Recording of computer screen output.


A screencast is a digital recording of a computer screen output, often including a voice over narration. Like recorded slide presentations, screencast are often used as a substitute for face-to-face lectures. Screencasts, however, enable a greater capacity for displaying interaction between the teacher and the content of the video as it captures what the teacher is doing within the digital interface.


Basic Modeling for Discrete Optimization. Massive Open Online Course. University of Melbourne, 2017

When designing their massive open online course, Basic Modeling for Discrete Optimization, Peter and Jimmy screen-recorded live coding sessions to demonstrate the step-by-step processes required to successfully complete programming assignments of increasing difficulty.

What the research says

Screencasts are most effective when demonstrating and teaching students how to operate in a digital space, be it using a certain program, navigating a website (eg. a Learning Management System) or creating digital content. In all of these instances, screencasts that present these processes in a clear, step-by-step manner will allow students to navigate through the video at their own pace, mastering each step as they go.

Production tips

  • Capturing good quality audio is crucial. A quiet recording space and a correctly placed external microphone will greatly improve self-recorded efforts.
  • Direct the viewer’s attention by decluttering your desktop and resizing your active window(s) to maximise the screen space occupied by the area of focus.
  • Consider magnifying onscreen text and enlarging your cursor within your operating system. These settings are often grouped under ‘accessibility’.
  • Shut down extraneous programs running in the background, and turn off pop-up notifications and disable system-level audio chimes.
  • If your institution or faculty has self-service recording spaces available, use them!

Further resources

University of Melbourne self-service recording studios

University of Melbourne screen capture tools review

University of Melbourne screen capture library guide

Further reading

Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement: an empirical study of MOOC videos (pp. 41–50). ACM Press.

This page was last updated on 16 Oct 2018.

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