Screencasting: Creating Online Tutorials

MLA Course
Listing Archived: Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Primary contact information...
University of Maryland Baltimore
Health Sciences and Human Services Library
601 W. Lombard Street
Baltimore MD , 21201
United States
Andrew Youngkin is the primary contact.
Phone: 410-706-2855
Fax: 410-706-0099
Resource URL: http://nnlm.gov/sea
Region: Southern

Description: Building on concepts of understanding learning styles and how to organize and ‘chunk’ instructional content for the online environment, this course’s main goal is to teach librarians best practices for creating effective screencasts (video-based online instruction modules) using Adobe Captivate and other similar tools. Student learning outcomes include: the ability to determine what content does and does not work well in screencast form; the ability to divide content into logical chunks that are most appropriate for online learners; an understanding of best practices for creating content for their topic (e.g. storyboarding, script writing, and voiceover/narration); an understanding of what hardware and software tools work best for which content (and best sources for acquiring needed tools); and the ability to assess the effectiveness of screencasted content. **This course was evaluated at MLA '10 and scored an overall course grade of 3.62 on a 4.0 scale. The mean score for all evaluated courses taught at MLA ’10 was 3.744 on a 4.0 scale

Experience Level: Beginning Plus
CE Contact Hours: 4 & 6
Professional Competencies: Health Sciences Information Services, Information Systems and Technology, Curriculum Design and Instruction
Subject: Teaching/Instruction
Course Type: Face to Face, e-Learning, Hands-on, RML Offerings, Chapter Offerings

Educational Objective: Student learning outcomes include: the ability to determine what content does and does not work well in screencast form; the ability to divide content into logical chunks that are most appropriate for online learners; an understanding of best practices for creating content for their topic (e.g. storyboarding, script writing, and voiceover/narration); an understanding of what hardware and software tools work best for which content (and best sources for acquiring needed tools); and the ability to assess the effectiveness of screencasted content.

Agenda:

1.	Introduction and ground rules

2.	What is screencasting, and why do it? 
a.	A screencast is a digital movie in which the setting is partly or wholly a computer screen, and in which audio narration describes the on-screen action.  (Jon Udell)
b.	Is this new?  Not really – dates back to early 90s, and PowerPoint has had narration for some time now (but the audio quality sucks)
a.	Helps us be where more and more of our users are:  outside the library, using the Web
i.	Also helps teach concepts to library staff (if you have >1)
ii.	Gets at the idea that the single most important service point is wherever the user is when they need information 
b.	Learning styles:
i.	Many users learn better by seeing and then doing – learn and practice, learn and practice
ii.	My students today will be your students and clinicians tomorrow, and they’re Millennials who multitask, learn through gaming, and like multimodal a/synchronous communication (from MySpace to IM)
c.	Gives them content they can consume, time-shifted and place-shifted
i.	On their own time
ii.	Wherever they are (60% of higher ed online by 2015)
iii.	More than once if needed
iv.	Just in time, rather than just in case
v.	It’s learning on demand, like TiVo!  
d.	Relatively small startup costs and few barriers to using, but great returns in satisfied users and fewer redundant questions for us – this is more like the reference desk than the classroom
e.	Entertain someone while obscuring the fact that you’re actually teaching them 

