Recording Lectures with Screencasting   

Bryan Crawford is an associate professor with the Department of Biology at UNB Fredericton who incorporated wireless screencasting into his Cell Biology class. To combat the difficulty of facilitating student engagement in the large introductory class, Crawford used the free software Doceri to create video recordings of his interactive lessons.

 Crawford first began podcasting his lectures while he was teaching Introductory Biochemistry in 2006. The podcasts allowed his students to focus on understanding and asking questions in class rather than struggling to take notes. They were received remarkably well, collectively downloaded over 7000 times in their first year online. For Crawford they also acted as a useful archive of past lectures. However, Crawford says they weren’t helping him get away from “the propensity to just stand at the front of the room talking.”

Doceri is a ‘wireless screencasting’ application for the iPad that allows the user to control their presentation computer remotely, as well as draw or write notes on whatever the computer is displaying. Lecture audio is recorded from the iPad’s microphone. Crawford says that using screencasts allows students who need more time to understand a given concept the ability to revisit the lecture.

“Traditionally, all the students get the same amount of instructional time and the variable is how much they learn. The recordings facilitate the different amount of time being spent on a concept by different students, such that all the students can perform at a high level.” 

Without cords or wires the application not only makes switching between multiple programs easy, but also gives him the freedom to move around the classroom, reducing the separation between ‘presenter’ and ‘audience.’ Crawford feels that though while asking students to draw on an iPad in class may be a shock, challenging them to grapple with new ideas is what causes them to better engage and learn. 

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