Blog Entry

Adding Value to Screen-Based Lecture Capture


Recently, several of us instructional designers presented to faculty working on a graduate degree project. One of the early presentations involved training the faculty on some technologies for screen-based lecture captures. That involved lowering the learning curve on those technologies and encouraging them to be comfortable with the experimentation, the fumbling, and the way they sound to themselves online. We showed that it was okay to show themselves as human, and we showcased some endeavors for telepresence.

Comfort with Experimentation and Creativity

In retrospect, we could have shared more information about taking chances with integrating a greater variety of screen capture types into a work. One of the professors in the group who had prior experience in e-learning was starting to think of going beyond PowerPoint slideshows for a richer range of screen captures. He was talking about using Excel tables, websites, and software programs—which we encouraged in a passing conversation. His ideas, though, sparked a greater question for me. How can faculty create quality lecture captures?

Types of Lecture Captures

To answer that, I thought I would consider the various types of lecture captures. One common type involves faculty introducing themselves to the learners—as a kind of telepresence. Another type involves a basic introduction to the contents—as an overview and to set the context for the learning. Others show steps to a process or a procedure. Still others are demonstrations of experiments. Others show how software works or how to use socio-technical systems. Each of these types of lecture captures will involve unique strategies for quality learning, but some general ways to create quality follow below.

Sufficient Preparatory Work

One way to create quality in a desktop lecture capture involves being sufficiently prepared. One element involves pre-creating slideshows with the appropriate information and visuals. One of the more frustrating aspects of lecture captures is finding typos in a slideshow after it’s been captured, which means that that section has to be moved out… recaptured….and reintegrated.

Another preparatory maneuver involves dry-running a website or software system or presentation sequence…to make sure it all goes right.

Another approach is to make sure that all visuals used are information-rich. This means that they’re properly labeled. If measurements are important, those should be overlaid on the image. If maps or diagrams are used, these need to be properly labeled.

The overall trajectory of the lecture captures also need to make sense. There may be images, slideshows, website introductions, simulations, and video clips. And clearly, the faculty member needs to bring these elements together in unifying ways. He / she has to make clear, logical connections. He / she also has to avoid ambiguous or incomplete assertions. He / she has to pace well, with proper timing for thought and reflection but without participants feel like their time is being wasted. And these lecture captures have to be chunked so as not to be too long or fatiguing. The presenter needs to highlight information to show what is important.


Most effective lecture captures are interactive—or feel interactive. They should not feel like a one-way delivery of contents from one-to-many but feel engaging and personable. There should be a sense of professional camaraderie and give-and-take. This may be done through the asking of relevant questions. There may be pauses for learner work or surfing to other locations on the WWW. There may be the integration of learners’ questions.

Instructors are becoming more and more sophisticated as they experiment more and make adjustments to their lecture capture styles. The important thing is to get started, and many are.

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