What is embed code and how do I use it?

You may have heard the term “embed code” bandied about when people refer to publishing video into a course module or a blog post. Well, what is it? How does it work, and how do I get it? How is it different than uploading a video into a course module? We have answers!

In short, embed code is intended to make it possible to publish a video into a web page without actually uploading the video into it.

It enables you to “pipe” a video from another location directly into your course or page by streaming it from the publisher’s server rather than yours (or your course’s). This is optimal because video takes up a lot of server space and stresses webserver bandwidth use. In other words, it’s a really good idea to use embed code to publish a video!


What is embed code?: Embed code is a chunk of text that identifies the source of a video, its dimensions, and what kind of movie player it should play in. The code instructs your web browser to “phone home” to the location of the video, get its title information, frame it properly, and then serve up some player controls for the user.


Where does it come from?: Video publishing outlets like YouTube, Vimeo and other hosts for video content include a button (usually a Share button) next to the video itself that will generate embed code for you, sometimes with a box to type in custom player dimensions.

You can then copy the text (PC: CTRL + C, Mac: CMD + C), and then paste it wherever you want to place the video (we’ll get into that later in this post). In my experience, I paste the embed code into a text document as a temporary station until I have the course module or page open to paste it into it.

 In YouTube: Follow the steps by number

embed code


In Moodle:

HTML mode

How do I use it?: Embed code is not normal text – it is a combination of HTML and javascript. In order for your embed code to work, go into HTML mode (see above). This will load a panel for you to paste in your embed code (see below).

Once you have pasted the embed code into the panel and clicked Update, you are done, but you will not see the video in your content area yet. To see the video, save the Page or Post and view it from the usual course display mode.

moodle html paste


What’s the difference between embedding and linking?: When you embed a video, you are literally programming the video to display in the location you want it, such as in your course module or web page.

With linking, the student will click on it and then they will be taken out of the page to the publisher’s website to play the video. There’s nothing wrong with linking to a video, though it is better that the student stays inside their course environment whenever possible.

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