Screencasting is an easy way to present content from your desktop to your students, using both video and audio. If you need to show a step-by-step process (for example, how to use an application), showcase a website, or just add narration to an existing presentation, consider using a screencasting solution.
Of the many applications available, eLearning recommends the following for most purposes. Generally, these programs are inexpensive (or free) and easy to use, and the resulting videos are easily embeddable into Canvas.
Snagit is arguably the most popular screencasting program currently in use. You can get a 15-day free trial, then the cost becomes $30 per license (or $21 for group purchases of 10 or more). There are both Windows and Mac versions.
Snagit is very simple, and can record a screencast in only a few clicks, although there are more advanced options for power users. In addition to standard voice narration, you can also add images and text to your presentations. It can output a standard .mp4 video which can be used as-is or edited further by eLearning, and can even upload finished presentations directly to your Champlain Google Drive account where they can be shared with others.
Most people think of Apple Quicktime as a simple video player, but the Mac version differs from the Windows version in that it can also be used as a video and screen recording platform. It does not have the features of Snagit, but users can still record very high-quality screencasts with narration. These videos will output to .mov files by default, which can be later edited by eLearning.
Quicktime Player is free, and should be included with your OSX installation. Remember that this application is Mac only. The Windows version of Quicktime is simply a video player.
Screenr is a newer screencasting solution with its own unique twists. It is a free, Java-based website application that requires no local installation – it can be used from just about any web browser, and the user only needs to create a login account to get started.
Screenr is directly focused on screencasting and narration – there are no editing, imaging, or other advanced functions, but the resulting screen quality is very good. After recording, the site will generate a link to the video embedded on its own site (sort of like YouTube) that can be shared. From there, the user can also download the original .mp4 video for eLearning editing.
A note about Jing
Jing is a very popular screencasting application for novice users. It is free to use, has a simple interface, outputs at reasonable quality, and automatically uploads to the Screencast.com video sharing site so that anyone anywhere can view the resulting presentations.
That said, eLearning does not currently recommend the use of Jing, since the application outputs to the Adobe Flash format only. This means that eLearning cannot edit the resulting video file, and it cannot be viewed using mobile devices. Jing is also not accessible, since captions cannot be added to the video, and the program also adds a visible watermark to each presentation.