UNF Center for Instruction and Research Technology

Cirt Knowledge Base

Alternatives to Canvas Studio for Screen Recording

Online Learning Support

As we start the new year, the ever-changing landscape of education reminds us to reflect on our teaching methodologies. UNF faculty play a pivotal role in shaping the educational experiences of their students, and integrating innovative technologies can enhance the quality of instruction and student outcomes. Embracing the power of media creation tools is a step forward in providing an immersive learning experience.

For many instructors, Canvas Studio has been a cornerstone in creating and infusing multimedia within Canvas courses. Some of the key features of Canvas Studio include the ability to record webcam videos and screen capture content, upload and manage a library of videos instructors can embed in Canvas courses, and directly share various media content with students and colleagues. However, as with any technology, the Canvas Studio recording software has quirks and limitations that can frustrate the media creation process.

While CIRT still champions the use of Canvas Studio, particularly for storing media embedded in Canvas courses and fostering student engagement, we also understand the need to have readily available recording alternatives. There are several options available on the market, and we have curated a Screen Capture support collection highlighting the pros and cons of the most popular choices. In addition to externally available software options, there are built-in tools that are already installed on your computer, which may just be the simplest solution. Highlighted below are some native alternatives to Canvas Studio for basic screen recording for Mac, PC, and Chromebook users.

For Mac Users

Screenshot Toolbar

Mac users can utilize the Screenshot toolbar to capture not only screenshots but also to record their screen. To do this, press these three keys together: Shift, Command, and 5.

Shift + Command + 5

This keyboard combination will open the onscreen controls for recording the entire screen, recording a selected portion of the screen, or capturing a still image of your screen. Select Record to capture your screen. Type Shift+Command+5 again to stop your recording.

Photo Booth

Photo Booth is a built-in application on a Mac that lets you take photos and videos with your Mac’s camera. To use Photo Booth, simply:

Access Finder, select Application, and search for Photo Booth within your device’s apps menu.

Screenshot of Mac applications with Photo Booth highlighted

Open the Photo Booth application. Toggle the Video icon to create a web recording; toggle the Photo icon to capture a picture. When you are ready to record, select the red Record button.

Photo Booth recording options

QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player is a built-in media player on a Mac that can play, record, and edit video and audio files. Access Finder, select Application, and search for QuickTime Player within your device’s apps menu. Once you open the tool select File at the top of the screen and select a variety of record options from the menu provided:

  • New Movie Recording – allows users to access the web camera to record videos.
  • New Audio Recording – allows users to access the microphone to record audio only.
  • New Screen Recording – allows users to record their device’s screen.
QuickTime Player recording options

For PC Users

Camera App

The Camera app on Windows PC is a built-in app that lets you take photos and videos with your PC’s camera. It also has various features, such as applying filters and effects, adjusting the brightness and contrast, and recording slow-motion videos. To find the Camera app, select Start > Camera. Then select Photo or Video, and select it again to either take a picture or start a video recording. If you are making a video, select Video again to finish recording. To see your new photo or video, or ones you’ve taken before, select Start > Photos and choose the Collection you want to see.

Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool is a built-in utility in Windows that lets you take screenshots of your screen or parts of your screen. You can save the screenshots as PNG, JPEG, or GIF files, and share them directly to email, OneNote, or other applications on your device.

To access the Snipping Tool for screenshots, type the Windows logo key+Shift+S to open the Snipping Tool directly. Choose between the following screenshot options: (from left to right) rectangular selection, freehand selection, window, or full-screen capture. The Snipping Tool copies your screenshot directly to your clipboard, so you can paste (CTRL+V) your image into another app if needed.

Create a screen recording by opening the Snipping Tool from the Apps list. Select the Record button, then press New. Click and drag to select the portion of the screen you would like to record. Press Start, and you will see a 3-second countdown begin for your recording.

Snipping Tool recording options

After you finish, press Stop. Your recording can then be copied into memory, shared via the Share dialog, or Saved.

Xbox Game Bar

While the Xbox Game Bar is a built-in gaming overlay for Windows 10 and Windows 11, and it is free to download from the Microsoft Store, allowing users to access various gaming features and tools without leaving their game, it has a built-in screen recording and capture tool. PC users can capture screenshots, record your screen, and then share them.

PC Users can simply select in combination: Windows logo key+G to open the Xbox Game Bar. Inside the menu, you can select the Camera icon to create a screenshot, or select the Record icon to create a screen recording.

Screenshot and Screen Record options on xbox game bar

For Chromebook Users

Screenshots and Screen Recordings

You can take a screenshot or record a video of your Chromebook’s screen with a quick key combination (Shift + Ctrl + Show windows). After you capture your screen, you can view, edit, delete, and share the image or video.


You can use the Camera on your Chromebook to take photos or videos, edit and print photos, and scan documents.

To take a photo, video, or scan a document with your Chromebook, in the corner of your screen, select Launcher. Next, find and open the Camera app.

Chromebook camera app

At the bottom, choose the Video option. Within the Video option, you can create a Normal webcam recording, but you also can create a Time Lapse video or a GIF animation.

What are you waiting for?

From interactive presentations to collaborative content creation, the possibilities are vast, and the potential for transformative educational experiences awaits those ready to embrace the digital frontier. Including multimedia elements in Canvas courses are a great way to increase student engagement and bring content to life. CIRT is excited to help you discover which tools work best for you, so that you can create engaging educational experiences for your students.

Brought to You By
Online Learning Support
Support Collections

If you like this post, you might also be interested in…

Picture of Joseph Stewart
Joseph Stewart
CIRT | Coord. Online Learning Support