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Medical Education
Technology Enhanced Education

Screencast Lessons: Getting Started

Screencast lessons are video-based lessons that are recorded on a computer by the instructor. The recording shows what happens on the screen, and includes narration captured with a microphone. At UCSF, the Technology Innovations team supports instructors who are tasked with creating screencast lessons for use in the curriculum. In this format, the instructor is not featured on-camera; the visuals on the screen are driving the presentation. The flexibility of this method allows instructors to record lessons from their office or home, and according to their own schedule.

The lesson can present anything that is viewable on the instructor’s computer screen (PowerPoint file, website, software program). To record a lesson, the instructor will also need a microphone and a software program that records the screen actions. Technology Innovations can help guide an instructor towards the appropriate software solution that best meets the instructor’s skill level and goals.


Stages of Development

Screen lessons involve several stages which include lesson planning, lesson recording, and publishing (or sharing) the screen lesson so that students can access it:

Key Stages of the Screen Lesson Process


These stages, and a variety of supporting materials, are covered in more detail in our Screen Lessons 101 course.


Instructor Considerations

If an instructor has available time, we encourage editing of the videos before output. The role of editing in creating an effective lesson cannot be underestimated. One major advantage of editing is that it can create a succinct, focused presentation that a live delivery of the same material may lack. All of the screencasting software programs offer editing capabilities. 

If these videos are published on a publicly accessible platform like YouTube, the instructor could gain a large viewership outside of the original student audience. To account for these possibilities, the instructor has the opportunity to make more of an impact by deploying some fundamental design principles.


Screen Lessons 101 
This Moodle course is designed help School of Medicine faculty plan, prepare, record and output screen lessons for the online curriculum component in the School of Medicine. Includes instructions on using TEE's screencasting kits, which faculty can check out from the Technology Innovations Group.


Designing Engaging Screen Lessons 
This provides some overall guidance on planning and launching your screen lessons.


Tips for Recording Screen Lessons
This covers the technical aspects of recording, and how to troubleshoot problems you may encounter.


Screen Lessons Self-Assessment 
Review this after you have recorded a lesson to assess your recording, and evaluate if there are any ways you can improve it.