9.2. Getting Started with Video

Before your course teams can begin to upload videos in Studio, you work with edX partner support to make sure that these preparatory tasks are complete.

After these tasks are complete, your course teams can upload original video files in .mp4 or .mov format to Studio, and then add the videos to a course.


The tasks described in this section rely on the use of third-party tools and software. Because these tools are subject to change by their respective owners, the steps provided here are intended as guidelines and not as exact procedures.

9.2.1. Identify Video Administrators

Each partner institution identifies one person, or more often several people, to be video administrators. The video administrators periodically use the YouTube Content Management System (CMS) to access the video files that are hosted by YouTube and the reports that YouTube produces.

Video administrators use the CMS to access your YouTube channels, the videos associated with those channels, and YouTube’s reporting tools. In general, the CMS enables an administrator to:

  • Manage ownership of files hosted on YouTube.
  • Create a YouTube channel that is linked to your YouTube account for each course.
  • Download reports and other analytics that measure views.

Video administrators also work with course teams and edX partner support to distribute information and resolve questions about video files.

EdX recommends that organizations identify specific individuals to be the video administrators for all of your courses. By working with the edX team over time, the video administrators can develop repeatable and consistent procedures for managing your video assets.

9.2.2. Establish Access to YouTube Account Video Administrator Access to the Account

For video administrators to use the YouTube CMS, they must have administrative access to your CMS account. Because account access is granted to specific email addresses, edX partner support works with one of your video administrators to set up an email address specifically for this purpose and give it administrative privileges.

This procedure only needs to be completed once and can be done by one of the video administrators. Establishing Access to the Account

  1. Create a single Google email (Gmail) account. The recommended format for the account name is your edx.org member identifier followed by “CMSmanager”. For example, HarvardXCMSmanager@gmail.com or MITxCMSmanager@gmail.com.

  2. Send the email address to edX partner support at partner-support@edx.org.

    On receipt, the partner support team adds the Gmail address to your YouTube CMS account and gives the account administrative privileges. This process results in an activation message that is sent to your CMSmanager Gmail account. Access to the CMS account is not provided until activation is complete.

  1. Check the Gmail account for the activation message from YouTube. These messages are typically routed to the Gmail “Social” inbox.
  2. To activate the account, click the “Visit the sign-up page” link in the email message. A browser opens to the YouTube signup page.
  3. Click Use existing Google account. You can now access the CMS account.

All of your video administrators use the same Gmail account to log in to the YouTube CMS. This approach helps ensure that staffing changes do not interrupt your access to the YouTube account. Video administrators can also add channel managers, who have limited administrative access to specific channels in your account.

9.2.3. Create YouTube Channels About YouTube Channels

For each course that your institution offers, a video administrator creates a YouTube “channel” to store that course’s video files. A channel is, essentially, a folder or directory that stores the video files that play on YouTube. Organizing your video files into channels by course simplifies file delivery and management. YouTube also collects analytics for each channel that you create. CMS Analytics offers reports and data that can help you evaluate channel and video performance, including views, subscribers, watch time, and more. Creating YouTube Channels


This procedure only needs to be completed once per course, but it must be complete before the course team begins to add videos to the course in Studio.

  1. In your browser, access YouTube by going to https://cms.youtube.com.
  2. Use your CMSmanager Gmail address for video administrators to log in to the CMS account. The email address that you log in with is the owner of any channels that you create.
  3. In the navigation bar at left, click CHANNELS. A list of your channels appears.
  4. Above the list of channels click Create New. A popup window opens.
  5. Leave the check boxes under Permissions unselected, and then click Continue. (You can change the channel’s permission settings at any time.) The popup window presents fields for information about the channel.
  6. Provide a channel name that clearly and uniquely identifies the course. Example channel names include Water201x and Foundations of Chinese Thought.
  7. For the category, select Company, Institution, or Organization.
  8. Agree to the terms and then click Done. The list of channels now includes the channel that you just created.
  9. Contact edX partner support at partner-support@edx.org. After you create the channel for a course, the partner support team can enable the video upload feature for that course in Studio.

Optionally, give management access to the channel to members of the corresponding course team. Adding a Channel Manager

Video administrators can grant management access to each YouTube channel to members of the corresponding course team. Management access allows team members to perform limited administrative tasks, such as revising YouTube titles or changing a video’s thumbnail. To provide these permissions, a video administrator obtains the email addresses of one or more course team members and invites them to manage the channel.


Video administrators use YouTube, but not the YouTube CMS, to add channel managers.

  1. In your browser, use the CMSmanager email address to sign in to YouTube at https://www.youtube.com. A list of the channels in your account appears.

  2. Select a channel. The page refreshes to display options and information about the channel.

  3. In your browser, update the URL to https://www.youtube.com/account. The account information page opens.

  4. Click Add or remove managers. A list of the current channel managers appears.

  5. Click Add managers. A popup opens.

  6. Supply the email address of a course team member and click Invite. An activation message is sent to the email address.

  7. Advise the course team member to expect and respond to the email message to activate the channel manager account. Activation must be complete for management access to be granted.

    See steps 4-5 for establishing access to a YouTube account.

Course team members who complete the activation process are channel managers. When they log in to YouTube at https://www.youtube.com using the email address that has channel manager privileges, they can manage course content.


It takes up to 24 hours to complete the automated encoding and hosting process for each video file that a course team uploads in Studio. Channel managers cannot use YouTube to work with the resulting hosted file until after the process is complete.