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Instructional Design & Support

Creating Online Lectures with Microsoft PowerPoint


PowerPoint with voiceover can be a very good choice for creating an online lecture. It adds a human touch to your slides and allows you to provide information in addition to the visuals on the slides, such as voice explanations of a graphic, definitions, facts, and examples. You can easily create a narrated slide presentation using the voiceover feature in PowerPoint for Windows, or PowerPoint for Mac in combination with QuickTime.

After recording your presentation, you may notice that the file size is very large (because of the embedded audio) and wonder how to provide such a file to your students.  The answer is that, to reduce file size, you must convert your file to video.  After doing so, you can upload your video to a media storage/sharing site and post a link to the video on your Blackboard Learn course site.

Advantages for Student Learning

Research has shown that students learn as much with online/web lectures with voiceover as they do in a traditional in-class lecture (Lents & Cifuentes, 2009). Students have indicated a preference for simultaneous display of visual and audio content (i.e. video/lecture and voice together) rather than separate (Griffin, Mitchell, & Thompson, 2009).


A possible downside to PowerPoint with voiceover is that the quality of your presentation can be limited by the quality of the equipment to which you have access and the area in which you record the voiceover.

When to Use PowerPoint with Voiceover

Below are examples of situations in which the use of PowerPoint with voiceover would be advantageous.

The Situation PPT with voiceover will allow you to…
You are already familiar with PowerPoint. record and add audio to your slideshow.
Your existing PowerPoint slides contain animations and transitions. sync your narration to each animation.
After recording your PowerPoint with voiceover, you noticed instances where you wish you had worded things differently. re-record narration on individual slides.
You need a stand-alone, self-running presentation that students can watch to learn on their own. convert to self-contained video.


Examples of PowerPoint with Voiceover Videos

Dr. Sally Harris, English

Dr. Harris created these online lectures as part of a learning module in Canvas.
English 295: Writing in the Workplace Lecture Part 1 and Part 2

Dr. Cindy Welch, Information Science

A lecture in an online course. It also serves as a demonstration tool for students who have a choice of using PowerPoint with voiceover to complete one of the course assignments.

The University of Tennessee Student Services

An online presentation for students that shows that PowerPoint with voiceover does not need to be boring! Produced by OIT’s Instructional Development and Training Team.
Introduction to uTrack

Dr. Sherry Bain, Educational Psychology and Counseling

PowerPoint with voiceover helped this instructor deliver her lectures successfully and quickly in her first online course.
Freud: Defense Mechanisms

Ease of Use

Using PowerPoint and applying voice narration is typically one of the easiest ways to create an online lecture and to repurpose existing PowerPoint slides.  Once you have your slides, you have only to add your narrative.

For assistance, refer to OIT’s Online Instructor Toolkit or contact OIT for a consultation.

Cost and Storage


If you already have PowerPoint on your computer, the only costs you may incur is the purchase of a microphone.


OIT encourages you to discuss with its staff how to provide your students access to your videos. Possible solutions for storing your videos include:

Contact OIT for assistance.

Is PowerPoint with Voiceover Right for Me?

Only you can evaluate whether or not PowerPoint with voiceover can meet your needs for creating online lectures, but the questions below may help you think it through.

The Situation

Want to quickly add narration to your slides? Consider using PPT with voiceover.
Want to include elements that require interaction between students and the video? Another method may be preferred.
Require basic editing features? Consider using PPT with voiceover.
Could require closed captions? Consider using PPT with voiceover.