What do I need to consider?
Students engage when a screencast is succinct and the speaker is engaging; they are not too worried about high production values in regards to aesthetics (so long as any visuals are clear to see).
Typically, engaging screencasts are:
- informal/conversational in tone (for presentation tips, see ‘How do I create a quality recording?‘)
- short (use screencasts as part of a suite of complementary learning activities, which breaks down lecture material into manageable topics)
The following tips on this webpage give suggestions for planning engaging screencasts.
Why aim for short videos?
It might be tempting to translate an entire lecture into one single recording, but that approach is not representative of the typical lecture/seminar experience in which discussion, questions and activities take place.
- Extensive one way transmission of content results in a very passive learning experience and may result in only surface level learning. Consider screencasts as a component of delivery, part of a mix of activities and content you might offer.
- Shorter videos avoid information overload. Sitting in front of long videos can be fatiguing for staff and students alike.
- Students want to be as time-efficient as possible and are likely to flick between videos and sections of videos. Shorter can promote better engagement.
- Shorter, topic-based videos reduce time spent recording and editing
The TEL webinar clip below discusses 'How long should my screencast be?'
How do I plan an engaging screencast?
The TEL webinar clip below discusses 'How do I plan an engaging screencast?'
1.Start by thinking about the topic; how could information be grouped and sequenced?
- Where are the natural breaks in the topic? Can these inform the grouping of information?
- How can you "chunk" your existing lectures into smaller parts? Can you provide other learning materials via Blackboard to reinforce and add to the topics in your screencasts?
2. Once you have established the topic grouping/sequencing, can you go further to shorten the video?
- Can the video be shorter if the topic is supplemented by other existing sources?
Rather than producing an hour-long screencast, provide key information and signpost to further reading (via.Talis Reading List) or other resources such as .LinkedIn Learning or BoB.
- Can the topic be segmented into a table of contents?
As well as helping you group information and decide on how many screencasts to record, a table of contents is particularly useful when recording an instructional video (where students are likely to skip between sections to repeat information). The following LinkedIn Learning video gives tips on creating a table of contents for an instructional screencast.
- What activities could supplement teacher-led discussion of the topic?
Consider designing activities to engage students with the content. For example, formative (automatically marked) tests or a worksheet for upload to an informal ungraded submission point. These activities might make for a shorter video presentation, more can be found on the Designing Learning Activities webpages.
3. Ask yourself, do you really need a script to talk about the topic?
- Script writing may be useful when communicating procedural information, where some precise wording is essential. The following LinkedIn Learning video gives tips about scripting an instructional screencast.
- A screencast will likely be more engaging when the speaker is using a conversational tone, which is difficult to achieve with a script,
As an alternative to developing a script, consider:
- using bulleted lists, post-it notes or a flowchart to prompt your speaking and keep the recording concise
- modelling reflection and enquiry as you speak, as you explore the topic through your speaking
- noting the types of questions and reflections that arise in the topic, then include them in the recording to give a sense of dialogue about the topic (this also helps students make links between concepts and encourages deeper thinking beyond surface level absorption).
Is there a suggested template I can use?
If you require slides in your screencast, see the university Design and Print Studio web pages for access to university MS Office templates
If you are looking for help planning a narrative structure for your screencast, the table below may provide useful suggestions to get started.
|What is the focus of the recording?
How would you introduce this topic in a face-to-face environment?
How would you engage the students? For instance, you might begin with an example, a thought-provoking question or a discussion of how this content relates to their daily lives.
|What are the intended learning outcomes after the student has watched the recording? How does the screencast fit into the wider topic/course?|
|What readings are relevant to the screencast? How and when should students encounter these materials?
Will students be able to identify content related to the screencast, could you signpost students during the recording or use the icons from the Module Roadmaps and Weekly Plans?
Assignments or submission links
|How will students gauge their understanding of the content?
Assessment discussion may motivate students to re-watch screencasts or focus on specific sections.
|Will you weave the above sections into the body of the recording or frontload?
How will you sequence information, to build understanding and make links to wider concepts?
Recap / Wrap-Up
|What were the key points covered in the screencast?
How can you tie together the content and activities?
Where can students go to obtain more information? For instance, you might provide external links and additional resources.