Let’s say that one day you reserve the clunky and complicated audiovisual cart with the laptop and projector and wheel it painfully to your non-electronic classroom so that you can give a live demonstration to your students of how to do something absolutely crucial that can only be done on a computer: how to use a particular library research database, how to make a PowerPoint presentation for their final class project, exactly where to go in the learning management system to check their grades. One wheel of the cart was apparently possessed, heading north when its brethren were heading east, just like a wheel on any given shopping cart. You hate that A/V cart. You’d be willing to deal with anything, anything, never to have to use it again. Even video codecs. Yes. Even those.
CamStudio is for you, then. It’s open source, Windows-only software that will allow you to make a video recording of whatever’s happening on your computer screen; it outputs video in .avi or .swf formats. CamStudio lets you add captions to your screencast, but if you’d like to add a voice-over, you can get a little PC microphone such as the Logitech USB Desktop Microphone for under $20, and there are some mic models that sell for under $10. Record your lesson, post it online, tell your students to watch it, and there you go. No more cart.
CamStudio is a fairly easy program to use, as long as you don’t count the settings. Video recording settings can be very confusing, which certainly isn’t CamStudio’s fault, but the default settings in CamStudio aren’t going to give you the high-quality, small-size, easily shareable files that you want. I therefore recommend watching this helpful CamStudio tutorial on YouTube — and yes, the YouTube tutorial was itself made with CamStudio. It’s been viewed over 150,000 times as of this date, so hey, that tells you something. — AMANDA FRENCH