Producing Your Class

Teaching Approach: Screencast, Talking Head, Demonstration

There isn’t one ideal approach — the best approach for you will depend on your topic and the style that you think will best serve your content and audience. Many teachers use a mixture of approaches in a single class.

Screencast

Screencasting is a great way to demonstrate your workflow or share slides. If your entire class is a screencast, you’ll need to pay close attention to pacing, the quality of your voiceover, and the quality of the visual experience to keep your class engaging and interesting throughout.

Preparing to Record a Screencast

  • Set your resolution: Skillshare’s video player uses a 16:9 aspect ratio, so you’ll want to make sure everything you record (your screen and your slides) match the same ratio. Head to System Preferences > Display on a Mac or Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization on a PC to change your screen resolution to 1280 x 720 or above.
  • Make your slides (if you are using slides): Some great tools are Canva (free), Powerpoint ($6.99/month), Keynote ($19.99), and Prezi ($10/month). Be sure to add lots of high-resolution images to keep students engaged. Check out this tutorial to learn how to create an engaging slide presentation.
  • Set up your audio: We recommend using a USB microphone like this to record the audio for your screencasts. Quickly run through this tutorial on how to setup your microphone. Don’t forget to keep the mic as close to your mouth as possible and record in a quiet space!
  • Vary your visuals: To keep students engaged, switch up your slides and screencast visuals every 30 seconds or so.

Screencasting on a Mac

If you are just running through slides or a software demo with minimal editing, Quicktime is the simplest way to record and edit your class, for free! Run through this 5-minute tutorial to learn everything you need to record, edit and export your screencasted videos in Quicktime.

  • Option 2: Quicktime + IMovie (Free)

If you need to do a little more editing, like adding a visual asset to the middle of your screencapture, we recommend capturing your footage in Quicktime and importing into iMovie to edit. Here’s a tutorial on how to edit and export your footage in iMovie.

Camtasia is our number 1 recommended tool for recording a screencast and editing, all in one. Walk through this easy to follow tutorial to create your class in no time. Plus, Camtasia offers loads of helpful resources and tutorials on their site. 

Screencasting on a PC

A good, free solution for capturing and editing your screen and webcam footage.

Although a little pricier, if you have a PC we recommend Camtasia as the best all-in-one solution. Here’s a tutorial for getting started with Camtasia on a PC. 

Additional Resources

We asked a few of our top teachers to share their personal tips and tricks for recording a screencast. Check out their insights here.

Need extra help? For help with editing your screencast videos, VideoPixie - a freelance network for videographers and editors - offers a special discounted editing package for Skillshare teachers! Learn more here.

Talking Head 

A “talking-head” style video works well for introductions, to keep your videos personal and engaging. Mixing talking head with a screencast will keep your class varied and visually compelling (we suggest switching up visuals in some way every 30 seconds or so, to keep students engaged.)

In addition to the microphone you’ll need for screencasting, you’ll also need a camera and good lighting to shoot talking head videos. Review the previous section for our recommendations.

Physical Demonstration

Sometimes, observation is the best way to learn. If you want to physically demonstrate a process or technique for students, you’ll need to think about the best way to capture your demonstration on film. You can use a tripod to position your camera overhead, or use a drafting table to raise your work surface for an angled shot.