What is a Personal Capture (Screencast)?
Personal captures or screencasts are video recordings of the computer screen activity, often accompanied by audio narration. A personal capture is used primarily as a tool to deliver online lectures, presentations or demonstrate the use of computer applications. The concept of automated lectures is particularly beneficial in asynchronous teaching and learning as it provides the opportunity for students to study at a time and place that suits them best.
This learning and teaching guide aims to share some ideas on how personal captures can help enrich your learning materials and the hardware and software required to produce a good quality capture. The guide will also look at some useful tips, hints and best practises in the production of screencasts.
In general, screencasts help you;
- take advantage of the ‘flipped classroom’ concept where students study the lecture materials at home and bring the ‘home work’ to the classroom allowing more time and space for them to engage and interact with you and their peers.
- build a repository of reusable objects that contributes to the growth of content for online delivery.
In addition to this, screencasts allow students to;
- Study at their own pace – students can pause, rewind and replay video recordings until they are confident with the topic taught.
- Learn in a way that accommodates their preferred/different learning styles – use of screencasts accompanied by text accommodates visual, audio and reading learning styles.
Build the Brand and Enhance Student Experience
Personal captures are an effective way to introduce yourself to the students. You can use the web camera to record a short talking head video or include a picture-in-picture video in your slide presentations or demonstrations. This may help reinforce your ‘presence’ as a tutor and bridge the physical gap often felt by distance learners. In addition to this, you can use a screencast as an interface to further establish and strengthen the University brand by incorporating standardised templates, delivery structure and by maintaining the general look and feel. These efforts support Teesside University’s vision and mission to enhance the students’ learning experience.
You can use screencasts to deliver for the following:
Lecture / Presentation
Use PowerPoint presentation with voice over to replicate traditional face-to-face lecture.
Demonstration or tutorials
Record tutorials that demonstrate a piece of software, application, complex programming, simulation or plotting graphs/charts.
Math formula / Annotations
Explain and write math derivatives/formulas easily using a stylus pen (on a touch screen) or a graphic tablet to create the effect of a personalised learning experience. Annotations could also be used within lectures to stress key points or notes.
In an addition to providing written feedback, you can also create a screencast showing the students’ work accompanied by verbal feedback. This can be particularly useful for students who require extra assistance interpreting margin notes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Provide further explanation or add context to FAQs, assignments or project briefs to cut-down the time spent responding to individual queries.
Recording a Personal Capture
The university has invested in a brand new lecture capture system – ReView, which allows staff to record live lectures as well as create screencasts. This system is powered by a versatile video recording platform called Panopto which you can download and install in your work and home computers.
Find out more about:
- Getting Started with ReView
- How to Record a Personal Capture using ReView
- Downloading and Installing the ReView (Panopto) Recorder
Specialist Screencast Kit
The Learning and Teaching Enhancement team in Academic Registry have a specialist screencast recording facility, a work space set-up in M7.01B (Middlesbrough Tower) and a portable set-up equipped with a HD touch screen (with a stylus pen), document camera, condenser microphone and video editing software (Camtasia Studio 8). This specialist kit enables you to create professional looking screencasts. Please contact eLearning@tees.ac.uk or get in touch with a LTE staff to book this facility.
Top Tips and Best Practices
Plan Your Topic
List out lesson objectives and decide the presentation format (i.e. PowerPoint presentation, tutorial, demonstration).
Keep the presentation simple, use a set template with the university logo and School colours, ensure there is good contrast between the background and font colour, use a sans-serif font with a legible font size.
Keep to a maximum of 4-5 bullet points on each slide.
If required provide supplementary materials/activities like quizzes, hand-outs, images, working files or coding for students to engage before, after, or during a pause in the video.
Keep It Short
Ideally, each video should not exceed 15 minute.
Script to avoid unnecessary “uhms” and long pauses. Try to avoid reading or heavily relying on the script, add your own personality to the presentation. Speak clearly into the microphone.
Familiarise yourself with the screencast software, practice your piece before the actual recording.
Record in Chunks
Record 3-4 slides at a time, as it would make the editing process easy. If possible record several takes and pick the best.
Edit & Customise
Edit and customise the video to add a professional finish, and if necessary add transitions, visual elements, or text overlay.
Do’s & Don’ts
The cardinal Do’s and Don’ts before you start recording.
Simple desktop background – change your desktop background to something simple/generic, avoid distracting images.
Clear your desktop icons – place them in a temporary folder. This is quite handy when you need to minimise your window or look for folders on your computer desktop.
Close or Turn Off
Close all unrelated applications and windows on your screen.
Turn off all pop-ups, alerts and notifications (i.e. messages, meeting reminder) on your computer and on your mobile phone.
Space & Light
Find a quiet room to record – close windows and door to minimise noise and interruption.
Ensure there is enough light in the room if you are using a webcam.
Select the right resolution or recording area – Before you start recording make sure that you have selected the right window on your computer screen.
Think ahead if your demonstration for example requires other applications open, i.e. visuals/images, a screen ready for log in, table or data to be copied.