Some instructors are surprised when they first hear that they should begin preparing for a recorded lecture by writing a script. Some instructors believe that writing a script will take a lot of time, and that using a script will make the finished recording sound like they are reading, and that they should approach their online lectures the same way they do the on-campus ones – without a script.

Preparing a script for an online lecture is an essential step, however, that actually helps to save time and create a higher quality finished lecture.

So why script your lectures?

  1. To Save Time
      You will be surprised how much time and frustration you will save yourself when you are recording lectures. You won’t have as many flubs-ups or wonder if you actually covered everything you were planning on covering only to discover you didn’t. If you do mess up, it’s easier to re-record.
  2. To Keep Online Lectures at an Ideal Length and Quality
      A script will also help you keep track of time. We recommend that online lecture be no longer than 20 minutes (and shorter is better!). This time limit is very hard to achieve when you don’t know how long you plan on talking, or if you go off on a tangent.
      One trick you can do so you don’t sound like you are reading a script is writing your script in a less formal manner. How will you know if it’s less formal? Read it out loud after you write it! If you find yourself getting stuck on words or just find it hard to read, try restating the sentence as though you are just talking with a friend or a student in your office. Also, practice reading your script two or three times before you record; this will make the whole recording process go more smoothly.
  3. To Make Lectures Accessible
      An added bonus to scripting your lectures is that it would be transcribed for students with documented disabilities, or for those for whom English is a second language.

On-campus and online courses meet the same learning outcomes, but the online learning environment is different from the face-to-face environment. Writing a script as the first step in creating your online lecture content is a great way to help you create content that will be effective for online students.

A great example of a lecture that was recorded with a script was done by Julia Goodwin for her HST 104 course World History I: Ancient Civilizations, here is her lecture for week 8

Jing is a free program that allows you to create annotated screenshots and narrated screencasts (“movies” of anything you can show on your screen, with your voice-over narration). Jing screencasts can be up to five minutes long, which makes it ideal for online instruction. Jing works with word processed documents, spreadsheets, websites … anything you can show on your computer screen.

Instructors can use Jing screencasts to provide mini-lectures, feedback on student work, web-tours, demonstrations of software, assignment directions, online course orientations, or any time they would like to bring their voice to the online classroom. Students do not need special software to view Jing videos; any modern web browser will display the videos. Jing is a great way to bring life to an online class!

Jing works in partnership with, a site that provides free storage (2GB of storage and 2GB of monthly bandwidth). You record with Jing, upload to Screencast, and then share the image or video with the link Screencast provides. (There’s even an option to get an “embed” link if you wish to embed the video on a webpage.)

Once you download Jing, you’ll have the Jing Sun on your desktop, an easy-t0-use interface that hangs out at the edge of your screen, ready to help you create an annotated screenshot or narrated screencast video.

Jing is easy to use, and both Jing and Screencast are free. You can download Jing at Register your Screencast account at