Using screen capture as an instructional tool

This week we are handing over the blog to Daniel Vince-Archer, Course Coordinator in Undergraduate Business and Management.

Daniel has recently created a number of ‘how to’ screen capture videos using VideoStudio X9. You will find VideoStudio X9 in your Software Centre.

Over to you, Daniel.

“I hear, and I forget; I see, and I know; I do, and I understand” – ancient Chinese proverb.

Over the past six months, the course administration team here in the School of Business, Management & Economics (BMEc) has been collaboratively producing a series of ‘how-to’ guides. These document how the team carries out the administrative tasks and processes needed for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in BMEc to run as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Screencasts v Screenshots

screencastings

flickr photo by Manuela Hoffmann shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Many of our processes are quite technical in nature, which often makes it difficult to find the right words to explain how to perform particular actions in concise, uncomplicated terms that are easy for all to follow.

One way around this is to illustrate each step with a static screen shot; however, this can lead to guidance documents being padded out by a lengthy series of similar images and a few lines of text that still fall short of demonstrating how a process is carried out.

Another solution is to record video clips of the actions taken on screen when carrying out a task (known as ‘screen capture’ or ‘screencasting’) and including those clips alongside the written instructions.

The advantage of using screen capture clips (as opposed to a live demonstration) is that it provides a lasting visual step-by-step demonstration of each process that colleagues can access independently, as and when needed, at a pace that suits them.

Screencast options  

Screen capture clips can be recorded in either PowerPoint 2013 or an application called Corel ScreenCap X9, which can be accessed by installing VideoStudio X9 from the Software Center.

(To access the Software Center: Start Menu > All Programs > Install Applications, highlight VideoStudio X9 and click Install.)

Here is a short screencast to show you how to download Corel ScreenCap X9 from the Software Center. 

PowerPoint 2013

Creating a screen recording in PowerPoint 2013 is fairly straightforward. Start by selecting the INSERT tab in the menu toolbar at the top of the screen and then clicking the Screen Recording icon at the far right end of the toolbar:

Capture

If either of the Audio or Record Pointer buttons is highlighted in peach (as Record Pointer is in the image above), this means that those features will be included in your screen recording.

Before you can begin the recording, you need to select the area of the screen you wish to record by clicking Select Area and dragging the red dashed box over the area to be recorded. (To record the whole screen, you should drag the red dashed box from the top-left corner of the screen to the bottom-right corner of the screen.) Once an area has been selected, you can begin the recording by clicking Record:

Here is a short screencast to show you how to start the screencast for PowerPoint.  A three-second countdown will then begin with an instruction on how to stop the recording (Windows logo key + Shift + Q):

Capture

Capture

When you stop the recording, the video clip you have created will appear in the PowerPoint slide currently open. To save the clip as a separate file, right-click on it and select Save Media As in the option menu that appears.

When you stop the recording, the video clip you have created will appear in the PowerPoint slide currently open. To save the clip as a separate file, right-click on it and select Save Media As in the option menu that appears.

ScreenCap X9

ScreenCap X9 offers an alternative solution to PowerPoint and one that allows users to record and save screen capture clips as standalone files without having to follow the additional steps needed in PowerPoint to save the clip as a separate file. To access ScreenCap: Start Menu > All Programs > Corel VideoStudio X9 > Corel ScreenCap X9. Please see the 

The basic control panel will appear, with buttons to start and stop recording, a drop-down menu to choose which window is to be recorded (use Fullscreen to capture the whole screen, choose an option from the list of windows currently active or choose Custom to select the area to be recorded manually) and a collapsed settings menu offering more advanced features:
Capture

Capture

The advanced settings allow users to specify a filename and location as well as the format and frame rate of the recording. Users can also choose whether to include audio with the recording and whether mouse clicks that take place in the recording should be animated (blue rings appear around the cursor when the mouse is clicked). To start a recording, you can either click the record button (the red circle) or press F11. Please see the short video.

As with PowerPoint, a three-second countdown takes place before the recording begins. Recordings can be paused by pressing F11 again or stopped by pressing F10. When the recording is stopped, the folder containing the video clip should open automatically and from there you can open the file to check your work.

By Daniel Vince-Archer.

Thank you, Daniel. If you have been inspired by Daniel and would like help with trying any of the screen capture tools, please contact your school Learning Technologist. You can also view our screencasting webpage for ideas on using screen casts in teaching and learning.

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5 comments on “Using screen capture as an instructional tool
  1. John says:

    This is great but do remember to add subtitles for people who use English as a second language, and deaf and hard of hearing people. Otherwise we will end up leaving a group of students excluded from this useful tool.

    • Daniel Vince-Archer says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for the reminder! In this case, the clips are silent and accompanied by written instructions but I would definitely encourage users to add subtitles for any clips containing audio instruction too.

      Daniel

  2. Michelle Robertson says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Does this software allow to add captions?

    Michelle.

    • Daniel Vince-Archer says:

      Hi Michelle,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! You can’t add captions directly in ScreenCap X9 but there is a sister application (Start Menu > All Programs > Corel VideoStudio X9 > Corel VideoStudio X9) that allows users to edit the video clips they’ve captured, including adding subtitles. I haven’t used it myself unfortunately so I can’t vouch for how user-friendly it is.

      Daniel

  3. Daniel Vince-Archer says:

    If you’re interested in trying out some other screencasting tools, SussexTEL’s David Walker recently highlighted this great article: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2016/10/my-favorite-tools-for-creating.html

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Using screen capture as an instructional tool"
  1. […] Receiving formative feedback in an audiovisual format can provide a richer and more personalised experience for the learner. Screen capture could be a great way of highlighting specific areas of student’s work and providing audio feedback simultaneously (for more information on screen capture, see Daniel Vince-Archer’s blog post on Using screen capture as an instructional tool). […]

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