Talking Teaching

March 5, 2010

the sound of my own voice

Filed under: science teaching — Tags: , , — alison @ 2:49 pm

Every now & then I take a timid step into the unknown. ‘Unknown’ for me, that is. Today, the step was to record my lectures using ‘coursecast’ (Panopto) software, so that my students can view them again (& again & again… heck, I hope not – if they need several viewings then my explanations etc probably aren’t up to scratch!)

I must say, I was quite pleased with the result. Students viewing a recording get to see a smallish ‘live action’ screen that shows me plus the backs of a few rows of heads; a list of slides that allows them to jump from one to the other; the current slide plus thumbnails of the others, which allow allows them to jump between slides; & if enabled, a view of the computer screen is also available. The quality of the recording is good – but I must say, it’s quite strange listening to your own voice! Sounds different when it’s actually echoing around in your own head.

I didn’t use the ‘screen capture’ option & now I think I should have done, & will in future. This is because I routinely ‘draw’ on my powerpoint slides – I always use the arrow (cursor) as a pointer, because it’s much easier on the eye than a jiggly laser pointer spot, but you also have the option of using it as a pen. This lets me cross things out (if I’ve made a typo, for example!), underline for emphasis, & draw scribble a diagram for explanation. I find it really helps the classroom dynamic as well – lets the students see I don’t mind who knows that I’ve made a mistake, plus it can inject a bit of humour. Anyway, those scribbles don’t show on the slide capture function, so I’ll enable ‘screen capture’ from now on.

Now, here’s the philosophical musings… It could be argued – & I suspect many of my colleagues will do this – that if my lectures are recorded & available after the event, that the students won’t bother coming at all. (They said this when I started putting all my ppts on moodle ahead of lectures, & I didn’t notice any obvious drop in numbers!) Personally, I don’t think it’s all that likely – there’s a lot of interplay in my lectures that the recording won’t pick up, because it’s student-based & I’m the only one wired for sound. And there are a lot of benefits to be had from doing this sort of thing. Students who are ill won’t have to rely on study guides or their friends’ notes but can still see the performance. And students who didn’t catch a comment, or who need to hear something again, can replay it. Similarly, if they didn’t understand the first time, they’ve got the opportunity to hear things again. It’s got to be good for students.

Good for me, too: I get to see (in miniature) & hear what the students see & hear, so if I’ve got any irritating mannerisms etc then I can identify them & – I hope! – work to correct things.

So hopefully it’s a win-win for everyone :-)



  1. I’m not a teacher… so I can’t comment from that angle.

    On the subject of Moodle, I know the University of Otago Medical School is having a go at using a local implementation of Moodle, this year. (They’ve called it called MedMoodle.)

    I wonder if one advantage that some students might pick up on, is the opportunity to go back to a lecture and replay it. Instead of only relying on their notes, they can go back to the “real thing” (or at least a version of it)?

    Comment by Grant Jacobs — March 11, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

    • That’s how I imagine they’ll use it – that, plus if someone’s sick & misses a class, they don’t completely miss out on everything. It’s nice to see that there hasn’t been a mass exodus from my lectures now that the recordings are available, so they must see some value in coming to class :-) And in fact only a handful of students have accessed the course-cast material, & in some cases that’s only for a minute or two.

      Comment by alison — March 11, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

  2. […] get through everything I’d intended to for that class – but I was able to do an extra panopto recording later that day for the students to follow, & there were always the […]

    Pingback by the tyranny of powerpoint « Talking Teaching — June 13, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

  3. […] get through everything I’d intended to for that class – but I was able to do an extra panopto recording later that day for the students to follow, & there were always the […]

    Pingback by the tyranny of powerpoint | BioBlog — June 14, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  4. […] Filed under: Uncategorized — alison @ 10:41 pm Way back at the start of the semester, I started using Panopto software (plus the necessary bits of lecture-room hardware) to record my first-year lectures. It was […]

    Pingback by reflecting on panopto « Talking Teaching — July 1, 2010 @ 10:42 pm

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