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Published December 15, 2013 | Multidisciplinary

It's Easy to Make Video Screencaptures!

As the flipped classroom becomes an increasingly common element of our teaching, Profweb is striving to meet the needs of teachers who find themselves producing instructional video capsules for this scenario. This article provides information to help to easily and quickly produce screencasts to record explanations for your students for free.

A video screen capture can be useful for the following tasks:

  • To explain technological procedures: How to use the features of a software;
  • To explain theory to your students, with a view towards inverted teaching: Students can listen to the explanations at will, press pause, rewind ... In short, they can learn at their own pace.

Using CamStudio

There is more than one free software to make screencasts. Among these are Jing, Screenspresso (for Windows) and QuickTime (for Mac). For this article, we have chosen to work with CamStudio, a free Windows-based software. To download CamStudio, simply go to camstudio.org and click the "Download Now" button in green "Latest Version: CamStudio 2.7."

The CamStudio interface is not the most attractive, but the software is still very functional and most importantly, easy to use. The operation of CamStudio is very simple and presented in the video below. To record your voice when making screencasts you just need a microphone which is built-in to many computers.

A Third Party Tutorial for Camstudio.

Editing Tools

Easy to use editing software includes Windows Movie Maker which is free of charge with Windows, and Apple iMovie which is included with Mac computers. YouTube also offers an online editing tool, but you'll need a free account to use it. You can easily use software, for example, to remove parts of a video, combine clips or add sound, music and subtitles.

Uploading your Video

Once your video is produced, you can share it by placing it on a YouTube channel.

On YouTube, you can create private videos (accessible only to people who are invited to see them) or semi-private (not referenced by the search engines, but accessible to anyone who knows the URL).

You can also choose to place your video in World of Images . Uploading a video to the World of Images is limited to mp4, flv or mov formats. However, it is fairly simple to convert videos from avi to mp4 formats using the freeware Windows Movie Maker (Open Movie Maker, and then import your video by clicking "Add photos and videos." Then click "Save Movie". The type of output file must be set to "MPEG-4/H.264.

In the World of Images, you can create albums to group videos which deal with the same subject. Once your video is on YouTube or on World of Images, why not embed it in a Wordpress blog hosted in the Profweb Personal Space?

Using Screen Recordings in Class

In Profweb, many stories discuss the use of video tutorials in class. It is possible to draw several conclusions from them. For example, in his story  " YouTube : Apprendre les mathémaTICs au moyen d'une classe inversée (YouTube: Learning mathematics through an inverted classroom)", Samuel Bernard explains how he prepared video capsules for all the theoretical aspects of one of his classes, with very interesting results.

Moreover, in "La publication d’un travail de recherche sur YouTube, source de motivation   (The publication of a research work on YouTube, a real motivator)", Sylvain Lefebvre explains how he asks his students to create their own video tutorials which put a very interesting twist on his teaching!

Maximize the Benefits

In his account, Samuel Bernard wrote that to prepare a fifteen minute capsule could take 3 or 4 hours including planning, recording, editing, and online uploading. It is therefore probably better to think small when starting to integrate videos into a course.

One factor to consider is your reasons for integrating your own videos into your teaching. Is it really important to you that the quality of your narration is at a professional level? Your students see you in class and are used to hearing your natural speech. If you provide a useful and informative resource, they will thank you and readily forgive you for some hesitation on screen. It is therefore not always useful to have more than one take, or use editing tools. This strategy saves time while still providing the benefits of using a video!

To maximize your chances of delivering a good performance when recording, try to segment your videos, making several short clips if possible rather than one long video. This is also advantageous for students whose attention span decreases when they listen to videos over 15 minutes long. Depending on the type of content covered, consider a length of about 5 minutes.

Stories in Profweb’s English Edition which discuss the use of videos in teaching include the following:

Yann Brouillette has created videos that reflect his interests in chemistry, film and active learning. As these films have been posted on YouTube, Profweb’s readers can use them in the classroom or as a model for other productions.

Greg Mulcair touches upon the tools that he has used to blend information technology and traditional teaching in his Physics course which is part of a pilot project for blended learning at John Abbott College.

To go further...

APOP has produced videos that you might find interesting:

If you need help to make videos that meet your needs, do not hesitate to consult your college's IT Representative.

About the Author

Catherine Rhéaume Catherine Rhéaume has been an editor and writer for Profweb since 2013. She also teaches physics at Cégep Limoilou and is a sessional lecturer for qualifying courses at University Laval. Her work for Profweb fosters her interest for technopedagogy and encourages her to try innovative teaching practices.

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