Using screencasts to unpack complex documents
If it is that you were going to approach a fairly hefty document, for example in our case it would be a syllabus, those documents are filled with information and it’s probably the responsibility of the unit design team to actually articulate what the important parts are for students at this moment in time. Whilst the document might be sixty pages, the relevance to this particular unit may only need to explore, in a very thorough sense, some aspects of it. Sometimes it can also be the most confusing or sometimes it could also be the most complex that you actually want to explore. Having said that, the way that you actually approach this it to really think through what are the vital messages that are being said in this document. It’s not a simple case of reading the document for the students from front to back, it’s actually a case of identifying the key chapter headings or the key milestones within this particular document to be able to say to them ‘These are the things that are actually being said in this particular part’. It also might be the case, and one of the techniques that I think I’ve used quite a few times in designing units, would be to tell students, that they can stop the recording and have a read of a section. I think that that also gives students, and they certainly commented on this to me, it gives them the opportunity to feel like you are actually working with them and you’re actually being quite direct in your instruction. So for example it might be ‘You can read the rest of the outcomes on page 42 of this document. I am going to suggest that you pause the recording now to do so’. So that type of a comment is a really easy way of giving them permission to stop the technology at that moment and to change focus into the written text which most of them would have in front of them and to work their way through.