Developing a Better Way to Share Recorded Workshops

Our team of educators and researchers has been working on ways to translate recordings of synchronous, live workshops (in our case, held online) into engaging asynchronous workshops to share with registrants who couldn’t attend the live event.

“I’ll watch the recording” and other lies we tell ourselves

It happens often for the naturally curious: you sign up for an interesting workshop, optimistically certain that your to-do list will remain clear so you can engage in this learning opportunity. But when the day arrives, your plan does not come to fruition, thanks to competing demands like too many meetings, a sick kid, or urgent tasks to complete.

“No worries,” you think, knowing that in this “post-COVID” era, events are recorded by default. “I’ll watch the recording.” The link arrives a couple of days after the event and you add it to the multitude of tabs in your browser. You start the recording and find you’ve been listening to three minutes of, “Thanks for coming. We’ll get started in a few minutes. Can everybody see my screen?” Your attention wanders and you begin working on other tasks. “I’ll listen later, when I’m [doing dishes/at the gym/signed onto a conference call],” you assure yourself. But later never comes, and eventually you realize you just weren’t that interested in the content or you find it from some other source.

This is the challenge our team was mulling over as we developed an online fellowship for graduate students on digital teaching & learning. Our fellows are busy graduate students and could not all attend our live workshops. But we knew the struggle of listening to a pre-recorded workshop session and trying to feel engaged, connected, or remotely enthused about the materials. Still, we thought recording the session was a valuable way to easily expand our facilitators’ reach and make the material accessible for a broader audience. Over several brainstorming sessions, we developed potential mechanisms for converting our materials from recorded workshop sessions into interactive asynchronous workshops.

Preparing to translate workshop content from synchronous to asynchronous

First, a few notes about the kinds of workshops we are developing into asynchronous materials. These workshops were designed to be interactive, allowing participants to learn from one another as well as the facilitators, reflect on their own experiences related to the topics, and usually create or begin some sort of deliverable related to their teaching. If we were presenting more webinar-type topics with less audience involvement, we would have likely come up with a different approach.

Second, as this work progressed, we found that the translation process worked best when the design of the synchronous workshops accounted for the goal of converting them to asynchronous materials. Being more verbose on slides, streamlining the mechanisms for interaction to those that work in both modalities, and ensuring file sharing is set openly enough for your audience to interact after the fact were all useful practices.

A step-by-step process of translating the content

If this were a recipe blog, this is the part you would skip to, but I promise the above content is helpful context and not just a mish-mash of AI-generated keywords for search engine optimization. Anyways, here is the step-by-step:


  • Slides or other handouts
  • Video or audio of recorded session
  • Transcript or captions of video/audio
  • Activity instructions, materials, and submission process
  • Artifacts from synchronous participants (things like a chat log, completed activities or worksheets, or reflections. We recommend getting permission from participants to share and usually share anonymously and/or with paraphrased materials).


  1. Determine the format for sharing the workshop.
    1. We have most often used a Google slide deck or PowerPoint file, but you might use a website, class management system, or other format. 
  2. Clip videos or audio.
    1. Ideally, create short video or audio clips of presenters delivering content that cannot be understood by reading the slides, links, or other workshop materials.
    2. At a minimum, dead space, introductory chatter, or audio and video of participants who did not consent to be involved in future workshop materials should be removed. 
    3. Check transcripts of the clipped video or audio for accuracy. We either use Zoom-generated transcripts (which requires caption activation at the time of the live meeting) or our institution’s automatic captioning service via Kaltura Mediaspace.
    4. Embed or link to videos in the workshop file or website. Adding captions directly to the video is best, but at a minimum, provide the transcript with the video.  
  3. Streamline slides and handouts.
    1. Remove any redundant materials from the presented video clips.
    2. Remove any interactive components that do not relate to content or workshop goals. For example, participant introductions could be removed if the goals of the workshop do not relate to building community or getting to know other participants. 
  4. Convert interactive components from the live workshop into asynchronous engagement opportunities.
    1. Use responses from the live participants as examples when possible, such as by saving the chat file, writing down participant responses or reflections from the recorded meeting, or using the same collaborative files from the live meeting (e.g., Padlet, Google slides, or Jamboards where live participants added responses) 
    2. Ensure the sharing setting of linked materials are open enough for asynchronous participation. If you are linking folks out to Google documents for them to complete worksheets or practice activities, it’s handy to know how to prompt them to make a copy of the document.
    3. Consider ways to create buy-in for asynchronous engagement as appropriate for your audience and topic, such as: setting deadlines, sending feedback to asynchronous participants, asking participants to submit their responses via email or a survey form, or asking participants to share their responses with a colleague or mentor.

Is it worth it?

We have converted two summers’ worth of workshops from synchronous versions to asynchronous offerings (which are all linked here), and spent some time reflecting on whether the translation process has been worth the effort. The answer is a resounding “It depends.” 

From a facilitator standpoint, the engagement on our asynchronous materials was disappointing. Most participants reported reading through the slides and watching the videos, but very few actually engaged in the workshop activities that the slides linked out to. Keep in mind that our audience for these workshops is relatively small, with up to ten students likely to complete each asynchronous workshop. Still, the hope was that our content would be engaging enough to spur personal reflection and active involvement in the topics and activities.

Practically speaking, these are the questions you might want to ask to guide you in whether to undertake this process from your workshop recordings:

  • How much time will it require? For us, each workshop took 2-5 hours to translate. This will depend on many factors, such as:
    • How long the original workshop is (ours were usually 90 minutes)
    • How much of the content requires video explanation or can be understood with the slides or other pre-written materials
      • Relatedly, the team’s video editing skills (although as someone who grew up using Windows Movie Maker and recently edited my first TikTok video, editing has become much more intuitive than it used to be)
    • How many activities there are to translate (and whether they were designed to be done in both modalities or not)
  • How large and potentially engaged will my audience be? If the content may have a very large or small but very engaged audience, it makes more sense to take time in the translation process. 
  • How often is the content delivered synchronously? If it’s offered regularly, you can refer your audience to the next occurrence of the workshop. (It might also make it easier to create an asynchronous version though, if the content doesn’t change regularly). 
  • How often will this need to be updated? A fairly established workshop that will likely be relevant for a reasonable period of time is a better candidate for an asynchronous translation than newer content that may need significant tweaking or consistent updates to stay relevant.
  • Is the workshop interactive enough to necessitate an asynchronous translation rather than sharing a video of the live workshop (hopefully at least edited to remove dead air) or link to the slides and materials? 

Questions and contributions

We hope our experiences help you develop more effective, engaging asynchronous materials to broaden the reach of whatever learning opportunities you are sharing. If you have suggestions or other methods you have successfully used in translating similar materials, we would love to hear about it and share. Or, if you have any questions about the specifics of the process, reach out to us at 

This article was written by Caitlin Kirby with contributions by Imari Cheyne Tetu. Our asynchronous workshop translation team included Caitlin Kirby, Imari Cheyne Tetu, Scott Schopieray, Stephen Thomas, Shannon Kelly, and Matthew Hernandez.