Screencasts are video recordings of the activity on your computer screen, accompanied by audio narration and frequently including special effects like panning, drawing, the inclusion of callouts or arrow, or other visuals which help emphasize particular aspects of the video. The video below is an example of a screencast from the UBC Library.

Screencasts are one method of many to create video which supports learning. Uses for screencasts in learning include:

demonstrating how to use a web application or piece of software

illustrating a particular concept via a whiteboard application or animated drawing.

Learning Wrapper concept piloted by the Digital Tattoo project
Learning Wrapper concept piloted by the Digital Tattoo project

Creating learning wrappers for your screencasts help to support the learning outcomes your students are working towards. Learning wrappers may include:

guiding questions for student to consider when watching your screencast

a self-assessment to follow the watching of your screencast

resources to extend learning

an opportunity to discuss or work with the content in some way: this might be an in-class activity

An excellent example of the learning wrapper format is the Ted Ed initiative, which allows users to work with a Ted video, or any other video hosted on YouTube, to create a learning experience.

We modelled our own version of a learning wrapper to integrate with UBC's CMS, built on WordPress. We're piloting it on the Digital Tattoo site. If you want to test it yourself, the documentation is here.

Instructional design support

Working in Connect? Visit LTHub.

Working in WordPress? Have a look at UBC's CMS page, and register for one of the CTLT's WordPress dropin clinics.

Looking for learning/instructional design resources? Contact your CTLT learning/instructional designer, your Flexible Learning liaison, or your Instructional Support Unit for consultation.

Here are some examples of effective practice in screencasting.

  • Dr. Robert Talbert discusses the pedagogical framework he uses for incorporating screencasts as "lectures" into his classroom.

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More examples at Visual Media for Flexible Learning.

Hardware Software

While computers won't be discussed (most modern computers are more than powerful enough to record and edit a screencast) your choice of microphone will greatly affect the quality of your DIY media project.

Microphones: Here are a few useful links if you're looking at microphones.

  • The DIY Media website has a page on microphone suggestions, going over the various types of microphones available.
  • Choosing Microphones is a 4-minute video from which has some helpful tips for deciding what kind of microphone will best suit your needs.
  • Wistia's Learning Centre demonstrates the quality of sound achieved with different mics in this 4.5 minute video.

Recording & editing software

  • Camtasia (Mac, PC)
    • Camtasia is a dedicated screencasting and video editing tool. For tutorials and help, have a look at the Using Camtasia section of the DIY Media website.
    • To find out how to get a license for Camtasia, click here.
  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard (and higher) includes built-in screen recording tools. You can then edit your footage in iMovie or any other video editing software you have installed.
  • Windows Movie Maker (Windows)
    • Windows Movie Maker is reasonably powerful, free to download editing software.
  • CamStudio (Windows)
    • Camstudio is free and open-source. While it hasn't been updated since late 2013, it will record your screen and audio perfectly and has basic editing and annotating functions.


Screencasting has an extensive library of tutorials for various programs. For registration information, visit Take note that the service is only available to UBC faculty, staff and post-doctoral fellows.

  • Screencasting Fundamentals This course will go through the fundamentals of screencasting. Including screencast examples, making decision on various screencast tools, designing a screencast and tutorials on screencasts tool such as Camtasia Studio ( for Windows) and Articulate storyline.
  • Camtasia Studio 8 Essential Training
    Camtasia Studio is a screencasting program where you can capture what is happening on your computer. This course will demonstrates how to set up, record, edit, and share screencasts for online lectures and assignment feedback.
    While doesn't offer tutorial for the Mac version of Camtasia, TechSmith has a set here.

Do you need to find copyright safe sound or images for your project? The following resources can help:

Image Sources: UBC's Copyright resource provides an excellent list of various "copyright safe" image databases and also includes some discipline specific ones as well.
Creative Commons Guide: UBC's Copyright Guide provides lists of databases for free and "copyright safe" sounds, music and video for your digital media projects. It also helps you understand Creative Commons licenses and how and why you may want to apply one to your work.
Public domain resources: this page provides an overview of what public domain is, how material in the public domain can be used, and much more, including quick tips to check if something is or is not considered public domain in Canada, as well as links to public domain sources.

Students and Copyright

Why should I care about copyright?: this student-centered guide, put together by the UBC Learning Commons team, answers questions on the subject of copyright and addresses a number of myths and misconceptions surrounding copyright.





  • McGarr, O. (2009). A review of podcasting in higher education: Its influence on the traditional lecture. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 25, 309-321. Ubc-elink.png
This paper examines a possible influence of podcasting on the traditional lecture in higher education. The review explores three key questions: What are the educational uses of podcasting in teaching and learning in higher education? Can podcasting facilitate more flexible and mobile learning? In what ways will podcasting influence the traditional lecture? These questions are discussed in the final section of the paper with reference to future policies and practices.
Reviews how podcasting is currently used in higher education: How it is used in course lectures, pre-class listening materials, and coursework feedback. Includes top tips for podcasters.

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