Recording short pre-lecture video clips to introduce lectures and key themes

Over the years Ian Mell had noted that student engagement with Lecture Capture in his courses (a core year 3 unit and an elective for Masters students) was high but variable, and was especially high near the exam period. Individual topics relevant to other classes were also particularly popular. A more active engagement with the broader themes of each lecture especially prior to the session was something that merited consideration to ensure maximum discussion in classroom/seminar-based teaching

Initially, as Ian was already a user of the lecture capture service to record lectures, he started to record short pre-lecture screen casts to introduce the core themes and theories of each lecture. These recording were hosted on a dedicated YouTube channel that he created ( and then linked to Blackboard. Lecture based videos were support with others produced “on-site” to provide a real-world context to the ideas being discussed. During the pandemic Ian simply used Zoom to create pre-lecture videos

Ian have accompanied these additional screencasts with new crib notes for each lecture, which reinforce key messages, highlight interesting case studies and identify targeted reading.

In line with patterns observed across the institution, in Ian’s courses too the use of Lecture Capture by students saw a significant jump in the use of digital material around exam periods when students use these resources in conjunction with their lecture notes to revise. From discussions with students this is seen as a positive

From a lecturer point of view the solution was successful. As expected, the screencast were viewed more than they had been (ranging from 5-47 views). Also as expected, both the screencasts and the Lecture Capture recordings were viewed more towards the exam period. However, the additional crib sheets were used in conjunction with the screen casts and Lecture Capture to aid revision.

Evaluation / Student Feedback
  • The combination of pre-recorded mini-lectures, site visit videos and cribs sheet were reported in formative and summative feedback as providing useful materials for student learning.
  • The consideration of the ideas taught in class on-site was seen as being useful in showing students “how to” do it.
  • The supporting case studies were then used to provide avenues for further research helping students to integrate additional depth into their assessed work.
  • Useful for instructor to focus on the key issues that the sessions will discuss
  • Useful for the students to start thinking about what issues (and how they fit within the wider module) the class will discuss.
Top Tips
  • Decide what materials are needed ahead of time and allow yourself time to get used to the technology, the timeframe you are working with, and what types of information you want to discuss.
  • Think carefully about the alignment of specific pre-recorded materials for both individual weeks and to support the module as a whole.
  • Be comfortable with it not being perfect – we’re not all film makers after all.
  • Try to develop a blend of resources that utilise taking to the camera, presentation slides and site-based videos to provide variety to what you’re doing.
  • Understand what you’re making the videos form and how they will add-value to your teaching materials.


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School: SEED, Planning

Academic: Ian Mell

Course: PLAN30852/60852 Green Infrastructure & Sustainable Cities

Themes: Teaching Ideas, Multimedia

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