Often, when working with screencasts, people start from the technicalities (what software can I use? what ICT tools are available?). However, the most important guideline when working with screencasts is that the didactic puzzle has to be right. This means first and foremost considering the screencast's place within your learning environment. The following questions can help you with this:


What purpose should the screencast serve? Is a screencast the most appropriate (learning) tool? How does the screencast help in achieving competences or course objectives? Is it sufficiently integrated in your programme component? What’s the relationship between the screencast and the other teaching materials, work formats and contact moments from the learning environment?


What’s the function of the screencast? Will you offer basic knowledge, in-depth subject matter or peripheral information? Will you use the screencast to highlight learning content from a different perspective? Does the screencast provide organisational information (e.g. about a programme component or assignment)? Do you use the screencast as a stepping stone to a contact moment (the so-called flipped classroom system, see tip 33)? Or, are you trying to use the screencast to motivate students for the programme component? Does the screencast act as support for a self-study assignment?

Target group

Who is the target audience of the screencast? Will you make use of students' (diverse) prior knowledge in the screencast? Is the screencast suitably tailored to students' ability to process information? In the screencast, can you address issues that interest or motivate your students, or elements that are relevant in further training courses or the field?


Is it enough that the screencast conveys information (meaning that the student processes the information rather passively)? Or, is it better that the viewer (inter)actively interacts with the screencast? In the latter case, you can add an instruction to the screencast. This can be included in the screencast itself or communicated through other channels. The purpose of the screencast determines the task format. For example, you can give students guiding questions to answer when watching the screencast. Or, you can provide a (formative) test after watching. Another possibility is to attach a one-minute paper to the screencast (see tip 41). In addition, the screencast can serve as support when solving a case. Some recording systems are equipped for this purpose (e.g. Camtasia). Here, you can set the screencast to continue only when students have given the correct answer to an assignment.


In terms of integrating the screencast in the learning environment, it’s important to consider a possible (or even necessary) follow-up to the screencast itself. Will there be a follow-up discussion to the screencast? Do students still have questions after watching the screencast?  How will (collective) feedback on the (assignment to the) screencast be organised?


Make sure there’s variation in your way of working: vary the format of your screencasts. Alternate between the 'pure screencast' (see example) and the 'talking head' (see example). Also consider other types of presentations, such as interviews, demonstrations or discussions. You can even use a more animated screencast such as videoscribe. Some screencast systems (such as Camtasia) even allow you to experiment with a 'green screen' where you can project your own chosen backgrounds. However, always remember to keep the balance between the goal and the technical side. Watch out for repetitive or one-sided use of screencasts.

A few more tips...

  • There are many screencasts already available on various topics. Consider integrating an existing screencast into your learning environment (e.g. from Teachertube, Collegerama, Open video project).
  • Allow yourself 'learning time' to master working with screencasts. The same goes for your students.
  • Apply the KISS principle: Keep It Short and Simple. Try to make short screencasts of no more than five minutes. Having said that, when there’s so much interesting and relevant content, you may need longer.
  • Include a pat on the back or encouraging word in the screencast.
  • Provide further material for consideration where necessary. Often, screencast systems (such as Mediasite) allow you to attach more detailed and additional info to the screencast
  • Try to record the screencast as spontaneously as possible. To captivate the audience more, you must pay attention to your intonation. So when recording, it’s a good idea to exaggerate your intonation a little more than usual. Use hand gestures and body language when recording (even when you’re not in the picture). This has a marked effect on how your tone and clarity come across.
  • If you use a PowerPoint presentation in the screencast, students often like to receive handouts so they can take notes.
  • Try to make a screencast that you can use again and again. Avoid context-specific references, material or dates.
  • A creative alternative to working with screencasts is to have students create their own screencast, for example, as an alternative to a written assignment.

Want to know more?

About screencasts

  • Hansch, A., Hillers, L., McConachie, K., Newman, C., Schmidt, P., & Schildhauer, T. (2015). The role of video in online learning: Findings from the field and critical reflections. TopMOOC research project. (available online)
  • Thomson, A., Bridgstock, R., & Willems, C. (2014). "Teachers flipping out" beyond the online lecture: maximising the educational potential of video. Journal of Learning Design, 7(3), 67-78. (available online)

About using screencasts for teaching purposes

ECHO website: education tips archive:

Examples of weblectures and screencasts

Screencast systems

For UAntwerp staff

  At the University of Antwerp

  • a university-wide licence of the mediasite desktop recorder is available. This recorder is used for recording screencasts. For more information, contact Roel De Ryck or look here.
  • each faculty has some individual licences of Camtasia. Contact the CIKO of your faculty for more information or check here.
  • web lectures can be recorded. For more information, contact Roel De Ryck or look here.

At the infocenter education (after login) you can find some more good practices of using screencasts at the University of Antwerp

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