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How to Embed a Video

You can insert a video into a variety of instructional materials. Here’s how.

There are two main ways to make your videos visible to your students in Canvas: publishing them to the Media Gallery and embedding them into instructional materials (like pages, assignments, quizzes, etc.) If you want to learn more about the difference between embedding and publishing, read the appropriate section below, or just jump right to the instructions!

One particularly cool feature of embedding videos is you have a few selections of players - for example, a player that has a download button, or a player that doesn't use the transcript widget. Read the drawer on custom embed players below to learn more.

Whys, Requirements, Caveats

Why You Might Want to Embed a Video

  • Embedding videos make them part of your modules, making their context clearer to students
  • If you embed all videos in a course, you can eliminate the Media Gallery from the left navigation, potentially reducing confusion for students and needless onscreen clutter in your Canvas course
  • You can use the rich content editor to add text above/below the video, allowing you to provide much-needed context for the video content
  • You want to use a custom player, such as one that doesn't have the transcript widget

Prerequisites

  • A video in "My Media"
  • A course element that uses the rich content editor

Caveats

  • If you choose only to embed the video and not publish it, it won't be visible in the course's Media Gallery
  • If you entered a description for the video, it won't be visible when embedded
  • Currently a Kaltura bug inserts empty space below embedded videos that use the transcript widget

Publishing vs. Embedding

There are two terms that Canvas uses to describe at the highest level how to present media to your students: publishing them and embedding them.

Publishing a video allows it to be seen in the "Media Gallery" by your students.

When videos are "published," they are made visible to students in the course(s) you specify and will show up in you and your students' "Media Gallery" within the course. Without embedding them within a piece of instructional material, however, this will be the only place they can find your videos. If you want your students to watch the videos, you will need to direct them to their Media Galleries.

Embedding a video inserts it into a piece of instructional material in one of your modules, such as a page, an assignment, or a discussion board post.

When videos are "embedded," they are inserted into the piece of instructional material you have specified. Videos can be embedded into any piece of instructional materials that use the rich text editor, such as pages, assignments, or even quizzes.

Our Recommendation

Embed AND publish your video.
  • Embed your videos into instructional materials within your course, so you can take advantage of other features of instructional material (such as due dates).
  • Publish your videos to your course as well, and take time to leverage playlists to organize them in the Media Gallery for students in helpful ways (e.g. by topic, by module, etc.)

While either approach will make your videos visible to your students, your choice should align with your overall approach to your course's design.


Comparison
Presentation Method Advantages Disadvantages
Publishing
  • Less time to make videos visible in your course
  • More video options are visible to the student (download option, comments, etc.)
  • No ability to leverage Canvas pedagogical functions (due dates, etc.)
  • Do not automatically show up as entries in any of your modules - only in "Media Gallery"
Embedding
  • Videos show up in your modules
  • Can leverage Canvas pedagogical functions (due dates, etc.)
  • Can select alternative players with different features (e.g. no transcript widget, in-player download button, etc.)
  • Requires a little extra work to embed rather than just publish
  • Embedded videos don't automatically appear in the course's Media Gallery

Embedding and publishing videos each have advantages and disadvantages, but it's important to note that you can do both! That way you can drop a video into one of your modules AND have the video in the course's "Media Gallery."

How to Embed a Video

In this context, embedding a video just means inserting the player onto a web page within Canvas. You can do this anywhere you see the rich content editor. There are technically three different ways you can embed a video from the rich content editor: the "tools" menu, the Kaltura icon, and the apps icon.

An image demonstrating the three buttons to press within the rich content editor that allow you to embed media.

In these instructions we'll focus on arguably the easiest way: using the Kaltura icon.

  1. Within Canvas, enter the course in which you want to embed a video.
  2. Locate the piece of instructional material in which you want to embed the video and click on it.
  3. Click "Edit" in the upper right hand corner.
  1. The Kaltura logo/icon.Click the Kaltura icon within the rich content editor. (It looks like a small rainbow-colored wheel, and the words "Media Gallery" will appear if you hover your mouse over it.)
  1. Click the tab at the top of the subsequent window to identify whether you want to embed a video from "My Media," "Media Gallery," or one of your Media Playlists (if you've created any).
A screenshot of the Kaltura video selector.

  1. Once you've identified the video you want to embed, click the blue "Embed" button in its row. Note that you can also set some specific settings for the embedded video by clicking the gear icon next to the embed button. (See the note below for more information about configuring embed settings.)
  2. Make any other changes you want to the course element, and be sure to click "Save" when you're done.