3.	What it takes to do it
a.	Knowledge of your audience, what you want them to learn, and what platforms they use (Web browsers and plugins/helpers, screen size if standard across your institution, whether their computers play audio easily or not)
b.	Content, chunked into 2-3 minute segments based on specific tasks
i.	Finding something on your website
ii.	Basic searching of that something
iii.	More advanced searching of that something
iv.	Getting information from the something to somewhere else
c.	Scripts for that content, and storyboards that specify how your cast will flow 
d.	Permission to use any content that you don’t own/didn’t create 
e.	The right software for the kind of thing you’re teaching	
i.	With the right features, e.g.
1.	recording method such as fullmotion
2.	Editing and enhancement tools (callouts and importing)
3.	Interactivity – branching logic based on user entry
4.	Quizzing and survey features (e.g. SCORM for Bb/WebCT/etc., how to grade and send results)
5.	delivery and management options (online, offline, what plugins needed, what output formats)
ii.	That imports and exports the right file types
iii.	That handles many different input devices like mics
iv.	Handles Section 508 for disability
v.	Maybe consider doing it in multiple formats:  SWF and PowerPoint – use mockups in the latter not only to make the former, but they may come in handy as well
1.	Though beware that PowerPoint doesn’t export animations, etc. unless maybe with Producer
f.	The right peripherals to add value with sound/video
i.	Your digital camera, or a netcam
ii.	A simple headset mic
g.	A place to put your produced materials, e.g.
i.	 a Web server, and/or integrated with your org’s setup, courseware, whatever
ii.	CDs if that works for some users without good bandwidth
iii.	YouTube 
h.	A way to get feedback on how users did and/or liked your casts

4.	How to do it
a.	Plan the objectives you want users to achieve, and what content is needed for those objectives
b.	Script and storyboard your content so you know what you’re doing
c.	If you’ll be doing more than one screencast, design a common style that you’ll use for all casts (see NLM’s – professional and consistent)
i.	Introduction of topic, screencast navigation instructions, body, closing, additional resources
ii.	Standard color, font, voice, intuitive playback control elements, etc.
iii.	Standard screen dimensions based on playback device (shoot for 800x600 as a lowest common denominator – better to not have to scroll a browser window)
d.	Record your screen actions, and any audio and callouts that go with them
i.	Benefit of simultaneous audio capture:  smaller filesize
ii.	Benefit of doing audio later:  more chance to practice
e.	Edit your tutorial content into your finished product, adding callouts and interactivity as you wish
f.	Publish the tutorial out to whatever format you need, and place the resulting file(s) onto a server
i.	Or YouTube, Google Video, iTunes – where users are
g.	Publicize:  link from your Website, face-to-face, viral marketing
h.	If you do a-b correctly, they’ll take more time than c-e

5.	Let’s see and evaluate some examples
a.	Greg Notess’ YouTube one
b.	Google Video one
c.	WMU ones
d.	NLM ones
e.	Others from the audience?

6.	Let’s try some examples
a.	Exercise:  who can come up with the best idea for a series of screencasts?
i.	Who’s the audience?
ii.	What’s our theme, and how many task concepts are in that?
iii.	Work individually or in groups and write storyboards/scripts, and when you’re done, come up and we’ll start doing your screencasts (we’ll just do a few so you get the idea)
iv.	We’ll publish them to screencasts.com and show everyone when we’ve done some

7.	Proctored work on your own time with Captivate

8.	Discussion of progress and challenges encountered and anticipated

9.	Conclusions and evaluations

Need for This Course: Today's students increasingly seek just-in-time learning opportunities, not tied to a face-to-face situation. More and more health sciences students and practitioners will have experience with asynchronous online learning, and will expect this kind of content from health sciences libraries. Tools exist that lower the barriers to entry to teaching asynchronously online, and everyone who does library instruction should become familiar with modalities such as this course will present.

The instructional methods used include Lecture, Demonstration, Discussion, Hands-on Exercises, and Problem-based.

Participant Materials: The class materials (e.g. outline, copyright-cleared articles, URLs, download sites, etc.) are available via a Moodle course (http://nnlm.gov/moodle).

Facility Requirements: An Internet-connected computer lab with one computer for each participant would be ideal (i.e. with instructor station projector and screen). Each student workstation should have installed either a fully-licensed copy of the latest version of Adobe Captivate or if that is not possible, the 30-day free trial. Microphones and speakers or headsets with microphones for students to use. Students may bring their own laptops as long as they have a copy of Adobe Captivate installed on it, and wireless Internet capability.

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