So far, because narrated PowerPoint files are so big, I've been recording audio lectures with Audacity and making the PowerPoint into a .pdf file for students to use in taking notes. Obviously that's not ideal. I'd rather have one file. I'm definitely a newbie in this area, so I have a question that is not on Moodle itself but related to my use of Moodle for teaching online.
What free tools would you recommend to create either a video of myself lecturing or, better still, a video that shows me, at least part of the time, but always shows a PowerPoint slide or presentation slide from some other program? Or, is there a way to add audio to a PowerPoint presentation without making a massive (150M+) file without it showing me? I'm looking for variety. I've had students complain that they want variety. I cannot imagine having told a professor when I was in college or grad school that I wanted variety in the way that he or she presented information, but I digress. Thanks for any suggestions that you might have. I know that some of you do things like this because there have been recent threads about how to make them work on Moodle.
By the way, is there a way to enable the spell-checker that I normally see in edit boxes like this in Moodle when I am at this site? Thanks.
You mention Free...but it sounds like you need to invest if you are investing so much time in your work. I was like you but many years ago I got into using Camtasia from Techsmith.....after a bit of a learning curve....I have never looked back. Do yourself a favour look at a resonable priced video Editor.
Take a look at mybrainshark.com for running a PowerPoint with audio at the same time to get you started for free. It will be available online to your students with a link from your Moodle course.
I do however really like my Camtasia and recommend it.
Maybe I should try Camtasia. You're not the first person to recommend brainshark to me. I tried mybrainshark last night and today and it absolutely failed. I couldn't make the slides advance even though the web site showed the titles of them and the tutorial on using a microphone helped none at all. If this is the way things are going to be, perhaps I should not try anything beyond what I do now. Perhaps I'm too much of a programmer, and not enough of a user?
A quick point about Camtasia, although it's easy to use, it only supports h.264 video in MP4, M4V, MOV, WMV, and AVI media containers. If you're targeting HTML5 video, you also need to encode versions of the video to Theora OGG (for Firefox), and On VP8 WebM (for Chrome) formats to be sure that it'll play on everyone's computers (cross-browser compatibility).
If you transcode the encoded output h.264 files into another format, e.g. with SUPER or even a high end video editor, you run the risk of significantly degrading the image quality.
Ideally, you should try to find a screen recorder that outputs a high bit rate "source" video file that you can then edit and encode into a variety of formats. If not, then try to find other screen recorders that output to the other required formats and just make 2 or 3 recordings for each video.
But then why use video for a slideshow in the first place?
The Book module's practical, easy to use, and compatible with all browsers. If you don't need to support older operating systems like Windows XP, then give the Presentation module (reveal.js) a try and see if it meets your needs: https://github.com/matbury/mod_revealjs
Of course, if you need to include videos in the presentation, you're back to the old cross-browser compatibility problems again.
So, you want variety... let's see...
If lecture capture (recording audio + slides + lecturer during a live lecture) is something that your faculty/university would like to explore, then this is a good free and open source project: http://opencast.org/matterhorn/
For screen casting (recording your computer screen + your voice) there's a number of free and open source projects with varying degrees of functionality: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_screencasting_software (Look for GPL, BSD, and MIT licences).
Most of the commercial screen cast software, Captivate, Raptivity, Camtasia, etc., is aimed at business training scenarios and for producing SCORM packages to deploy on company SCORM players (a scaled down type of LMS). However, they can export/publish in a number of standalone formats including Flash, video, and nowadays some do HTML5, although you won't be able to deploy HTML5* slideshows with Moodle's file Manager (It breaks the links between the files and deletes some of them because it thinks they aren't being used).
It's also worth investigating the popular media players (Moodle uses FlowPlayer by default) such as the JW Player: http://www.longtailvideo.com/jw-player/ or Strobe Media Playback: http://sourceforge.net/projects/smp.adobe/ (free and open source). They can play a variety of playlists and so you can collate lists of images, audio, video, and animations to be played in sequence. M3U playlists are incredibly easy to collate, SMIL XML files are a little more involved and difficult but learnable.
In Moodle itself, the Book module is a flexible way to collate/compile text, images, audio, animations (but not HTML5), and/or video on a series of pages, with built in navigation and a list of contents, i.e. slides. It's also easier to compose since you're not trying to give a performance (lecture) and do everything at once; you can record the parts separately and then bring them together. It's also much easier to correct typos.
* BTW, it is possible to display HTML5 slideshows and animations in Moodle but not with Moodle's file manager. It's usually easiest to use a separate repository and "hotlink", i.e. link directly, e.g. use iframes: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element/iframe or just a standard link, to them from within Moodle. The screen space available on users' computers/devices can sometimes be an issue (standard HD 1280x720 presentations rarely fit into a Moodle page alongside Moodle's navigation and other elements) so opening a presentation on a page of its own can be more desirable since it can use the whole screen.
Finally, I think giving learners control of slideshows is a step in the right direction; they can pause, review, and jump to specific parts, as well as refer to other resources, while they're trying to make sense of the subject matter, i.e. if used appropriately, it can lead to deeper learning.