Your video should now be playable within the course element.

 

Configuring Embed Settings

A screenshot close-up of the gear icon next to the "Embed" button when selecting a video to embed.When you're looking at your list of media that you want to embed, there's a little gear icon next to the "Embed" button. If you want, you can click it to configure a few settings regarding your embedded video.

  • Choose Player allows you to select video players that have certain features enabled or disabled. If you need an embedded video player with particular requirements (for example, no transcript widget, no speed controls, etc.), drop us a line at kaltura@ucsd.edu. See the section below for more information about custom players.
  • Max Embed Size lets you dictate how big the video will be within the course element you're creating. It's the kind of setting you may need to play around with if you're concerned about how big or small the video is. The sizes may look a little arbitrary here, but they're meant to account for a 16:9 video plus the playbar at the bottom of the player itself.
  • Thumbnail Embed is an either/or setting in conjunction with Autoplay. If enabled, the video embed will appear as the thumbnail with a play button in the middle rather than within the Kaltura video player itself. If the play button is clicked the player will appear.
  • Autoplay is an either/or setting in conjunction with Thumbnail Embed. If enabled, the video will automatically begin playing when a user comes to the page in which it's embedded.
  • Start & End Time allows you to control where the video will begin and end, though users can still view the entire video if they so choose.
A screenshot of embed configuration options.

It's up to you whether you want to play with these settings. Unfortunately, you can't adjust embed settings after you embed a video - you have to delete the existing embedded video and start the process again.


Known Bug: Transcript Widget

One thing to be aware of when embedding a video is that the transcript widget - which is collapsed by default but can be expanded with a click - creates empty space below the player when the transcript is collapsed. Kaltura has acknowledged this limitation and has plans to resolve it with the release of their next player, currently planned for mid-2022.

A screenshot demonstrating the empty space below an embedded player with the transcript widget collapsed.

If this really bugs you - i.e. if you want to put text after your embedded video and are worried that students with smaller screens won't see that it's there, you can choose a custom embed player that eliminates the transcript widget. (The captions will still be there.) Read the drawer below on custom embed players if you want more information.

Custom Embed Players

One nice feature of Kaltura is that when you embed a video, you can select one of several kinds of players, depending on the media type. As noted in one of the drawers above, when selecting a piece of media to embed in a Canvas course element, you have the option to click the gear icon instead of the "Embed" button and configure some additional options for your embedded media. One of those options is the player type.

How is this advantageous? Well, maybe you don't like the way the transcript widget affects text wrapping around your embedded video. If so, you can just choose the "no transcript" embed player before you embed your video instead of the default player.

Embed Player Commonalities

Kaltura allows for alternate player types within each category of media. The categories of media that they've identified are videos, in-video quizzes, playlists, and audio-only files. That said, there are features that are currently common to all media player types:

  • Closed captions button in the toolbar. Though some of the players vary in terms of whether the captions are visible in the player by default, all players have a closed caption button allowing users to select whether or not to have the captions visible.
  • Captions below the video. In September 2021, we changed the way captions are displayed in all videos, whether published or embedded. Previously captions were at the bottom of the player, but layered on top of the video, which occasionally resulted in onscreen content being blocked by the captions. We changed this so that the captions now display in a black bar below the video. As a result, the video itself is a little smaller within the player, resulting in black bars on either side of the video.
  • Speed selector. Viewers may choose to change the playback speed of the video.
  • Video quality selector. By default, Kaltura will detect the viewer's bandwidth and determine the quality that will create the best viewing experience. Viewers can override that by choosing a specific quality level using the quality selector. Quality levels are dependent on the quality of the original video.
  • Full screen toggle. Viewers can choose to make the video fill the screen. Variable embed sizes. If you elect to configure your embed (i.e. to click the gear rather than just click "embed"), you can select one of several sizes, depending on the media type. See the section below to learn more about the other embed players available for you to use.

Embed Player Differences

The table below summarizes all the main differences between the various embed players. The differences at present manifest in terms of whether captions are visible or hidden, whether the transcript widget is present, whether the video is downloadable, and what embed sizes are available.

"Player title" refers to what you'd see in the pull-down menu when selecting an alternative embed player. Note that we haven't created alternate players for playlists and audio-only files.

