What are Screencasts?
Screencasts are video clips, ususally of captured computer screen content, they can have accompanying audio commentary or some have text call-out comments instead. Typical screencasts may be of a PowerPoint presentation with audio commentary, or demonstrations of how to use particular features of computer software packages. We have some screencast guides on the ipark website here.
Case Study 1 - Screencasting to replace lectures on the Introduction to Critical and Cultural Theory module
Asynchronous 1 hour lecture delivered via Blackboard as an online movie with audio track synchronised to PowerPoint slides and chapter navigation. Suitable for unlimited numbers of students on multiple sites
Learning objectives for the class understanding and analysis of key ideas in Critical and Cultural theory based on set readings of primary texts.
Click the image to view an example of the screencasts
Prior to the session:
All students undertake prescribed reading of primary texts, secondary commentary and literary texts so that they all have a shared knowledge of the issues raised by the texts and the difficulties they present.
During the Session:
The lecture is asynchronous and navigable, so that the precise manner in which the learning resource is used may vary from student to student. The common elements of the lectures are:
- Contextualisation of primary texts, which helps to account for some of the difficulties the texts present to students encountering them for the first time.
- Identification and explication of the most important concepts, using written and spoken language as well as coherent narrative, schematic diagrams and vivid images in order to support learning and reinforce understanding through a variety of preferred learning styles.
- Application of abstract concepts to a series of concrete examples.
- Reinforcement of prior learning through a spiralling curriculum that encourages students to compare and contrast different theoretical concepts at points of convergence.
Follow up activity:
Students discuss issues arising from the set reading and the lecture in seminars, and subsequently include reflective analysis of readings, lectures and seminars in a personal learning journal. The nature of the curriculum also encourages students to recall and re-examine concepts in later weeks.
Case Study 2 - Screencasting used for Revision for a Business Module
The project within the Business School was to record a series of screencasts for Management, Work and Society, a final year undergraduate module. These were to be launched in the final week of the teaching term to be used for independent revision. Each screencast consisted of a series of slides, summarising key points from the lectures. Accompanying the slides was an audio narrative, explaining and expanding on the points. The narrative was also available as an MP3 download so that they could be listened to independently of the slides. Narratives lasted between eight and eleven minutes, with 16 screencasts being recorded in total.
The module is theoretically based, introducing new ideas and concepts not previously addressed on the course. From student feedback many find the material challenging though enjoyable. The screencasts were a tool to support the revision process and were not a replacement for the lecture but summaries of key points to underpin student understanding. Lecture material was to a greater depth and students would have to expand their revision from the screen casts to achieve high grades. When launching the screencasts it was made clear that these were part of the revision process and not a complete replacement for personal revision.
The opportunity to add narrative to the slides was important as lecture notes and presentations do not always convey complex ideas for some learners. An additional benefit from the project was that a dyslexic student within the group welcomed alternative forms of material to support his learning.
The screencasts were available through Blackboard. The module already utilises Blackboard for all lecture materials and a weekly information bulletin. The screencasts were therefore available within a currently utilised communication forum to ease access and increase usage.
- Camtasia Studio - commercial. Good tool enabling simple editing of screencasts, integrates into PowerPoint if required
- Captivate - commercial Adobe prodcut
- Jing - free sofware to download, free version limits screen recordings to 5 mins
- Screenr - free online tool, works well with Twitter
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Peterson, E. (2007). Incorporating Screencasts In Online Teaching. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(3).
Phillips, R., Gosper, M., McNeill, M., Woo, K., Preston, G., & Green, D. (2007). Staff and student perspectives on web based lecture technologies: Insights into the great divide. Paper presented at the Ascilite Conference 2007.
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