Screencasting! Using Video to Guide Student Understanding

On Thursday, 10/1/15, Lisa Prospert (Dietetics) and Jason Pellettieri (Biology) gave a presentation on how they use videos to guide student learning. While Lisa and Jason have the same goal in mind, their approach to creating videos is different.

Screencasting approach:
(Screencasting is the capture of  the action on your computer screen while you are narrating)

Lisa was driven by a desire to stay on track with the Nutrition Science classes she teaches but the back-to-back, multiple snow days during the 2015 spring semester created a challenge for her and her students so she decided to try something new.

Presenting her lectures with a narrated PowerPoint would give her students the opportunity to learn the material and the addition of a playback option would provide a chance to review content multiple times. Topics that involved calculations such as how to calculate food exchanges for meal plans were especially helpful but she quickly learned that audio embedded in PowerPoint files are huge making it cumbersome for student to easily download, listen and review.

She’s learned that mimicking a full lecture wasn’t what she wanted nor what her students needed and has since adopted the 8-10 minute mini-lecture format using a combination of Quick Time or Explain Everything to create her screencasts, and YouTube and Canvas for delivery.

Lisa’s advice for faculty colleagues is as follows:

  • Invest in a good microphone;
  • Create an outline of what you want to say. Even though you teach and are used to lecturing, a video needs to be succinct and to the point;
  • Create your video in a quiet environment.

Example: Dietary Exchanges Creating a Meal Plan created by Lisa Prospert
Using Explain Everything

Video production approach:
Jason’s motivation came from a semester long lab project in his upper level Developmental Biology class where students spent a lot of class time conducting experiments which meant there was a lot less time to cover content. The logical solution was to flip the classroom and create online lectures so his students had more time honing their lab techniques. He began scouring the internet for high quality video lectures but what he found did not meet his standards. Undeterred he created his own lectures narrating his PowerPoints using Screen Flow screencasting software but he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to create something he and others could use over and over again and so producing a high quality lecture became his primary motivation.

Jason received a small grant and built a home studio complete with a rear projection screen and a writable surface. He received permission to use drosophila videos from other sources and began his project. He created a lecture outline, learned how to edit with Final Cut Pro, and practiced. And practiced some more. He ended up producing a series of five videos with over 50,000 You Tube views!

Example: Online Developmental Biology: Introduction to Drosophila created by Jason Pellettieri
Using Final Cut Pro

Lisa and Jason have different approaches but the result is the same: their students can review material multiple times and are ready with questions when class time rolls around allowing for deeper in-class discussions and gives Jason’s students more time to do lab experiments.

Software mentioned during presentation

Software Best uses Pros and cons
Quick Time Image and screen capture;

Very basic editing

Best for Mac users and is simple to use
Explain Everything Freehand drawing or calculations on a tablet;

Similar to Khan academy presentations.

$4 app for iOS and Android
Canvas – My Media Create screencasts, webcam videos, or upload existing files to Canvas. Easy to embed in discussion boards, assignments, and pages. Embedded in Canvas so it’s easy to repurpose in any Canvas course.



ScreenFlow Mac only


Final Cut Pro High quality video editing;




Best Practices for Screencasting

NEW March 2017 – Kaltura CaptureSpace Overview


Do Screencasts Really Work? Assessing Student Learning through Instructional Screencasts


1 on 1 Feedback

What is the most powerful teaching tool there is? Probably one on one feedback about a student’s performance.  A new iPad video tool, Coach’s Eye, can help you do that.

Coach’s Eye, as the name suggests, was developed for critiquing a physical performance like swimming, track and tennis. It does that “swimmingly”… but it has the potential to give one on one feedback to any student performance:

  • Dance
  • Conducting
  • Theater performance
  • Student teaching
  • Nurse-patient interactions
  • Student presentations

It works like this: With your iPad you make a video of a student performance. You can then re-run the video while you do an audio commentary, stopping the film and commenting, drawing on the film. It’s your own Beli-strator.

The review of the video could be done in many ways:

  • By the student themselves
  • By the student first and then the teacher
  • By the student and teacher together
  • By the teacher alone and sharing the resulting video with a student

Each method would result in the kind of feedback that a student would hear and value. It’s a powerful tool that would not only engage students but result in real learning.

Here is a sample from the Coach’s Eye website:  swing

Notice that there is nothing professional about the video-taking. It’s all in the expertise of the commentator.

After watching that video I feel like I could take a swing and do better!

Right now, all the examples on the Coach’s Eye website are physical education.  But I can see that changing as teachers discover this tool and flood the pages with examples in many disciplines.  How could you use this in your discipline?


Is the Flipped Classroom right for you?

You’ve heard the buzz phrase ‘flipping the classroom.’

What does it mean? Students watch your lecture on video outside of class. You can record your own lecture with your webcam, or find a similar one from an OER (open educational resources) database. In-class time is for homework. Or discussion. Or team projects. Have the class work together. Apply the principles from the video to a real world situation.

The flipped classroom is based around the idea that lecture-based classrooms can instill passive learning so that when the student goes to complete the work on her own there is a greater opportunity for failure. They call the flipped classroom a hot topic, but is it something for you to consider implementing as a teacher? Let’s look at some of the strengths and weaknesses to this model.

“Devoting class time to application of concepts might give instructors a better opportunity to detect errors in thinking.”
Educause Whitepaper


  • Student engagement
  • Improved student success


  • Increased workload
  • Difficulty in adopting new learning/teaching models.

I hope the disadvantages of this model don’t come across as deal breakers. The great thing is that there are fewer technology barriers than ever before. We have the technology. Why not use it? Why not take advantage of the structure we have in place to mix things up a bit and improve the system all together?

Your LMS at Keene State, whether it’s Blackboard or Canvas, supports the creation and dissemination of the kinds of rich media that make the flipped classroom possible.

For more information on creating video lectures in Blackboard, see the tutorial here

For more information on creating video lectures in Canvas, click here