: Mechanics and Pedagogical Considerations

You may prefer to watch a video together as a class for any number of reasons.


  • You would like students to discuss at various points of the film, or between specific clips
  • You want students to share the experience as a class
  • You need to ensure that all students have seen the content by a particular time

If this is the case, there a few things to keep in mind when sharing video content via Zoom.

  • The mechanics of sharing video in Zoom.
  • Your students' experience of the shared video content
    • They will likely not be able to hear each other while the video is playing. You will want to establish clear expectations ahead of time, regarding, for instance, whether and how you would like them to communicate their reactions; whether you will be pausing the video periodically for discussion; whether they will have access to the video content outside of the class if they want to revisit it.
    • If you have students with accommodations, please be sure that they know how to access the material on their own. You may also want to consider whether they are able to view it with subtitles, to aid in auditory-visual processing.
  • Showing copyrighted material? Here are some considerations to keep in mind when recording zoom meetings which include third-party video content.

Zoom Mechanics

To play a pre-recorded video during a live Zoom class:

1. If the video is on a website (e.g., YouTube), go to the site in your browser. If the video is saved to your device (e.g., an MP4 file saved on your computer), open the video.

2. When you are ready to play the video, click the Share Screen button on your Zoom control panel. 

The "Share Screen" button appears in the Zoom control panel between "Polls" and "Chat."

3. Select the video from the menu of options in the "Select a window or an application that you want to share" box.

4. Enable the "Share computer sound" and "Optimize Screen Sharing for Video Clip" settings in the lower left corner and click Share. 


The "Share computer sound" and "Optimize Screen Sharing for Video Clip" settings, and the "Share" button, appear at the bottom of the "Select a window or an application that you want to share" box.


5. Play the video.

6. When the video ends, hit the Stop Share button.

The "Stop Share" button in Zoom appears in the control panel for your Zoom room.

Other Programs for Virtual Group Viewings

Zoom is far from your only option. If you'd like students to watch something together, there are a number of programs which will sync media across multiple devices. Many have integrated chat functions, and some support sharing local files.

You can explore some of these alternatives here.