Summary of embed player differences
Media Type Player Title Closed Captions Transcript Widget Downloadable Available Embed Sizes
Video Default Embed Player Visible Yes No 800x750
600x640
400x525
Captions Off, No Transcript, Downloadable Hidden No Yes 800x480
600x370
400x255
No Transcript Visible No No
Quiz Default Quiz Player (No Transcript) Visible No No
Quiz Quiz Player (With Transcript) Visible Yes No 800x750
600x640
400x525
Playlist Default Playlist Player Visible Yes No 1000x835
800x720
Audio Default Audio Player Visible No No 600x70

Do you have a use case for a specific type of media player? Start a dialogue with us at kaltura@ucsd.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does embedding a video publish it as well?

Answer: Embedding a video won’t make it appear in the Media Gallery.

The answer here isn’t a simple "no" because of the way that Kaltura treats media visibility. When a video is added to "My Media," by default the video is labeled as "private." If you embed a video, however, the video’s status in your main list in "My Media" will change to "Published," but it's technically "embedded in context." So Kaltura is kind of keeping track of the fact that the video was embedded in the course, though it was not technically published to the Media Gallery. 

You can view your video's publication status by clicking the pencil icon on its row in "My Media" and clicking the "Publish" tab below the video preview.

How do I add text to a page that has an embedded video?

Answer: Just type in the rich content editor, or, if necessary, use the HTML editor.

Sometimes after embedding a video, it can be difficult to figure out how to type in the rich content editor, particularly if it was empty prior to the embed. Sometimes you can click all over the place but not make a cursor appear. If you're struggling to make the cursor appear, click the </> icon just below and to the right of the rich content editor's text box. (If you hover your mouse ove this, it will say "Switch to raw html editor.") 

A screenshot of the rich content editor, with the raw html editor button circled.

You’ll then see the HTML code for your page. The video embed code will look something like this:

<p><iframestyle="width: 1920px; height: 1080px;" title="Course Mapping (10:33)" src="https://canvas.ucsd.edu/courses/15712/external_tools/retrieve?borderless=1&url=https://canvaskaf.ucsd.edu/browseandembed/index/media/entryid/0_n7jsc4ih/showDescription/false/showTitle/false/showTags/false/showDuration/false/showOwner/false/showUploadDate/false/playerSize/1920x1080/playerSkin/45495492/" width="1920" height="1080" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" allow="geolocation *; microphone *; camera *; midi *; encrypted-media *; autoplay *"></iframe></p>

Just type some text before or after the video embed code.

A screenshot of the rich content editor displaying what the embed code looks like. The user has typed text above the embed code.

You can then click the </> button again to switch back to the rich content editor to get a sense of how things look.

A screenshot of the rich content editor with an embedded video and text above it.

At that point it should also be much easier to add and format additional text.

How do I remove an embedded video?

Answer: if you can’t just press backspace and remove the embed code, use the HTML Editor to delete the embed code.

If you want to remove an embedded video from a page, you can often just click your cursor after the video and press backspace/delete until the video is removed. If this doesn’t work for you, though, you can always enter the raw HTML editor by clicking the </> icon below the text box.

See the screenshot in the FAQ on adding text before or after an embedded video, or be on the lookout for text that looks like this:

<p><iframestyle="width: 1920px; height: 1080px;" title="Course Mapping (10:33)" src="https://canvas.ucsd.edu/courses/15712/external_tools/retrieve?borderless=1&url=https://canvaskaf.ucsd.edu/browseandembed/index/media/entryid/0_n7jsc4ih/showDescription/false/showTitle/false/showTags/false/showDuration/false/showOwner/false/showUploadDate/false/playerSize/1920x1080/playerSkin/45495492/" width="1920" height="1080" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" allow="geolocation *; microphone *; camera *; midi *; encrypted-media *; autoplay *"></iframe></p>

After you delete the embed code, return to the rich content editor and ensure that your video has been removed.

Can I add a video as a discrete course element to my modules without having to create a page and embed it?

Answer: Technically, yes, but...don’t.

If you're someone who likes using both the Media Gallery and embedding videos into your modules, it seems like you should be able to insert a video into your modules by essentially just adding a "link" course element (linking to the page in the Media Gallery), or that there should be a unique course element option for Kaltura videos.

Unfortunately, such a course element doesn't exist. And while you can add a link to the Media Gallery page, it’s an entirely manual process and sometimes causes problems when students try to click on them. So we strongly recommend not taking this approach. Your two best approaches to making media visible to students is either following our instructions on embedding media (described on this page) or publishing media.

Have questions about video? Contact the Multimedia Services team at kaltura@ucsd.edu.