Creating Evergreen Videos

We all want our course videos to be “evergreen”.

What does evergreen mean? It means to the extent possible, the video should stand the test of time. It should maximize its relevance.

An evergreen video is one that you don’t have to perform surgery on every time a small detail changes.

To make your educational videos evergreen, the first thing you need to do is contextualize it by topic, not time.

Why? Because a surefire way to make your video less relevant is to date it.

A typical example follows: a subject matter expert is giving an academic talk to a live audience and, as is typical, their opening slide contains a date. Many presenters are used to that format, so when they record a similar talk for video, their first slide has a date or a lecture on it.

The image below shows a Canvas page, in which a video has been embedded. Notice the date and lecture number in the thumbnail.



The first time the professor shares the video with students, it’s fine. But two years later, when the instructor teaches the same course again, it’s out of sync. And if the instructor has changed the sequence of topics, “Introduction to Waveforms” might not be lecture one.

This puts the instructor in the position of having to edit their video. The goal becomes to eliminate the inaccurate footage, which is usually just a few seconds at the beginning. But for many people, even this simple edit is a big lift because learning video editing can be complex. (If you’re in this position, learn more about simple edits here.)

If, however, when you’re creating your video you contextualize it by topic, you can avoid an edit session. The video becomes a modular element in your overall course design.

The image below shows how this can be done.


Again, the video is embedded in a page. But this time, the lecture number is featured in the module item name.

Text in a module name, item or page can be easily edited. Video, on the other hand, is more tricky. While it is possible to edit videos and insert footage that updates the video, it’s a lot easier to edit the text on a page or module name.

Bottom line: To preserve your video’s relevance, save the ephemeral details for media that’s easy to edit, like text.