I hope this helps!
I would add that camtasia is worth it- give it a 30 day free trial.
with regard to file size reduction, I wouldn't post the vid file itself in moodle, but upload it to YouTube (or your own server - we use a camtasia relay server at my school), then just post the links to the streaming video in moodle. It makes things much smaller on your moodle server.
Thanks for all these suggestions. They are much appreciated. I might have to start more humbly in the middle of this semester than trying to learn several new programs to decide which works best for me while working full-time and teaching two online courses for different schools (each with a different LMS).
Understood Kenneth. Good luck in your busy semester!
Hi Ken and all,
This makes me think others might be in the same situation, We want to use elearning but just don't have the time to do it....but what if you had someone to help you set up your course. Save it and send it on to you.....a mentor/ helper. Is that something people here might like to explore? With the correct type of data base set up you might even get someone that knows your subject content....which is always a plus.
I only say this because I also have my own up to date moodle that only gets used by me and my students. A great place to build up content etc, Anyway just an idea?
You may want to try CamStudio. We use it at my school, and it is very much like Camtasia, but it is free.
You can narrate your PowerPoint presentation then compress it so you can load it in Moodle. I developed a PPT that was 34MB then compressed it down to 12MB.
I haven't used it yet, but check out Voki-its free.
Just uploaded this plugin for Moodle so currently under review. My Github.com repo is here: https://github.com/matbury/mod_revealjs When/If it's approved it's be available here: https://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=mod_revealjs
The main advantage with video and audio formats here is that you can specify different video and audio files for different browsers, e.g. MP4 for IE and Safari, OGG for Firefox, and WebM for Chrome. Users will only see one audio or video player with the appropriate file format being played.
IE 10 is still a bit quirky with regards to HTML5 and SVG, so expect some strange behaviour sometimes.
My demo is here: http://m2.matbury.com/course/view.php?id=7 It's currently showing one presentation with one transition effect and one style. There are several transition and style presets to choose from on it and it's possible to install more. You can mix and match presentations, transitions, and CSS in any combination you like, and it's quick and easy.
I've never used powerpoint, libreoffice impress works well for me. I'm also surprised that nobody has mentioned recordmydesktop, being another free open source software that has a high rating.Both are easy to install.
Yes, I've used recordmydesktop and I like it. However, it's only available for Linux. If you have a Windows OS on your computer, you can install Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop or one of its variants like Edubuntu http://edubuntu.org/ (for education) or Lubuntu http://lubuntu.net/ (extra light-weight and fast) alongside Windows (you choose which OS to use when you start up the computer).
- Download the installer ISO disk image.
- Burn it onto a CD/DVD.
- Leave it/put it into your computer's CD/DVD drive.
- Connect your computer to the internet via a LAN cable (WiFi won't work during installation) to get updates and extras (you can get these later if you wish).
- Restart your computer.
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
- Choose the install alongside Windows option (Windows and all your files should be left intact but it's best to make a backup before you install another OS).
- Installation takes about an hour (in comparison, the last time I installed Windows 7, it took 7 hours to finish updating everything... Is that why it's called Windows 7?).
On older computers, some things might not work immediately and you may need to do some trouble-shooting, e.g. on my laptop, I usually have to reinstall the WiFi card drivers to get it to work. It's a simple, easy process of copying a few lines into the command line and you can find numerous step by step guides with pictures on the web.
Asking a Linux fan or someone sufficiently geeky to help you through the process the first time helps to smooth things over and reduce anxiety (It's amazing how some people feel about doing something like this on their computer!).
The standard hard-disk partition size for Ubuntu is 100GB so make sure you have that or something close to it free on your computer.
Warning! You may find that Linux meets all your computing and communication needs and that when you get used to it, going back to Windows is a bothersome chore. ;)
Another free open source recording software that is now being credibly talked about is simplescreenrecorder, with some claiming that it is even better than recordmydesktop.More flexibilty, more tools, can record games.
I can't comment yet, as I have only recently installed it. Sorry Windows, it's also Linux only.
If you're at all privacy conscious, here's a quick and easy way to stop Canonical's spyware that they added to recent versions of Ubuntu. It caused a big stink in the Linux community and even got St. Ignutius (Richard Stallman) himself speaking out about it.
Here's the quick fix: https://fixubuntu.com/
This is one of the many beauties of free and open source software; if you don't like something, you can change it or find someone who can change it for you. No chance of that with Microsoft, Google*, or Apple Inc. If they want to spy on you (and they do) there's no way you can stop them except for switching to free and open source software.
*Google's software is only nominally open source and they try to crush
anyone who tries to fork their code, e.g. http://www.cyanogenmod.org/, which is a
alternative version of Android.
On the topic of screen recording software, Jing has been around for a while and has worked well for me. It's free from TechSmith. I like to convert most of my recordings to MP4, so I use Freemake Video Converter for that (also free). There are tons of other options, but I thought these were worth mentioning.