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Media Playlists

Media playlists can serve a variety of purposes in your course. Read below to find out how they might serve your teaching goals and how to create and edit one.

PlaylistPlayer_800w.pngMedia playlists can be quite useful when implemented thoughtfully. Though they're specific to a course (i.e. they live in a Media Gallery and not "My Media"), they can provide andragogical benefits in addition to organizing your multimedia content both for you and your students.

Whys, Requirements, Caveats

Why You Might Want to Create a Playlist

  • You want to group together similarly-themed content in the Media Gallery
  • You want to break up longer videos into more manageable chunks, but keep them linked together
  • You'd rather not embed numerous videos into instructional materials


  • At least two pieces of media in "My Media" that you own or for which you're a co-publisher


  • Playlists are specific to courses (i.e. they can't be used across courses without recreating them manually)

What Playlists Are - And How You Can Use Them

In addition to presenting a variety of media (such as images, videos, and audio files), the Kaltura media player also allows for media playlists: a list of media that the player will play one after the other in the order you've specified. The player looks just about the same as when you watch a single video, but the right side of the player displays the videos in the playlist and users can select any of the videos in the playlist to begin watching them.

Playlists are course-specific. They're created within the Media Gallery, and, once created, they're automatically visible to students there. You can't "hide" a playlist from course members.

What Can You do With Playlists?

Playlists provide advantages for both instructors and students. Below are some of the ways that you can leverage playlists in Canvas.

Group Related Videos into Categories

If you publish a large number of videos, the Media Gallery quickly becomes difficult to navigate. Creating a playlist adds a "playlists" tab in the Media Gallery helps you organize your course's media using any criteria you want (topic, media type, etc).

The same goes for students. All of the videos you publish to your course are available to students in their Media Galleries. Using a playlist, however, allows you to direct students to a playlist named, say, "Module 1 Videos," and add all the videos you'd like students to watch for that module.

Chunk Your Videos

Research on multimedia use in educational settings suggests that your videos should be short - no more than 20 minutes (Lagerstrom 2015). If you have a long video, consider breaking it up into smaller videos by leveraging the video editor to duplicate and break them apart and then using a playlist to link them together conceptually.

Gather Multiple Videos Into One Course Element

If you've assigned multiple videos in a particular module, you may find it advantageous to use one course element for all the videos students need to watch rather than separating each video into its own course element or embedding multiple videos on a single page.

For example, if you're asking students to review a still image, you could have a playlist consisting of a video, followed by a still image on which students can reflect, and then another video providing your own commentary on the image.

Help Students Prepare for Assessments

If you use video heavily, it may be advantageous for students to have a playlist of videos created that will help prepare them for an upcoming assessment.


Lagerstrom, L. The myth of the six minute rule: student engagement with online videos. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, 14-17.

How to Create a Playlist

Playlists are created with the Media Gallery.

A screenshot of the channel actions menu.
  1. Within Canvas, enter the course in which you want to create the playlist and click "Media Gallery" on the left side of the screen.
  2. Click the "Channel Actions" icon near the top right of the screen. It looks kind of like a hamburger - three horizontal lines.
  3. Select "Create channel playlist" from the menu that appears.
  4. In the "Create Playlist" window, give your playlist a title. Description and tags are optional.
  5. Click "Add." A little bar at the top of the webpage may animate for a moment - be patient. You’ll come to a new window that shows your new playlist’s title and tags, and allows you to add videos to the playlist.
  6. Locate a video you want to add in the list of your media on the left side of the screen and then click the plus icon next to it.
  7. Add any other videos you want in the same way.
  8. Click "Go to Media Gallery" at the top right of the screen. Your video playlist now exists within your course in your Media Gallery.

Your video playlist now exists within your course's Media Gallery.

Changing the Order of Items

To change the order of a video in your playlist, click the two lines next to the video you want to move. Click and hold your mouse, and you’ll be able to drag the video to a different position in the queue.

How to Edit a Playlist

If you decide to add or remove videos from an existing playlist, it's easy - if you know where to go.

A screenshot of the "channel actions" menu with "edit" circled.
  1. Within Canvas, enter the course where you created the playlist you want to edit.
  2. Click on "Media Gallery" in the left navigation.
  3. At the top right of the Media Gallery page, click the "Channel Actions" icon (three horizontal lines) and select "Edit" from the menu that appears.
  4. Select the tab for "Playlists" at the top.
  5. In the row of the playlist that you want to edit, click the pencil icon in the "Actions" column.

A screenshot of a list of playlists, with the pencil ('Edit") icon circled.

  1. Once on the "Edit Playlist" page, you can perform actions such as:
    • Changing the title of the playlist
    • Adding, editing, or removing the description
    • Adding, editing, or removing tags
    • Adding or removing media from the playlist
    • Changing the order of media in the playlist
  2. Click "Save" at the top right of the page when you're done making edits to your playlist.

How to Embed a Playlist

As we discuss in our article on embedding videos, "embedding" media means inserting it into a piece of instructional material. Doing so allows you to take advantage of the features of those materials in Canvas (such as due dates), adding text above or below the video, etc.

The process of embedding a playlist is almost identical to that of any other piece of media.

  1. Within Canvas, either create or edit a piece of instructional material that uses the rich content editor (RCE). You should be looking at the page that contains the RCE.
A screenshot of the rich content editor.

  1. The Kaltura icon in the rich content editor.Click Kaltura's rainbow logo within the RCE.
  2. In the window that appears, click "Media Gallery Playlists" at the top.
  3. Find the playlist you want to embed and either click the "</>Embed" button, or click the gear to configure the specifics of your embed.
A screenshot of the Kaltura embed window.

  1. When you're done editing your course element, be sure to click "save" at the top right of the screen.
Note that you can still use the RCE to add text or any other items into the course element as you would normally.

How to Delete a Playlist

A screenshot of the "channel actions" menu.
  1. Within Canvas, enter the course that contains the playlist you want to delete.
  2. Click "Media Gallery" in the left navigation.
  3. Click the icon represented by three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the page ("channel actions") and select "Edit."
  4. Click the "Playlists" tab near the top of the page.
  5. Click the trashcan icon in the row of the playlist you want to delete.
A screenshot of the "edit playlists" page.
  1. Click "Delete" to confirm that you want to delete the playlist.
Need additional help with videos? Contact the Multimedia Services team at