1. Introduction
  2. Presentation: an introduction to screencasting
  3. Screencast-o-matic
  4. General good practice
  5. Storing & sharing
  6. Including other video sources
  7. Tips for recording lectures


an image of a laptop, smartphone and tablet all showing the same video

Screencasting is a popular and effective way of providing online education. Think of YouTube troubleshooting videos or LinkedIn Learning courses (formerly It is a way of making engaging video content by sharing what is on your computer screen. It can be a slideshow presentation, a demonstration of a software application, or guiding someone through a document and explaining what’s important.

An introduction to Screencasting: Screencasting Basics (blog post)

Presentation: An Introduction to Screencasting

This video is a recorded teaching session that provides a quick introduction to screencasting. It covers the advantages for staff and students, introduces Screencast-o-matic as a preferred tool and walks you through how to set it up, basic editing and how to save and share your videos (19:15).


Screencast-o-matic is the preferred screencasting tool at Sheffield Hallam University. The free version is available to staff and students but has several limitations – it is watermarked, limited to 15 minutes recording time, cannot record audio from your computer and does not have the full suite of editing tools. Staff have access to “Pro” accounts. The DTS Screencast-o-matic page has step-by-step instructions for installing and launching the software.

General Good Practice

  • Record somewhere quiet and free of distractions
  • Turn off notifications on your computer
  • Make a test recording before making a longer video
  • Prepare slides and webpages in advance

Storing and Sharing

The best place to store and share videos is Panopto, our new media server. The many benefits of Panopto include accessibility features such as automatic subtitling, ability to add quizzes to videos, a facility for staff-student discussion linked to the content of recordings, unlimited storage, and reporting on student engagement with learning materials. If Panopto isn’t yet available to you through Blackboard you can record the lectures in advance, and upload them when it is.

Including Other Video Sources

Screencasts aren’t always the best way of capturing content. You may need to record another video source – if you are demonstrating a physical activity, for example. You can use a mobile phone or webcam to record additional content, and then include it in the lecture. One solution is to record additional videos in advance, and then record the screen as you play them back on your computer’s video player. You can also add videos into recordings you’ve already made

Tips for Recording Lectures

Several short videos are better than one long one.
This makes them easier to record, more approachable for learners, and easier to use for revision – because students can navigate to specific videos that they want to learn more about or skip over videos if they already know that content. It also makes it easier for you to update specific sections. This is also in line with the Course Delivery Principles 2021/22.

Link the sections with learning activities.
It helps student engagement if you bridge the different parts of your lecture with learning activities. These can include things like quizzes in Blackboard or Panopto, polls to test understanding, or asking students to write down key questions to bring to the next seminar.

Use a script.
It doesn’t have to be word-for-word all of the things that you’re going to say. It is a good way to stay focused and on point, once you start recording if you draft an introduction that outlines the learning goals, have a list of bullet points for things you want to cover, and have an outro to conclude the lecture. In fact, a bullet or outline script is quicker to prepare and will have more natural pacing.

Use other resources.
If there are already resources that help to explain the topic, like a TED Talk or a research paper, then consider using those. They can add a bit of variety, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. These shouldn’t replace the lecture entirely, though.

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