2.6. Creating & Integrating Media, Worked Examples, & Screencasts

The creation and implementation of carefully designed media, such as screencasts and worked examples, can go a long way to support student learning (Guo et al. 2014, Brame 2015). Research suggests that worked examples are among the most effective forms of media. Among the benefits of using media as part of an asynchronous learning experience are: 

  • Efficient use of in-class time for higher-level application, with first exposure to concepts happening before class;
  • Students can review key ideas and presentations as often as needed, including for review and later integration;
  • Students benefit from captions and transcripts; research suggests that the combination of reading and hearing increases retention and command, including for students whose first language is not English. 

Media Modalities

While asynchronous content can take many different forms, this playbook will focus on two of the modalities faculty ask us about most commonly: screencasts and worked examples.

  • Recorded Lectures/Screencasts - These short videos allow for several combinations of visual and audio content from multiple sources including webcams, computer desktops, and microphones. 
  • Worked Examples/Pencasts - These tutorial-style walkthroughs are often created using a document camera or a  “Virtual Whiteboard” on an iPad and stylus.
    • Perks of Worked Examples/Pencasts:
      • Observing your process of problem-solving offers insight that goes beyond a static answer.
      • Visual cues and audio narration clarify the reasoning behind each step.
      • Explanations are synchronized with relevant diagrams/steps.
      • Learning a specific process especially benefits from self-paced, personalized learning.
    • Examples:

Before creating instructional video, screencasts, or worked examples/pencasts , pause to think about how the media will be used to enhance your teaching and align with learning objectives.

To help you prioritize and plan, start with the following questions:

  • Which topics and ideas can be covered successfully outside of class? 
  • Of those lessons, what media modality makes the most sense?
    • E.g. if live writing is important choose pencast, if you are presenting existing material from your computer choose screencast.
  • Does it already exist or will it need to be created?

Media Planning

When setting out to create media, taking the time to carefully plan and develop material before beginning production will save you lots of re-recording time and editing headaches. Oftentimes, individual screencasts can be scripted through slide-based presentations, however, if you’re starting from content developed for longer face-to-face lectures, take a few moments to prepare your content specifically for video. 

  1. Slide Aspect Ratio:
    • If your slides will appear on screen, they need to be saved as 16:9 ratio. To save your deck in this format:
    • In Google Slides, click File → Page Setup and select 16:9. 
    • In Microsoft Powerpoint, click File → Page Setup, and select On-Screen Show (16:9).
  2. Don’t embed media:
    • If during your face-to-face teaching you show videos as part of your lecture and would like to do the same in your screencast or pencast, don’t embed those materials inside of the content you record. Instead, link to those videos outside of your own media. You can ask students to watch the outside videos prior to, afterwards, or between content you’ve produced. 
  3. Cognitive overload:
    • When preparing your slideware for video, be careful not to overload the slides with too much information. 

Media Recording

Office of Information Technology currently supports Zoom and Panopto. Please refer to these collections of articles to learn more about using Zoom or Panopto to create and share your lessons, as well as others found in Knowledge Base when looking for answers to your technology questions.

Things to think about:

  • Chunking - Are you able to separate your lecture into distinct ideas? By creating a series of shorter videos that contain complete single ideas, students will be able to better access the content when reviewing material at a later date. 
  • Length - Learning media is most effective when the videos don’t go longer than seven minutes. Keep this length in mind when chunking your content. 
  • Evergreen - Is this content something that you plan to use in future semesters? By eliminating references to time such as “have a great fall break,” or references to lesson sequencing like “as you saw in the previous video,” the material you create will be more easily reusable. 
  • Activities - After viewing the lesson, what will the students do with the information? Structuring low-stakes assignments around video lessons is an easy way to incentivize students to watch. 
  • Provide multiple representations - Are you able to provide the content in multiple forms? Try sharing transcripts and slide decks alongside the video. This is a good opportunity to incorporate principles of Universal Design that will benefit all of your students.