>I’ve recently taken up screencasting to aid in my teaching. I started with a fully online class I taught last fall and I’m planning to do a lot more of it in an in-person class this spring.
I use free software on windows machines (Camstudio) that can record a portion of screen while also recording your voice. It saves the movie as an .avi file (ugh) but then I upload it to google video and they turn it into a flash movie (just like youtube). A few cool things about how I’m using it:
- You can set the software to have the region being recorded follow your mouse around.
- You can highlight your mouse so it’s easier to see.
- Google Video does not have a limit on either file size or total number of files uploaded
- Google Video has a desktop uploader so you can upload a bunch at a time
- Google Video allows you to set the movie as private so only those you give the address to can see it.
In this post I’ll talk about how I used it in the fully online class and in a future post I’ll talk about how I plan to use it for an in-person class.
In my online class I set up groups that work on hints for the rest of the class on single homework problems. I provide for them the solution to that problem and a screencast of the solution. I simply pull up the pdf scanned copy of the solution and record my voice describing the calculations while pointing at the appropriate sketch/equation/description. The students tell me that they learn much more from that than simply reading the solution as sometimes I’m a little terse with my descriptions and often I skip (trivial?) algebraic steps.
Each week we cover a chapter in the text. Before the week starts I type up my notes on what I call a Daily outline (here’s an example). That system allows me to easily typeset equations, put in Mathematica calculations (that are adjustable on the fly!) and link to any animations I’ve made. I also put in links to other cool descriptions. Then I make a screencast of the page (see below for that same example) where I can fill in the details and walk the students through any external links.