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How Can Playlists be Useful?

How can a playlist be useful in your teaching? Read below to learn more.

In addition to being able to present a variety of media (images, videos, audio files, etc.), 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 a list of other media sits next to the player. Users can select any of the videos in the playlist to begin watching them.

Playlists are course-specific. They're created and stay within a 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 can be useful for both instructors and students. Below are some of the reasons that instructors might want to use playlists in Canvas.

Grouping Related Videos into Categories

If you publish a large number of videos to a course, its 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 the Media Gallery. 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.

Chunking Videos

Research on multimedia use in educational settings suggests that your videos should be on the shorter side. (Read our best practices article on video length to learn more.) If you have videos over 20 minutes long, consider breaking them up into smaller videos by leveraging the video editor to duplicate and trim them and then using a playlist to link them together conceptually.

Gathering 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. Having multiple videos embedded on the same page can sometimes cause issues on some older computers and tablets.

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.

Helping 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.

Have additional questions about video? Contact Multimedia Services at