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Effective Use Of Screencasting Software In Engineering Courses

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Programming for Engineering Students

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.442.1 - 15.442.14



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Paper Authors


John Baker University of Kentucky

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John R. Baker is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky Extended Campus Program in Paducah, KY. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY. After obtaining his B.S., he spent three years working in the Plastics Division of Eastman Chemical Products, Inc. He entered his current position in July 2000.

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Vincent Capece University of Kentucky

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Vincent R. Capece is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky Extended Campus Program in Paducah, KY. Dr. Capece received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, and Ph.D. from Purdue University. He has held his current position since July 1999.

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Keith Rouch University of Kentucky

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Keith E. Rouch, P.E., has been a professor at the University of Kentucky for the past 25 years, following 19 years with Allis-Chalmers Corp, and served as department chair of Mechanical Engineering for twelve years. During 1996, he was Interim Director of the Center for Robotics and Manufacturing and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Purdue University, and his Ph.D. (1977) from Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Effective Use of Screencasting Software in Engineering Courses


This paper overviews several situations in which screencasts were developed using screen capturing software to enhance the learning experience in engineering courses. This software allows an engineering instructor with no background in producing training videos to easily produce computer-based videos customized for teaching specific topics. It can be effectively used to provide students instruction outside class in situations in which standard in-class lectures would not be efficient or effective. The particular software package used in this work was Camtasia Studio. Some discussion of video file sizes is included in this work.

In this paper, examples are provided in which screen capturing software was used to produce training videos for students on how to use various features in software tools such as MATLAB and ANSYS. Teaching use of software in a lecture format in class is often not particularly effective. Also, writing tutorial documents for student use of software presents some difficulties, even when great care is taken to precisely word instructions. It is difficult to write a tutorial without inadvertently including instructions that are subject to misinterpretation. Often, when a student who is a new user of some software misinterprets an instruction in a tutorial, it can produce a lot of frustration. However, using screen casting software, it is easy to produce training videos that capture the action on the screen, along with audio explanations, and new student users can easily follow the tutorial examples with few chances of misunderstanding, because they see the tasks exactly as they need to be performed on the video. While they watch the video, they can follow along on the same computer and complete the same steps using the software that is the subject of the video. Students can easily halt the video while they complete a task using the software, then restart, or rewind, as needed. Engineering simulation software continues to take on a more important role for practicing engineers. But, it is a challenge in standard engineering courses to incorporate use of the software in classes while still having adequate time to teach the primary topic of the course, such as vibrations or controls. Screencasts are very beneficial in helping students quickly learn to use various software tools with minimal frustration.

Another area discussed in the paper in which screen capturing software has been advantageous is the creation of videos in which example problems are solved, with audio explanations. Students often ask that more example solutions be provided in their courses. However, lecture time is limited in courses. Certainly, example solutions can be made available for students to review outside of class. But, using screencasts, the students can watch the progression of the example solutions while listening to recorded explanatory audio comments, and this provides advantages in limiting misunderstandings.

Another topic discussed is use of screencasts to allow students in a distance learning environment to observe laboratory demonstrations.

Baker, J., & Capece, V., & Rouch, K. (2010, June), Effective Use Of Screencasting Software In Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16909

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015