Screencasts are recordings of a computer screen that are usually accompanied by audio narration. They provide professors an opportunity to replicate the action of writing on a whiteboard in front of a classroom, but in a digital format. This allows instructors to demonstrate processes or provide tutorials in a medium that can be revisited or played back by students at any time. Screencasts can serve as valuable resources for students who need additional help understanding course material. They can also serve as an effective way to review materials before an exam.
It is best to record screencasts from a desktop computer. There are often compatibility issues when trying to record from a mobile device or tablet. You can use either a PC or a Mac.
You will need a microphone to create the recordings. A standalone microphone that can plug directly into your computer is preferred. While many laptop computers have built-in microphones, the quality of the microphones greatly varies. If you plan to record using a laptop microphone, please create a sample and send it to your project editor for review.
If you record demonstrations that require live annotation, such as solving sample math problems, you will need a writing tablet. Do not try to write on the screen using a mouse. This results in choppy text that can be very difficult to read. We recommend using the pen feature that is available in common programs such as PowerPoint or Word to produce smooth, readable text and images.
If you already own a writing tablet, we will need to confirm compatibility, but it is likely fine to use. If you don’t own a writing tablet, talk to your project editor about applying for a Cognella grant to purchase one.
Screen recording software
Cognella requires the use of Screencast-O-Matic for all recordings. By using a single piece of software, we are able to maintain a consistent look and feel across our catalog. We cannot accept recordings from other software, because we will not be able to edit the original source files. If you don’t already have access to Screencast-O-Matic, talk to your project editor about applying for a Cognella grant for a one-year license.
It is not necessary to have a webcam to record a screencast as the primary recording is of the computer screen. However, it is possible to use a webcam to create a picture-in-picture effect that shows both the presenter and the screen. If you are interested in this option, please talk to your project editor.