The Vision of Online Learning

The Vision of Online Learning

With more students looking for online learning options, instructors are incorporating new and engaging ways to share information and create conversation. In the technology and the environment course at the Fisheries and Marine Institute, part-time instructor Shawn Pendergast Face Forward ’s animated teaching style is getting a boost with screencasting.

“Screencasting allows me to capture videos of what I am doing on my computer screen and then add narration,” said Mr. Pendergast. “It isn’t a new technology, but it is one that works for this particular course and for many online learners.”

Screencasting or video screen capture records any actions on the computer screen. It provides visual learners with the chance to see what it is their instructor is referring to – on screen. It also helps instructors explain more complex situations or processes by showing images or diagrams to support.

“One of my students first brought up the idea of adding screencasting to the course,” said Mr. Pendergast. “I later learned more about the technology through discussions as part of work I am completing towards a Doctorate in Education Technology at the University of Calgary.”

With a technology background, Mr. Pendergast is always looking for new tools to incorporate into his courses. He likes to learn about what students and others are using and find ways to make it work for his particular learning environments.

Of course, there is more to screencasting than video screen capture and Mr. Pendergast is already taking the functionality to the next level. “I am working towards introducing a feedback function and embedding quizzes,” he said. “I also plan to have the students create their own videos as part of their coursework.”

Taking it one step further, Mr. Pendergast also plans to do some simple videos on location – which will virtually take his students to various places applicable to their learning.

“This idea comes from a previous instructor who at the time used VHS tapes,” said Mr. Pendergast. “My goal is to visit the Brother Brennan Centre to record a video of their environmental technologies, such as wind power generation and composting which I will then bring back to his online classroom via screencasting for the benefit of my students.”

The options are endless and all indications are that students are enjoying this additional avenue to share information online. Other instructors in the bachelor of technology program are also seeking more information as to how they might be able to incorporate it into their teaching.

While screencasting has many benefits, it allows the instructor an opportunity to describe a process of concept – with the help of a visual. The students learn by example, right from the comforts of their own home or work space.