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‘Snackable content’: developing effective bite-size video screencasts to support undergraduate psychology students’ learning.

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Edited by Vicki McDermott-Thompson, Thursday, 16 Jan 2020, 21:17

H818 Conference Abstract

The use of screencasts as an instructional technology is growing significantly in higher education (Wakeman, 2013). Screencasts are bespoke, typically short, digital videos which involve an audio voiceover talking over a ‘screenshot’ or series of ‘screenshots’ which are displayed on a computer screen (or other compatible device). It has been argued that screencasts offer a way to open up education beyond the confines of the classroom (Miller & Zhao, 2017), but that effective development of screencasts is dependent on a number of factors including:

  • Perceptions of innovations in higher education (Shneckenberg, 2009).
  • Appropriate hardware (infrastructure) and software (tools) (Ehlers, 2011).
  • Technological skills, competence and confidence of the practitioner (Soden, 2017).
  • Pedagogical ‘fit’ with practitioners practice and student need.
  • Adequate time to prepare, develop and create content.

A combination of factors can therefore act to facilitate or inhibit the creation of effective screencasts. Research into screencasts tends to focus upon how students perceive screencasts for learning, how they use them and why. Whilst it is important to understand the way that students respond to the use of technology as part of their learning experiences, capturing the views and perspectives of practitioners (in this case higher education lecturers)  is vital when taken with what is known about what makes for an effective screencast (Sugar et al. 2004).

Taking this as its starting point, this project will focus on the practitioners perspective and consider ‘what works’ and ‘what doesn’t work’ in regards to developing screencasts by drawing on research literature and first-hand perspectives of educators to explore why technology was used in their teaching and what they aimed to achieve through incorporating it into their practice. Drawing on practitioners’ experiences, and under the theme of implementation as it relates to the development of screencasts, this presentation will explore current best practices for producing effective screencasts to engage learning. The presentation will be accompanied by a multimedia resource which draws together 'what works', providing advice and tools for 'How to Make a Good Screencast'. 

The use of screencasts is continually evolving and they can be utilised effectively across a range of domains including training, staff development, teaching and blogging (Ruffini, 2012). This presentation is therefore likely to be of interest to a wide range of practitioners, both inside and outside the higher education context within which the project is situated.

You can view a multimedia poster about my conference presentation here: https://biteable.com/watch/final-poster-2419028

For more information about the H818 Conference go here: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/OU-H818/ 

Reference list

Ehlers, U-D. (2011) ‘Extending the territory: From open educational resources to open educational practices’, Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 1-10.

Miller, D. B. & Zhao, A. (2017) Opening Up Higher Education with Screencasts. In: Jhangiani, R. S. & Biswas-Diener, R. (eds) Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science. Pp. 125-138. London: Ubiquity Press.

Ruffini, M. (2012) Screencasting to Engage Learning [Online]. Available at https://er.educause.edu/articles/2012/11/screencasting-to-engage-learning (Accessed 7 January 2020).

Schneckenberg, D. (2009) ‘Understanding the real barriers to technology-enhanced innovation in higher education’, Educational Research, vol. 51, no. 4, pp.411–424.

Soden, B. (2017) ‘The Case of Screencast Feedback: Barriers to the use of Learning Technology’, Innovative Practice in Higher Education, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1-21.

Sugar, W., Crawley, F. & Fine, B. (2004) ‘Examining teachers’ decisions to adopt new technology’, Educational Technology and Society, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 201-213.

Wakeman, C. (2013) ‘The Innovative use of Screencasts in Higher Education’, Innovative Practice in Higher Education, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 1-5.


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