Benefits of Screencasting

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Ten Benefits of Using Instructor-Developed Screencasts
to Help Students Learn Maths: An AIT Case Study
WHAT ARE SCREENCASTS?
Video tutorials that capture the activity on a computer screen with a voice-over
description of the activity being shown. They can be watched on a PC or any mobile
device with video playback capabilities. A very useful tool in Maths education as they
allow the recording of handwritten step-by-step solutions of problems, including
specialist mathematical notation.
Figure 1. A screencast can be designed with interesting visuals to
capture students’ attention
Background of Case Study
How The Screencasts Benefited Students’ Maths Learning
In January 2013, we undertook a case study to look at how first, second
and third year AIT students taking Algebra and Calculus courses under
Mr Frank Doheny (N=266) used screencasts to help them learn Maths.
The screencasts, ranging between 1:49 and 11:20 minutes in length, were
developed to demonstrate specific Maths keyskills that students had
difficulty with. To explore students’ views and uses of the screencasts, we
administered an open-response survey on the relevant Maths Moodle
pages. A total of 138 students from Mechanical & Renewable Engineering
(MRE), Computer Network Management (CNM), Electronic & Computer
Engineering (ECE), and Sports & Nutrition Science (SNS) responded to
the survey, constituting a response rate of 52%. Using an inductive
Thematic Content Analysis (TCA), we generated ten themes from their
responses that represented ten benefits of using the screencasts. These
are what students had to say about their screencast use and how the
videos had aided their Maths learning.
1
“
“
“
”
(3rd Year, MRE).
“It’s the same as a private tutor. You can also
pause and take notes.” (1st year, CNM).
3
“Excellent for helping you understand in
your own time.” (2nd year, ECE).
“Helpful when you almost understand something
and you just need a little help.” (3rd year, ECE).
4
”
”
”
(1st year, CNM)
5
Definitely the best part of the Maths Moodle page.
(2nd Year, ECE)
Provided a Vicarious Learning
Experience
“I had missed a few lectures. I went through the
notes, and the screencasts. It really helped me to
cover up what I had missed.” (2nd year, ECE).
“If I miss a class, the screencasts help me catch up.”
(3rd year, MRE).
6
“Great especially if you would like to go back
and review a topic.” (1st year, CNM).
“In some cases, it is not enough to learn from
written materials. Screencasts are better to
learn by watching and listening as in class.”
(2nd year, CNM).
“I use them during revision weeks leading up
to exams when the lecturer is not on hand.”
(3rd year, CNM).
“Seeing how the question
is explained is a far better way of
learning in my opinion.” (1st year, SNS).
8
“While there are endless YouTube videos available (Khan
Academy, etc), they usually have a U.S. or U.K-centered
focus. The Maths screencasts provide a tighter match
with the course notes and a more focused explanation
of material.” (1st year, CNM).
Served as a Memory Aid
“Very good for helping you memorize
equations.” (2nd year, ECE).
“Having the lecturer create them also means that you’re
shown the method on how to solve a problem just as
you have seen in the classroom, as opposed to watching
an external video where another lecturer might have a
slight variation on how to solve certain Math problems.”
(1st year, CNM).
10
Helped Fill Up Gaps in Notes
“I find the screencasts very useful if I can’t
find what I need in the notes.” (2nd year, ECE).
Figure 5. A screencast on the Newton-Raphson Method
“They were a great preparation for the final
exam and helped a lot.” (3rd year, ECE).
Provided a Close Match to Content in
the Maths Modules
“Help me when I forget steps in how to
work out the problem.” (1st year, CNM).
9
Facilitated Review and
Revision
Provided Multimodal
Support for Maths Learning
“Having the ability to watch a screencast
to refresh your mind before an exam is
awesome.” (1st year, CNM).
Figure 3. A screencast on how to plot graphs using
MATLAB
“I’ll always have the content even when I miss a
day.” (1st year, CNM).
“You’re shown the method on how to solve
a problem just as you have seen in the
classroom.” (1st year, CNM).
“The voice and picture together
make learning easy.” (3rd year, ECE).
7
Figure 4. A screencast on Fourier Series
Helped Students to Make Up for
Missed Lectures and Keep on Track
“It’s like catching the lecture again which can
be easily forgotten.” (3rd year, MRE).
A brilliant asset to have as you can pause, rewind etc.
Figure 2. A screencast is extremely useful for showing
complex problem solving such as the Simplex Method
“Good…if you didn’t quite grasp it the first time.”
(3rd year, ECE).
“The screencasts are presented in a fashion
that is similar to the actual lectures, where
the reasons for taking certain steps are
clarified.” (2nd year, CNM).
These have been a huge and continuous help.
(3rd year, ECE)
“An extra way of learning if not completely
understood in class.” (3rd Year, MRE).
“Gives me a sort of one on one tuition.”
It is very helpful to hear the lecturer go through the
solutions step by step.
(1st year, SNS)
Supplemented Lectures and
Enhanced Understanding of Keyskills
“I can download and watch the video any
time everywhere.” (3rd year, MRE).
Overall Perceptions of the Screencasts
“
2
Allowed Flexible and
Personalized Learning
“They are very helpful if I missed some of the
notes!” (1st year, CNM).
Made Maths Learning Fun
“More interesting than reading straight from a word
page.” (3rd Year, MRE).
“Makes the Math more enjoyable.” (1st year, ECE).
“Good source of learning as it isn’t through the
normal boring way of books and notes.” (1st year, SNS).
Researchers
Tunku Badariah Tunku Ahmad
Institute of Education,
International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)
Nuala Harding
Learning and Teaching Unit,
Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT)
Frank Doheny
School of Engineering,
Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT)
Sheila Faherty
Department of Nursing and Health Science,
Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT)
INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA
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