A pencast is a way of capturing hand-written notes, and it can be accompanied by an audio track that gives further explanation. There are two ways in which pencasts have been carried out:

1) Very basically, using a paper, pen and video camera to record the lecturer’s voice and what is going on.

2) Using a smartpen such as Livescribe‘s model, which comes with a unique notepad and has a microphone built into the pen so audio can be added to the final video.



Kenneth Shankland is a lecturer in pharmacy. One of the modules he teaches – called Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy – provides students with an understanding of the principles that influence the formulation and stability of drug delivery systems. It is a module that lays the foundation for certain mathematical skills needed throughout the M. Pharm. programme and the practical skills necessary to extemporaneously prepare medicines.

On Kenneth’s course, there are a series of workshops in which students are given calculations to answer. However, when Kenneth found he was being asked by students for help outside of the workshop, either as supplementary or because they hadn’t finished the questions in the allocated time, he began using pencasts to write out and answer the questions that students were struggling with.

pencastStudents were very responsive to this method of support as it gave them a step-by-step guide accompanied with audio to explain what was happening.


Adam Squires a lecturer in chemistry who teaches the maths for chemists module and some physical chemistry modules. The modules are maths-orientated, so giving students worked examples that they can revisit is advantageous. In the maths for chemists modules, Adam uses a Livescribe pen and special paper in conjunction with a visualiser to produce a pencast. During the lectures, the audio commentary track is also recorded. After the lecture, material can be uploaded to Blackboard ready for the students to re-watch if they wish to.



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