Hard-learned Tips on Screencasting

My latest column for MAA Focus, Becoming a Screencasting Star, is now available online.  In this post, I include a collection of “Hard-Learned Tips” on screencasting – these are things I wish someone had told me before I recorded my first set of videos.  For example …

Mind Your References. Don’t mention specific texts, sections, or page numbers in your screencasts. If you do, then switching to a different text or a new edition will suddenly make all your videos out of date. If you must reference a section or page number, do it in the text that accompanies the link to the video. It’s easy to change text, but very time-consuming to reproduce all the videos. I learned this one the hard way!

There is also advice for choosing the right type of software and dealing with storage of screencasts.  If you’ve got additional tips you’d like to share, please do so in the comments. :)

You can view all my past Teaching with Tech columns here.

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Top 10 Technology Tools for Math 2008

1. Jing gives students and instructors the ability to capture an image of any graph or equation they see on their screen and share it anywhere else (message boards, emails, papers, digital assignments). Using Jing you can also record videos of up to 5 minutes in length. [Free, Mac/PC] Not sure how to use Jing? Check out the tutorials at the end of this post.

2. Wolfram Demonstrations provides close to 3,000 interactive demonstrations on mathematics. Students and instructors can play with demonstrations by downloading Mathematica Player. [Read more...]

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Producing in Camtasia for YouTube

The Visual Lounge blog pointed me to two Bill Myers videos on how to produce from Camtasia to YouTube with good quality. Here they are!

I’ve produced a few videos for YouTube, but only one on math (and it was an experiment to see what kind of quality I could get – not great). Although I much prefer the quality and video-length I get with Screencast, the advantage to using YouTube is that I wouldn’t have to pay for my own hosting. If a publicly-available Screencast video became popular, I could easily end up blowing all my download bandwidth for the month. During my peak month of calculus video usage, I did hit 25 GB download on the day before the end of the month – and those videos are (mostly) only available through links in a password-protected LMS.

The other major YouTube issue is that of ownership. If I post a video to YouTube, is it still my video or does it now belong to YouTube? I haven’t been sure, and so I haven’t posted much. But I did go looking for an answer to this question tonight, and I found a nice video by Michael Miller on the subject (yes, a YouTube video):

So, lately I’ve been contemplating the project of reproducing some of the calculus videos in shorter bursts for YouTube. I’ve also been contemplating some other kinds of tutorials on using WebAssign, MathType, Windows Journal, etc.

On a side note, I think I would get a lot more stuff like this done if I had a permanent full-time personal assistant. I tried to convince my husband to quit his job and be my assistant instead, but I don’t think he liked the idea of working for me. If nothing else, the mere suggestion that he work for me will likely keep him working in his banking job for a while (don’t know if you’re aware, but work in the banking industry is a miserable life right now).

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Removing Background Noise in Camtasia

If you use Camtasia, you probably know, somewhere in the back of your mind, that you can adjust the audio in recorded videos. I’ve known it for months, but haven’t actually messed around with it until I needed to reproduce a whole bunch of videos to be more compatible with Flash 9.

As I listened to some of my old videos, watching my learning about video recording progress in accelerated time as my videos progressed through the semester. During this reproduction process, I discovered that the audio level and quality varied greatly in the lessons. Some were recorded at home on my porch, some in hotels with loud air conditioners, etc. When I hit a particularly bad one (click here if you really want to hear it), I decided that the time had come to learn how to remove those background noises.

It’s actually pretty easy. Here’s my tutorial. And here’s the Techsmith Learning Center page for this topic.

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Big Red Cursors for your Tablet or Video Lessons

This is a video from Bill Myers that shows you how to install some big red cursors and pointers for making videos to make it easier to track the mouse. Here’s the link to the download for the cursors.

I’m not sure he was thinking about this intent in the video, but it seems that these cursors would also work well for projecting from a tablet, when it can ALSO be difficult for students to track the mouse.

I found this on the TechSmith Visual Lounge Blog, which always has some nice stuff.

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