A screencast is a video capture of the computer screen with audio narration. Teaching staff can use screencasts to give feedback to students, for example about assessment criteria. Screencasts make it easy to point to specific instances of a criterion in the text itself as the presenter can highlight and select text in real time.
Which tool to use to produce screencasts
The University has a campus licence for Panopto software, which is fully integrated in the Canvas virtual learning environment. If you need to record only what you are demonstrating on your screen (together with audio narration), you can elect to switch off the video source when using Panopto:
See our guide: Tools for screencasting and webcasting
10 tips for making great screencasts
- Chunk it up. Organise what you’re going to talk about in clearly defined sections. For example, when giving feedback on a student submission, talk about structure, themes, referencing and so on.
- Get the tone right. Decide how formal you want the delivery to be. Reading from a script can produce stilted results.
- Signposting. Start the screencast with a summary of what you’re going to do.
- Chose a quiet, non-echoey space. Record in a carpeted teaching room, for example.
- Keep it brief. Research has shown that students prefer short videos, less than six minutes in length. This also helps if they are viewing on a mobile device and therefore don’t want large files.
- Good audio. Research has shown that clear video can be spoilt by crackly or low-quality audio. Try to buy (or borrow) a good quality headset.
- Reduce clutter. When showing the screen, only show students the relevant information. Avoid showing multiple windows open. Magnify the screen if necessary to help get the message across.
- Relax. It does not have to be perfect. Try a few different recordings and chose the best.
- Test it. Play the screencast to friends, family or preferably students themselves!
- Futureproofing. Consider whether this screencast could serve several purposes. Could you reuse it next year? Perhaps you could give student feedback using a generic example?
Alternatives to screencasting
If you don’t need to record the screen as you talk, you could use Canvas’ Speedgrader. This allows teachers to annotate student submissions, and give video and audio feedback separately.