Videocasts in engineering and design education
The Engineering and Product Design Education conference in Barcelona 2008 highlighted the wide variety of academics, teachers and practitioners using video in their teaching. This paper gives an overview of the current use of videocasts in engineering and design education. Videocasts are the video equivalent of podcasts: online, available and video based. They can be generated and published to demonstrate a variety of information and skills, including traditional lectures, software demonstrations (e.g. CAD, spreadsheets, programming software), animations and hands-on practical demonstrations (e.g. drawing techniques, model making, analytical workings). Videocasts can also be used to assess student work, providing a useful insight into students' understanding and strategy. A critical evaluation of the various videocast types is presented. In particular, practical issues are discussed for publication on generic institutional gateways (e.g. intranet and VLE systems such as Blackboard) and also standalone websites. This paper also serves as a guide to lecturers and teachers who want to use videocasts to complement and extend traditional teaching methods. Guidelines are provided for preparation, presentation and post processing of material. Case studies are discussed to highlight particular strengths and weaknesses in generating the videocasts for various activities in a range of environments. In summary, videocasts are a powerful tool for educators, especially in higher education where student attendance and commitment can be volatile. Used efficiently, they can be perpetuating, save time and present academics with an opportunity to multitask. They can give students a flexible learning environment and support diverse learning styles.