Learner-Shaped Technology

April 25, 2020

An unplanned semester online:

Filed under: general — Mike W @ 4:22 pm

Like my students, I’m struggling with the shift to online. I’ve used screencasts (short recorded lectures) previously, but I’m re-evaluating. I like them because they are a compact way of sharing content and context. Most are in the 7 – 20 minute range. But here are the challenges:

1. Time to produce – I know it’s hard to believe, but this one took me about 4 hours to a) get the data wrangled 2) put together an outline 3) record, and 4) edit. So I, either suck at this, or my experience is indicative of other instructors’ experience. I’m open to the former.


2. Time in-class vs. online lecture – This would have taken 2x the time to discuss in class. The presentation wouldn’t have been as tight, and student questions/discussions would have extended the time. But is that “time gain” a good thing, or indicative that something is missing online?

3. Lecturing to no one – You might hear it in my voice, but it’s hard to lecture to an imagined audience. I try to envision my students, and I’ve even stood up to produce the screencast with more energy, but recreating the in-person experience is tough. I miss them.

4. The long term – I think I can use these screencasts, which are primarily information dissemination and demonstrations, to make space in my class for more interaction and discussion. However, that’s going to have to happen in person, or it’s one more thing to figure out how to do online. Zoom breakout groups are great, but are they the same thing as in-person discussions?

Some questions:

  1. Do you find that developing screencasts is worth the time?
  2. A similar, live lecture via Zoom is going to take longer, but is the interactivity worth it?
  3. How do you use short screencasts to make room for my interactivity during synchronous meetings, whether online or in-person?
  4. What went well online this semester? What were the challenges?

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