May 08, 2013

New rules for screencast assignments

I tend to really hate rules in the classes I teach. I like the formats to be free flowing so that students are empowered to learn in their own way and in their own style.

I like screencasts as assessments, especially when I'm able to get them watched and responded to rapidly as intended. But anyone who makes blanket statements about students today being "digital natives" who grew up online creating and sharing content have not been in the same classrooms I've been in.

For next year I have some new rules for submitting screencasts:

1.) I will only accept URLs as screencast submissions.  I don't want a file as an attachment to an email in whatever crazy format came out of the camera. I don't want an audio file with a snapshot of the work done. I don't want a thumbdrive with each screencast file sized over 300 MB. I want a link to your screencast which is on youtube, screencast.com, vimeo or similar.

2.) All students will be shown this Public Service Announcement on the first day. If I can't see the work done on the page while I'm in full screen mode, then what is the point of getting the visuals? Not that it is much better sometimes when the camera is held close to the page. My head hurts after watching videos where less than half a page of work is shown in video and so the camera is constantly panning back and forth.  The same goes for videos sent to me in landscape orientation but with the page rotated...or upside down.  Students will be told to watch their videos before sending me the link.

3.) All phones must have notifications turned off while recording screencasts.  I'm listening to screencasts when the volume explodes with some random buzzing and I jump out of my skin. It is five freaking minutes that the text messages, facebook updates, tweets, emails, phone calls and instagrams can just be shut down.

Most of the complaints I have are about screencasts done using cell phone cameras.  I don't mind the use of the cell phone camera, it just seems more prone to the problem videos that I get.

3 comments:

arundquist said...

It's weird, I never get cell phone videos. My student take a pic with their cell phone and then walk me through the work doing a screencast. I don't see the work from scratch, but that doesn't bother me so much.

arundquist said...

It's weird, I never get cell phone videos. My student take a pic with their cell phone and then walk me through the work doing a screencast. I don't see the work from scratch, but that doesn't bother me so much.

Andrew said...

That's not too bad. I get all sorts of interesting screencasts: powerpoint slide decks, equations written in MS Paint, some are students writing out work on a whiteboard with one hand while holding the camera in the other hand.