"Screencasting" refers to a digital recording of the action on a computer screen, and is sometimes called video screen capture. The programs visible on screen, the movement of the mouse, and the speaking voice of the presenter (captured by external microphone) are all part of the video. The overall effect is similar to imagining a video camera over the shoulder of a presenter sitting at the computer, with all on-screen action captured.
Many instructors opt to "chunk" screencasts into shorter, more digestable presentations of 15 minutes or less (sometimes as little as five minutes). Such an approach has multiple benefits, including a more narrowed focus and an increased likelihood that students will find the time to view the videos.
Commercial software has been available for years to make screencasts, including TechSmith’s Camtasia ($299) and Adobe’s Captivate ($799). These full-featured programs include every editing, mixing, and re-mastering function imaginable, and are very user-friendly. However, they are expensive.
More recently, cheaper alternatives have emerged. The table below highlights several free screencast options:
|conversion of narrated PowerPoint file into .swf movie; can upload directly to Webcourses; integrated navigation bar. Free client software needs to be installed. No time limit.|
|conversion of narrated PowerPoint file into .swf movie; can upload directly to Webcourses; integrated navigation bar. Free client software needs to be installed. No time limit. Easier file integration than AuthorPoint Lite. Also allows for YouTube embed in "regular" PPT presentations|
|five minute time limit; download output in .swf|
|Camtasia or Captivate||
|full-featured software to record screen (or individual programs); editing is possible, add effects and text, add captions.|
For assistance with any of these tools, contact the Faculty Center.
Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act specifies that reasonable accommodations toward an equivalent experience must be made for students with a demonstrated need who request accommodation. In the case of narrated videos, synchronized closed-captioning is the preferred accommodation (an unsynced separate script file, such as MS-Word, may not be considered fully accommodative).
It may be best to originally record your video while reading from a script rather than extemporaneously lecturing (since the latter would give rise to a need to transcribe your spoken words separately). Using full-screen capture (such as CamStudio.org) offers one cost-free way to display the existing video file in one part of the screen, and the appropriate close-captions in another part of the screen, perhaps via Notepad or MS-Word.
See Student Accessibility Services for further information and options.
Bruce M. Wilson
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