Find the right multimedia creation software for instructional video, audio and more

Until a few years ago, creating an interactive presentation, video, or any sophisticated-looking multimedia content, required expert designers. Today, a plethora of multimedia authoring tools make it easy to create high-quality multimedia assets.

Some of the teaching and learning-focused benefits of these applications are summarized in Multimedia tools in the teaching and learning processes: A systematic review. Abdulrahaman et al. (2020) suggest that adding multimedia to teaching and learning environments offers the following benefits: 

  1. Can translate abstract concepts into concrete concepts
  2. Can present larger volumes of information within a limited timeframe with less effort
  3. Can stimulate students’ interest in learning
  4. Provides instructors with the ability to know students’ position in learning. (p. 2)

One of the easiest ways to create multimedia content for a course is to record the instructor’s computer screen (screencast) while explaining the content. As cited in Abdulrahaman et al. (2020), “in most cases where text, audio, video, graphics and animations were the components of choice, significant improvements in teaching and learning are used, as reported in the studies reviewed (Blevins, 2018; Huang et al., 2017; Zhang, 2012)” (p. 12).

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence (CATE) provides UIC instructors and staff with several multimedia creation software options. Below is a selection of software available to create engaging multimedia content for student learning.

Creating video content with text and audio

  • Echo360 – Universal capture allows instructors to create screencasts and videos showing the instructor’s computer camera, either with the instructor or another source of video. Editing is limited in Echo360, but captions can be easily added to meet accessibility requirements.
  • Panopto – An easy-to-use tool that helps instructors and students capture and edit video, create video assignments, insert interactive video quizzes, and add captions required for accessibility compliance.
  • Zoom – Zoom’s recording feature allows instructors to record video and audio locally (to a computer) or save them to the cloud. The recorded files can then be automatically uploaded to Echo360 or Panopto for adding captions before sharing.

Creating narrated presentations with graphics

  • PowerPoint – This simple yet powerful tool helps instructors create slides that can include text, graphics, audio, video, and other objects that can be placed freely across the slide. Narrated PowerPoint presentations will need to be uploaded to a media streaming tool such as Echo360 or Panopto before students can watch the videos. The final file cannot be uploaded to Blackboard directly.

Creating interactive content

  • VoiceThread – Create a shared presentation that participants can asynchronously comment on either by text, voice, or video. These presentations can be created directly in Blackboard and will be ready to use by the students.

Creating fully animated content

  • Camtasia Studio – Record and highlight interaction with websites or applications, emphasize and elaborate with callouts, animations, and other enhancements. Make content accessible with closed captioning. Camtasia Studio can be purchased on the iBuy website for a fee, and is free to use on a number of computers and laptops available for lab use and checkout from the CATE Academic Multimedia Lab.
  • Articulate 360 – Articulate 360 includes everything you need for eLearning content development. This tool is available by subscription for any UIC college or department. CATE Instructional Designers have access to this tool and can work with instructors interested in exploring using it to create engaging simulations.

You can find all centrally supported tools available for UIC instructors on the CATE website, under multimedia creation software:

When using technology to teach, instructors should evaluate technology for functionality, accessibility, technical limitations, mobile design, and privacy and data protection. For more information, see this popular rubric for evaluating online teaching tools.

Some UIC colleges and departments may have other options available to instructors. If you have questions about choosing the right multimedia creation software (a.k.a. eLearning authoring software), consult your academic department’s instructional design support, or request an appointment with one of CATE’s Instructional Designers at or one of CATE’s multimedia specialist at

Should you have any general teaching questions, please contact CATE staff at


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