#TechTipThursday: Capturing with Screencast-O-Matic


Having the ability to make a recording of what’s happening on one’s computer screen is invaluable to the teaching and learning experience. Whether the student is submitting an assignment documenting the creation of something digital or the instructor is creating a digital lecture, the applications of a screen capture program run the gamut. Screencast-O-Matic is one of the options available to users and one we both recommend and support.

Users have access to basic features with a free account and have the option to upgrade to receive pro features. Certain limitations remain with the pro account, however, which is part of the reason we’re so excited about Longwood University’s site license. Now, any member of the Longwood University community has access, through the DEC, to the Screencast-O-Matic Pro Recorder to fulfill an educational need.

This post will review the basic recording functionality of Screencast-O-Matic’s Pro Recorder. If, after reviewing this post, you’re interested in obtaining access, please contact the Digital Education Collaborative.

Know that Screencast-O-Matic will save a local copy of your recording. The default save location is C:\Users\’myUsername’\Documents\Screencast-O-Matic. sco0To change the default location, click on the folder icon in the top left corner of the recorder, and select “browse” to identify a new location on your computer.SCO1Recording Options

  1. There are 2 different audio configuration modes: “narration” and “computer audio”, which are not mutually exclusive. You can click on the arrow to the right of the option to select the microphone (narration) and/or turn on/off recording computer sounds (computer audio).
    1. Narration mode captures sounds that your microphone picks up, recording any noises that occur in your recording space.
    2. Computer audio mode captures sounds that your computer generates, whether or not they are actually heard in your recording space. This allows for a crisper recording of your computer’s sounds without actually requiring you to speak over the noises. However, using only computer audio keeps the system from recording sounds in your environment, including your voice. *Note that this option is only available on a PC; Macs cannot record computer audio.
  2. You can set a “Max Time” for any recording, which will automatically stop the recording once you reach the identified limit. As this is an option, you (a) don’t need to identify a max time nor (b) record to the max time limit set.
  3. Various visual recording configurations are available within the Pro Recorder. You can choose between recording your screen, a webcam, or both in the recording menu.  If you record both, you can use the three different sizes of inset boxes to indicate the size of the webcam recording with relation to the screen recording; you can switch between these options while recording. sco4
  4. Once the recording starts, you have the ability to draw on top of and/or zoom into your screen capture. You can either select the pen in the bottom left corner or use the hotkey (Alt-D on Windows or Option-D on a Mac). sco5
    1. Click and drag the cursor to draw on the screen. You can change the color by selecting the colored box to display the drop down color menu. sco6
    2. You may change the style of the line by clicking on the arrow immediately to the left of “Erase”.sco7

Numerous editing tools are available through the Pro Recorder and are best addressed as a separate topic. Next week’s #TechTipThursday will focus solely on these tools.

The Pro Recorder affords users a variety of options to publish a recording. Recall that Screencast-O-Matic automatically saves a version of your video locally. When you access this version, however, it will launch.in Screencast-O-Matic and not another video player. The “Save as Video File” option will export all of the formatting to a video file that you can use in other players. You also have the option to publish to Screencast-O-Matic, YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Screencast-O-Matic reminds users that “uploads to Screencast-O-Matic.com are still limited to 15-min per upload”.sco8

If you’d like to request access to Longwood University’s site license to the Pro Recorder, or already have access and need additional assistance,  please contact the Digital Education Collaborative. Stay tuned for next week’s post on the editing tools available within the Pro Recorder.


*This post was drafted by Michael, Paige & Rebecca, three Instructional Technology Collaborators.

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