Examples of Effective Screencasts

Are you intrigued by the idea of moving some of your lecture content out of class? Is there a common confusion your students have – and you have often wished you could point them to a simple explanation? Consider making your own class video. Some faculty have moved ALL of their lectures out of class time, but others make only one or two videos to solve a particular need. Either way, knowing how to create a short, clear video is a great skill for your teaching tool belt.

Once you have decided to create a video for your course, decide how best to display your content. The simplest video is to show powerpoint slides, with your voice as audio while you move through the content. But this format is not ideal for all disciplines, particularly ones that need to show drawings, processes and equations. Here are some examples of other video types being used at UCI.

Faryar Jabbari (a professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) uses content videos for his flipped and online courses on dynamics. He hired an undergraduate to neatly pre-write a majority of his lecture notes in Windows Journal, and he provides these starter notes as colored pdfs to students. During the video, he adds writing to the pages and explains the concepts.

Dr. Jabbari used a Windows Tablet PC and a stylus for viewing and annotating the Windows Journal pages. He used the Camtasia Relay recorder via UCI Replay to capture the audio and screen.

Sharon Block (an associate professor in History) teaches a 130-student lower-division course on the history of sexuality in the US. She uses multiple small assignments to give students practice writing in the discipline. In order to give them additional feedback, she created a short supplemental video of her evaluations of sample answers.

Dr. Block used Microsoft Word to show the text, and the Camtasia Relay recorder via UCI Replay to capture the audio and screen.

Pavan Kadandale and Brian Sato (PSOE and SOE Lecturers in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry) jointly created an online version of biochemistry. Their videos focus on slides, but also contain a small picture-in-picture of their own faces to increase student attention:

Even though the instructors change during the course, the format and notetaking is the same for the students. Both Dr. Sato and Dr. Kadandale used Powerpoint and Camtasia Studio for their lectures. When writing on the slides, they used a Wacom tablet.

Diego Rosso (an associate professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering) prefers to write on the board while he lectures in his face-to-face physical-chemical treatment processes course. When he converted his class to a flipped format, he experimented with both powerpoint screencasts and the paper-and-camera writing, shown below. Students told him they liked the handwritten videos better.

Dr. Rosso used a webcam pointed downward to capture his writing, and a desk lamp for lighting. His mic was an Audio-Technica USB mic., and he used Camtasia Studio to capture the webcam input and audio.

As you can see, there are many different methods to generate clear and effective video resources for your course. For a free consultation on the best videos for your needs, contact Megan Linos, Director of Instructional Design, wlinos@uci.edu .