Screencasts: The Development of AUT’s Online Mathematics and Statistics Resources
Many students throughout AUT require extra support with mathematics and statistics. This program will create a library of mathematics and statistics resources in the form of "screencasts", tailored to AUT requirements and linked to AUT courses via Blackboard. A screencast is a video recording of a computer screen output, together with a narrative soundtrack. In this context, the screencasts can include the handwritten words (via sensitive screen and stylus) and computer package output (typically statistical software such as R, or symbolic algebra packages such as mathematica or sage). Mathematical content is notoriously difficult to typeset but the immediacy of the stylus input allows the presentation of mathematical material as effectively as a lecture; and of course the students may play the screencast as many times as desired. Screencasts are also particularly effective for less motivated students in that they may be viewed with minimal engagement; but conversely, the more highly motivated students may study the material interactively. I have conducted a small pilot project, in which I created a library of screencasts for undergraduates studying statistics. Students found this form of resource to be very valuable, and previously produced screencasts have routinely achieved an 80% download rate: specifically, more than three quarters of enrolled students have downloaded at least one screencast. Formal and informal comments have been overwhelmingly positive. The pilot screencasts are available on Blackboard but the graphical user interface (GUI) is primitive and requires development. The hardware currently available (a lenovo thinkpad) is another limiting factor, and if this project is sucessful more sophisticated hardware would allow the production of higher-quality material. The effectiveness of the project will be assessed through student and staff feedback.
- Robin Hankin (project leader) – development of resources, collecting student feedback and presenting findings.
- Peter Maclaren – academic advisor from the Centre for Learning and Teaching.
Supported by a grant from AUT's Learning and Teaching Development Fund. The grant includes Center for Learning and Teaching Digital Media time and Learning and Teaching Technology Enablers support.
Project leader – Dr Robin Hankin firstname.lastname@example.org