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Distributed, discipline specific, screencasting for student IT training

 Unit conveners from Education and Arts and Design at the University of Canberra are creating short just-in-time screen casts themselves, that show students how to perform specific functions in Mahara. Mahara is a relatively complex system that takes a while to learn. Our experience so far confirms that introducing Mahara in small chunks as needed (as determined by the rest of the curriculum) works very well. It could be any IT based system, but the idea is that rather than provide generic how-to videos from a central support group, unit conveners value add by making the videos context specific.

We could make a bunch of generic videos that show students how to make a jounral, a portfolio page, sharing a page etc. The benefit of the teachers making these videos is that the convener can embed;
  • the reason for using the tool.
  • unit specific instructions regarding the content students are meant to be collecting, generating.
  • very focused instructions about how the students go about a specific task rather than a center covering every aspect of a tool.
  • other unit specific information that is relevant to the task and reason for using the tool.
What this means is that:
  • students save a lot of time because they only learn the aspects of the system they need to know.
  • the information shown is highly relevant to the tasks the students have to complete.
  • the instruction is context specific, purposeful and relevant.
Perhaps these videos are too specific to be widely re-usable - however there are obvious teaching and learning benefits to this approach. Generic videos might be useful however as a support resource for staff who which to learn a tool or process and then make their own tailored teaching videos, reducing demand on support staff in high demand environments.

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