Using Screen Capture Software to Improve Student Learning

By using Podcasts, vodcasts, and screen capture software to provide supplemental and remedial materials, instructors can focus on higher-order learning activities during class, says Dave Yearwood, associate professor and chair of the Technology Department at the University of North Dakota. In an email interview with The Teaching Professor, Dr. Yearwood shared some ideas for getting started.

Q: What pedagogical advantages does screen capture technology offer?
Yearwood: The opportunity to develop course content in a way that personalizes instruction. It is almost like having your personal tutor whose message never changes regardless of how many times you rewind or review the content. Anytime, anyplace, on demand instruction.

Q: What types of content lends itself to the screen capture format? What suggestions do you have for selecting content for this format?

  • Tutorials–how-to instructions, explanations, or clarifications–potentially better to use the Vodcast instead of the Podcast option to enhance the visual appeal
  • Demonstrations of a laboratory operation, showing a sequence of activities, or teaching software use, etc.
  • Information dissemination or instructions–anything from the syllabus, test instructions, review of a concepts or review of tests, etc.

Q: What suggestions do you have for integrating what you do online and what you do face to face?
Yearwood: The technology of screen capturing/recording allows for the creation or simulation of the kind of activities that we may do in a face-to-face setting. Being able to mimic face-to-face activities could greatly, and hopefully positively, impact what we do in online environments.

Q: What suggestions do you have for including students in recorded sessions?
Yearwood: Select students that represent the diversity within the class–gender, ethnicity, older than average students, bright or A student, a B student, a student who may be struggling, etc. The goal here is to replicate the class, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale, so that the discussions which take place will be more valuable to all students.

The expectation is that the range of questions, the interactions would appeal to most in the class because the mix of students participating in recorded sessions. With this mix, it is highly likely that questions asked will be representative of the type that peers would have.

Explanations/answers are also likely to be phrased in ways that students might better comprehend – a way to diversify approaches to problem solving and ways of explaining a phenomenon. In essence, it’s a good way to achieve peer teaching.