Camtasia and Blackboard: Distributing library instruction to multiple general chemistry lab sections

Melinda Box, Instructor, Chemistry

Project Description:

Melinda Box and Anne Langley (Chemistry Librarian and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry) are working together to instruct chemistry students how to effectively find chemistry information on the internet (a chemistry scavenger hunt). They have created a video using Camtasia, a screen capture program, demonstrating how to use various online resources.  This video was used in the chemistry sections by the teaching assistants so that Anne does not have to visit all 38 lab sections to repeat the demonstration in person.  In addition, the lab sections do not have to be scheduled in a computer lab.  The video is available in Blackboard for student and teaching assistant use.

Anne says the final video is about 30 minutes long, 22 Mb in size.  She reports:

“I spent between 45 and 50 hours making a 30 minute video for the Chemical Scavenger hunt lab for General Chemistry laboratory. This includes the time I spent learning Camtasia and practicing with it. Next time it won’t take me so long cause I have had practice writing scripts, working the controls, handling the microphone etc. Steep learning curve, but then there is a plateau!”

Videos created for the second semester help present more thorough, uniform, and re-watchable instruction, which was previously presented exclusively by TAs without the help of the librarian.  Videos give students the opportunity to re-watch all or part of either presentation.

The video demonstrations have freed the instructors from having to do the exact same demonstrations for each laboratory section, while providing information that students can refer to later, and allow the instructors to provide more personalized attention to students.

Project start date: 6/18/2008

Funding awarded: $450