Screencast-o-matic Screen Recorder

What is this and what is it good for?

Screencast-o-Matic is a web based service that allows you to create and host screen casts online. What, you might be asking, is a screen cast?! What a wonderful question. A screen cast captures your computer desktop as a video, and allows you to capture additional audio as voice over. “Huh?” If you’ve ever watched a video of computer screen with someone giving directions to you at the same time, you’ve seen a screen cast. Screencast-o-Matic is a free tool that allows you to record a 15 minute screen cast, and publish it online. Continue reading “Screencast-o-matic Screen Recorder”

When Feedback is Music to the Ears

When Professor Céline Perron heard Cara Meixner from James Madison U talk about how much more students hear and take action on audio visual feedback, she said “I’ve got to try that.”   Within a week she had met with CELT to get a 15 minute introduction to a tool she could use (Jing) and she was on her way.

She tried the technique in three assessments.

A lighting design project
Students first selected a painting and analyzed and researched it.  Then they created a physical lighting design inspired by the painting.

Professor Perron took a photo of their lighting design during the student presentation. Later she gave audio feedback on it via the screen capture program Jing and sent the students the link.


This student’s project was reflecting the work of Giorgio de Chirico, a metaphysical painter, precursor of surrealism. His paintings take objects out of context and put them in a new context, consciously and subconsciously.

Click the thumbnail below to see and view the audiovisual feedback on student Russell Stepan’s project:

A written critique of a professional modern dance performance giving a detailed analysis of the elements of lighting.
Students handed in the paper digitally and Professor Perron displayed it on her computer and talked through it’s good points and some improvements that could be made.  Here is the feedback on Russell Stepan’s paper on the Monica Bill Barn’s dance company.




Another assignment in which audio feedback was used was a costume design project Design for the Performing Arts. Students submitted costume designs in color on 11”X14” paper with fabric swatches pinned to the front.   Prof. Perron scanned the paper into a digital image and used the screen casting tool Jing to give detailed feedback on the design.  She sent the resulting link to the uploaded video to the student via email.

The advantages to the student were quick and apparent.  Most students loved the new way of getting feedback.  Several wrote return emails thanking the professor and expressing their enthusiasm.

Russell Stepan, the student whose work is reviewed here, feels, “for a project that doesn’t already require actual paper to be involved, I think this is definitely the way to go.  More economic and slightly more fun. The only downside is if you lose the link, you cannot check your feedback again, though the same goes for losing a paper copy as well.  In any case, I’m for it.”

Was it a time saving for the teacher? Not really a time saving, though it didn’t take any longer than writing comments freehand.  Prof. Perron still had to make notes to herself for each project to make sure she mentioned everything that needed commenting.  She still felt that overall the audio-visual feedback method was faster than typing on a paper a la TrackChanges. Also, “because I am dyslexic and writing in a second language,  using verbal comments is more effective. It’s like books on tape, but in reverse. It’s just more fun.”    In the case of the lighting design the feedback was much more precise.  She could actually point to an area of the design and talk about the lighting. “The experiment was definitely a success and one that I will continue,” said Professor Perron.

Thank you to Russell Stepan, KSC student, who allowed us to post the feedback on his projects.



Jing Basics

Jing is a desktop video program that allows you display what is on your screen and do a voice over at the same time. There is a one minute introductory video at

You will notice from the video that Jing also captures still images, but it is the video that is really powerful.

Jing videos have several advantages:

  • It’s very easy to use.
  • You can store your videos on the Jing server and just paste the url where you want it.
  • It’s free and downloadable by anyone.
  • You don’t need any special programs to view a Jing video.

You can download the program for free at All you need to use it is a microphone or headset attached to your computer. (Available at Radio Shack for around $10.)

While it is most useful in an online course, it can fill a need in a classroom course as well. You can post the urls in your BlackBoard course site. You might use it to:

  • Show how to do something on screen (for example a computer application, how to export your BlackBoard course:
  • Show how to do something on the internet (get to a site or right click to save a picture)
  • Tour a great website here:
  • Explain project directions – You don’t have to get fancy on the graphics, just display the written instructions that you already have and talk your way through them. It’s a fact that some students just get it better by hearing. Example at

If you are already a Camtasia or a Macromedia Captivate user you will want to know the differences between them and Jing:

  • There is a time limit of about 5 minutes on the Jing videos
  • You can not edit a Jing video.
  • Jing videos are produced in only one format: flash files.

However,  for “quick and dirty” audio visual broadcasts, you can’t beat Jing.