Category: Blended Learning

Preferences toward screencasting

Here is an the abstract of an interesting article looking at student prefeferences between lecture capture versus screencasting published in the International Journal of E-Learning and Distance Education:

Students’ Preferences for Types of Video Lectures: Lecture Capture vs. Screencasting RecordingsAlaa Sadik
The use of online videos as a supplement to traditional lectures or as a way to reach students at remote sites has become increasingly popular in higher education. Faculty and university technology centers have focused on approaches to recording and distributing online video lectures over the last ten years. Regardless of learning outcomes, the purpose of this study was to investigate students’ preferences for lecture capture and screencasting recordings as a supplement to classroom lectures. A questionnaire about video lecture format preferences was used to collect data about students’ preferences in two courses over a three-year period. The overall findings indicated that the majority of students rated screencasting recordings as better than lecture capture recordings in many aspects of video quality and usefulness. Factors affecting students’ preferences for screencasting and the implications of this preference have been reported.

Cheap and cheerful instructional videos

I have been trying out and testing different models to create instructional tutorials for the past few years. I provided an account of my last iteration in a post on this blog, called “Anatomy of a YouTube Tutorial” and “My gear to record a session“. I think I may have figured out a better way to do this, essentially optimizing the production cycle of the videos.

The gist of my most recent idea is still to use QuickTime on my Mac, an ancient MacBook Pro, but with a twist. Remember that QuickTime allows you to record the screen as well as make a video directly from your Mac using the on board camera and mic (I bought a self standing USB mic because the on broad mic sucks).

In that sense, I launch QuickTime and select File > New video. A window opens where I see myself in front of my Mac. I place this window in the corner of my screen and position my browser on the left and I fill the gap on the top right corner with a text file where I can place information (such as the outline of the talk).

The idea is to then launch File > New Screen Recording and the screen recording catches the “mirror image” of the video on the corner of my screen (I never actually record the video of my face, I just use the image of it in the corner).

Here is what the screen looks like:

The point here is that I can generate one simple video file with 3 screens on it: a browser (or any other document), a text file (or any other filler information (actually, this could be a PPT, a script or anything really) and my face.

The only issue is that the table I use is not super stable and my laptop screen tends to wobble if I am not delicate in typing or putting my hands on the table. But this seems like a way to generate tutorials with minimal editing required..

Report on 10 trends that can transform education

A new report from the UK highlights 10 trends or new techniques in education that may have a profound impact on how we teach and learn. Academics from the Institute of Educational Technology and the Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology at The Open University offer us the Innovating Pedagogy report, the third such report released to date.

Here is the outline:

Massive open social learning : Free online courses based on social learning
Learning design informed by analytics: A productive cycle linking design and analysis of effective learning
Flipped classroom: Blending learning inside and outside the classroom
Bring your own devices: Learners use their personal tools to enhance learning in the classroom
Learning to learn: Learning how to become an effective learner
Dynamic assessment: Giving the learner personalized assessment to support learning
Event-based learning: Time-bounded learning events
Learning through storytelling: Creating narratives of memories and events
Threshold concepts: Troublesome concepts and tricky topics for learning
Bricolage: Creative tinkering with resources


Policies for eLearning

I am listening to a podcast of a 2005 EDUCAUSE session at their annual conference entitled How E-Learning Policies Can Reduce Faculty Workloads and Keep E-Learning Courses Running Smoothly.

The speaker is Shirley Waterhouse, the Executive Director,
Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Their website also showcases many projects and initiatives pointing to best practives. She also is the executive director of
eLearningGlobal (this site provides details about her book).

7 Policy topics (from the podcast, toward the end)
– Daily routine: exchanging with students, email notifications, submitting assignments
– Students privacy: consent and sharing information with 3rd parties
– Email policies: answering emails, manage students expections wih regards to answers, discussion policies (will the instructor read everything)
– Assignment policy: when due, format, etc. (do it beforehand)
– Tech help policy: where and when to get it (e.g. what happens if the LMS is down when I want to subit my assignment)
– Code of conduct: student discussion, etiquette, netiquette, innapropriate, etc.
– Intellectual proprety issue: copyright, ownership, sharing

Her book and articles cover these topics in greater detail. These items seem more like the kinds of things a course outline or general procedure would cover. But they are interesting nonetheless.

Recommends the copyright resources from Indiana University.

Four ideas to reshape the university with IT

I really enjoyed this short clip from the good people at Educause about 4 ideas to reshape higher ed:

This is the gist of the talk:


I also really enjoyed this paper about three possible futures for higher ed: one where universities are either virtual or blended; one where digital technology offers a kind of renaissance of creation where storytelling, game design and social media seamlessly integrate into a learning experience; and the one where health care takes over (I didn’t like that one so much).

Technologies for a flipped classroom

This just came out : the latest “Tips and Trends” report from the Instructional Technologies Committee members of the American College and Research Libraries and the American Library Association.

Tips and Trends, written by Instructional Technologies Committee members, introduces and discusses new, emerging, or even familiar technology which can be applied in the library instruction setting. Issues are published 4 times a year.

Technology for Flipping the Classroom
Spring 2014

By Angela Colmenares