Niagara University CCTL Conference on Teaching & Learning


Simple, Cheap, and Easy Video for You and Your Students

Screencasting for Pedagogy

Free up classtime.  Create repeatable mini-lessons.  

Tool Demos

Two Geography Tools

Footnotes in Google Docs

Google Drive for Canisius Students

Google Drive for Work in a Course

Screencasting with Screencast-O-Matic I

Screencasting with Screencast-O-Matic II

Before You Create Your Own Screencasts

  • Good videos already available on YouTube?  
    • For example, this one, for iMovie, is pretty good
    • Can you find a video without distracting advertising?  
    • Are the videos you find too long, or contain inappropriate or irrelevant content?
  • Make non-course-specific videos useable across your courses?  Useable by colleagues?
  • Collaboration with colleagues, Teaching & Learning, IT staff?
  • Best: usable by anyone.

Assessment: Basic Video Production

Students learn basic digital creation and analysis skills for video media. Just some possibilities:

  • Public television-style documentary. 
    • Ken Burns, Frontline, etc.
    • Simple slide-shows.  Video clips.  Graphics.
  • Mini-lessons. 
    • Explainers: students demonstrating or teaching procedures or concepts.  
    • Can become OERs for other students, classes, world.   

Procedural Considerations

  • Use screencasts to teach or demonstrate procedures outside classtime.
  • Budget/factor in time/effort: students should expect to learn to create, deliver, and troubleshoot video projects.
  • Provide suggestions or requirements on tools: 
    • video production software or applications.  
    • Delivery: ex. YouTube?  LMS?  
    • Hardware: Camera? Most likely a microphone.  
  • Can Teaching & Learning and IT support staff help?  
  • Anticipate replacing obsolete videos
    • Awhile ago I recorded video how-tos for Movie Maker 2012, but have since concluded that it's clunky and troublesome compared to simply using PowerPoint.

Content considerations  

Video assignments may vary, but some common elements to consider:

  • Learning objectives
    • documentary video requires rigorous--scholarly–content quality.  
    • quality work: stream-of-conciousness or hastily prepared video unacceptable.
  • Script.  Students should draft content before recording.
    • Teacher feedback on draft?
    • Scholarly evidence: citations, bibliography.
  • Image content requirements: What should appear on screen?
    • Property Rights
    • Timing, transitions, visual effects
    • Bibliography, citations, attributions?
  • Instructions for sound
    • narrative delivery: Deliver with conviction.  Practice.  Expect to Edit.  
    • Music?  

Screencasts Supporting Student Video Projects

Basic Video Documentary: via PowerPoint (Camtasia)

Hosting and Sharing Videos via Google Drive (Screencast-O-Matic)

Clipping Video in YouTube (Camtasia)

Using the YouTube Editor (Camtasia)


Sample Assignment Script

This assignment is for a U.S. military history course populated primarily by non-history majors.

Here's a great discussion of creating a documentary video assignment (aimed at K-12 students, but certainly adaptable to higher ed.)

Cheap and Free Options for Screencasts and Video Slideshows

Very quick and easy screencasting. Limited to five minutes. To share videos, practically requires upload to, and use of flash for playback.
Ideal for everyday screencast and webcam recording. Free version allows 15 minute videos with a minor watermark. Videos recorded can be sent directly to Screencast-O-Matic's hosting site or YouTube, and allows video file creation for hosting in Google Drive. Videos can record and include screencasts, webcams, or both. Paid version includes editing and scripting tools.

Simple online slideshow video creator, that does not require a login (account.) Must record narrative audio with another tool, and upload to combine with slides.
High-end video creation and editing suite, that contains an excellent toolset for screencast or webcam recording. Camtasia is very expensive, but offers discount for educators. (There's a 1-month free trial, but it installs an imposing watermark on videos.) If you anticipate doing lots of video work, it is worth purchasing. For example, Camtasia has a full-featured, simple to use pan-and-zoom tool not widely available in screencast or editing applications.
An excellent whiteboarding tool for tablets that records all activity as a screencast. Ideal for discussing maps or images with annotations.
Microsoft PowerPoint, particularly 2013 and 2016, can easily export slideshows with narrations and timings to .MP4 video files.

QuickTime & iMovie for Mac

Mac computers include excellent tools for webcam and screencast recording and editing.



A simple, free toolset that allows creation of meme graphics, simple but dynamic web pages, and slideshow videos. Works on Desktop (PC or Mac) and mobile apps (Tablets.


Hosting Videos

Common Standard. Includes simple editing tools. Included in Google Apps for Education.l Best if students are required to make their videos public.

Google Drive

Cloud Storage using YouTube player tech. Included in Google Apps for Education. Best if students are sharing video with instructor or classmates only.
Excellent and popular alternative to Google products.
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