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What is a screencast?
A screencast is a video capture of the activity on a computer screen, which may also include audio or webcam-video narration that can be viewed on the Web. Anything that you can do on your computer can be captured as a screencast.
What are screencasts used for?
Screencasting is becoming a popular method of enhancing learning in both face-to-face and online or hybrid classes. With screencasts faculty can:
Many faculty have found that by moving parts of their lecture online, they free up class time for focusing on most difficult concepts, hands-on work, or exploratory discussion. This is commonly referred to as the "flipped classroom" approach.
Several screencasting tools exist for both Mac and Windows, but for simplicity the Center for Teaching and Learning focuses on two. As with all software, the features that come with each screencast program change as new versions are released and the price range varies depending on the features offered.
Here are the two tools that the CTL recommends and supports:
The most effective screencasts
By sticking to these guidelines, your screencast will be easier to produce, to watch, and to learn from.
Taking the time to write a learning outcome (or objective) statement can help you at each stage of screencast production. It also informs the students of what to expect.
Typically, a learning outcome is framed as a condition or activity ("After viewing this video you will be able to...") accompanied by a statement that describes a demonstrable competency. A few examples are:
If your goal is to screencast a full lecture, it's best to break it down into segments. There are both pedagogical and technological advantages to keeping screencasts shorter than 15 minutes. Allowing videos to load faster and making it easier for students to study and review them are just a couple of the benefits.
Creating your screencast will be faster and easier if you create a storyboard. This need not be a complex artistic rendering of every moment of your screencast. It can be a simple list that includes the script, the shots that you will record, and any additional materials like images or links you will need. Your storyboard will take different forms depending on what kind of screencast you are creating.
Example title slide
A basic feature to include in your storyboard is a title slide. This might also include the topic (if it's not clear from the title) and your name. The next slide might present the learning outcome statement. You might also include a Table of Contents slide which will help keep your students focused on key points.
Writing a script and practicing it are essential. You may choose to read from the script while recording or, if you find your reading voice is not as natural as speaking off the cuff, you can still use the script for practice and to help with timing. A script will guide you and help keep your screencast focused and on track. It can also be used to help provide captioning for your video.
TIP: If you're using PowerPoint, refrain from filling your slides with text and reading them, a practice that interferes with cognition because we are forced to strain to read and listen simultaneously.
When developing your story board and script, remember that visuals are often better than text. Teach with photos, illustrations, pencil sketches, graphs, or charts to keep the eyes engaged as well as the ears.
Sample storyboards with scripts:
Collect the resources that you'll need before you start. If you're using PowerPoint, you may have already embedded images and included a slide with citations. But if there are other resources to capture, such as drawing on an iPad, Wacom or other device, or if you are showing websites or videos, set everything up before you begin.
You may find some of these sites helpful in collecting resources to work with:
Screencasting can be as simple as opening your screencast program and clicking “record.” However, some attention to your environment and your tools will save time in editing and make for a more polished screencast. Here are some suggestions to prepare.
At the minimum, I have:
Below, we've listed the most essential how-to videos offered by TechSmith, the company that produces the Camtasia products. All references here are to the most current version of Camtasia for Mac (v2).
More Camtasia for Mac tutorials.
Below, we've listed the most essential how-to videos offered by TechSmith, the company that produces the Camtasia products. All references here are to the most current version for Windows, Camtasia Studio 8.
More Camtasia Studio 8 for Windows tutorials and documentation.
Screencasts should be captioned so that they're accessible to all students and are compliant with ADA laws.
Captioning provides a way to allow deaf or hard of hearing students to understand the spoken language and sounds of a film by displaying words in sync with audio. It also benefits students for whom English is a second language (ESL), English Language Learners (ELL), or individuals with certain learning disabilities, or any student for whom hearing and read the words simultaneously would aid in improving comprehension.
In order to be ADA accessible, there are specific criteria that needs to met (listed below). While it is possible to caption screencasts yourself, we recommend that you contact Student Accessibility Services for captioning your screencasts.
ADA Best Practices for Caption Timing and Positioning:
ADA Best Practices for Caption Style and Formatting:
Adapted from: Murphy, Shannon K. “The ADA and Online Captioning Standards,” 3PlayMedia. http://www.3playmedia.com/2013/09/27/the-ada-online-video-captioning-standard
Links to all Camtasia or Screencast-o-matic tutorials and instructions, including how to caption, can be found in the Getting Help section.
The CTL has regular workshops on screencasting so keep checking our calendar
As with other academic technologies, you can bring your questions to us at the Dr Is In Program.