Documentation:DIY Screencast/Script

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  • Chunk your content into 3-6 minute segments.
  • Review principles for learning, instruction and multimedia development.
  • Create script and outline your screencast.
  • Set up your recording environment.
  • Ensure that your video setup works and has minimal to zero background noise.

Chunk content

One of the most important features in the planning worksheet is the 'Generate Concepts' section. This will help you break your content down into easily digestible sections, a technique also known as chunking content. Chunking content involves breaking down large themes into manageable chunks or concepts: for example, if you intend to cover 4 concepts in a single video of 20 minutes, breaking the long video into four five-minute chunks will make it likelier that the material will be watched and effectively absorbed. Recent research indicates that the optimal length for student engagement is 6 minutes or less. (Guo, 2013).

Review principles

UBC's Design Principles for Multimedia provides an overview and basic framework for considering evidence based principles when designing multimedia for learning.

For more depth, Carnegie-Mellon's principles for learning, Merrill's First Principles of Instruction, Gagne's 9 events of instruction and Mayer's principles for multimedia development are useful references for helping you think about how to approach your presentation as a learning resource.


After you've selected one chunk to start with, you can fill out this storyboarding worksheet. Here's the completed storyboard for the example project. You can fill this out however you want to: for more traditional video projects, storyboards usually include sketches of each scene with notes attached, but you can feel free to use text, draft your script, draw each slide, sketch diagrams you might use, or some combination of those and other techniques.

Create a script

Writing a script will save you time in the longs run. Include what you want to say, and when you want to say it, with respect to the slides you plan on using. Note transitions between slides, and animations. Once your script is complete, you'll get a sense of the flow of your project and can make decisions about editing more easily.

  • Make sure to rehearse your script(s), to avoid unnecessary pauses or verbal stumbles when you're recording.
  • Note which slide will be on-screen while you're speaking. Some people find it useful to include pictures of the slides in the script, to remind them of what the viewer will see while they're speaking.
  • Time your script to ensure it fits within the 3-6 minute timeframe you should be aiming for.
  • Try to write naturally: not only will people learn better (Mayer's 10th principle) but it'll be easier to read from: encountering the words it is when you'd usually say 'it's is distracting, and can throw you off.
  • Review your presentation for extraneous material, and remove it: the occasional anecdote or tangentially related point is fine, but the shorter your video is, the likelier it'll be watched to completion, and staying focused on your topic is important. (Mayer's 1st principle.)
  • Some people prefer to write out a script or storyboard (visuals). Make sure to rehearse script(s) in order to avoid unnecessary pauses and interjections. Others are confident to wing it and edit later.
  • Double check that your script is clear and descriptive if you are providing steps to follow.
  • Time your script, ideally a screencast should be 3 minutes. A three-minute video will be about 500 words of script, give or take. If you have more material, then you will probably have to do more than one screencast. String them together if you need a longer video.

Here is a Storyboard Outline worksheet Storyboard outline.jpg Storyboard outline pg2.jpg you can use to draw and write out the flow of visuals, concepts, and content in your screencast.

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  • Feel free to maintain a reasonable pace and explain a concept once as students are more likely to watch, review parts & re-watch a video when clarification is needed.
  • Powerpoint slides can help you develop your script.
  • Try to keep to the 3 minute mark per concept with a total video length of not more than 10 minutes.
  • Shorter screencasts also take much less time to plan, edit and produce and are easier for students to digest.