My big fat lousy screencast — Beyond the Blog


Since I had promised a truly absurd amount of content to a wide array of worthy organizations, I had no choice but to add another commitment — preferably one for which I needed to learn a new medium and a new set of tools.

Always eager to dig myself deeper into the crap-pit, I volunteered to do a series of screencasts for BCcampus. My first submission was entitled “Beyond the Blog” — a title that does not quite work for what I produced. I ended up reviewing a few of the cooler educational weblogs we are hosting at UBC, briefly demonstrating supplementary technologies such as RSS and social bookmarks, and pointing toward all too few peers out in the ed tech weblog community. The minutes and the megabytes just flew by. Of course, once I was done I thought of all sorts of things I should have added — like referring people to Stephen Downes’s definitive treatise on Educational Blogging, but such is the nature of these things…

If you are interested in viewing the carnage: Beyond the Blog (requires QuickTime, 43 MB).

If you want to get a sense of it, while avoiding my blather and the bandwidth strain, the materials are on a wiki.

I’m definitely intrigued by the form, and hope my future attempts will be better (suggestions for improvement are more than welcome) — I don’t think Jon Udell is looking over his shoulder just yet.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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14 Responses to My big fat lousy screencast — Beyond the Blog

  1. Alan says:

    As the Brits exclaim, “BRILLIANT!”

    I think you have our ELI presentation locked up, so we can devote time to important issues such as finding the best fish tacos.

    Jumping the gun, was the cast captured with Camtasia or something else?

  2. Derrall says:

    I keep thinking through these tools wondering if I’m getting locked into some sort of standardized usage policy. Your screen cast shook the comfort zone enough to rethink a few behaviors I’ve settled into. The spontaneity beat out any need to be complete.

  3. Andy Rush says:

    You “rookie” screencasters are making us “veterans” look like talentless hacks (hehe). A really fantastic job Brian. My only wish is that you include the address bar of the web browser in your capture. Looking forward to your future ‘casts!

  4. Meredith says:

    Terrific job! I’m a librarian in Vermont and am going to be giving a talk this afternoon on social software to the folks who administer our distance learning classes, so I’m definitely going to add this to the useful resources Web page I’d created. It’s a perfect intro to the possibilities of weblogs in education for people who maybe haven’t thought about it yet (which includes most of my colleagues). Thanks for creating it and I look forward to seeing more of them!

  5. This is great Brian!!! I’ve been doing some experiments in ‘casting in the online M.Ed. courses I’m taking at OISE/UT. One topic that comes up frequently is “access” for dialup audiences.

    File sizes and streaming rates have been an issue. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on “quality” vs “file size” in pod-, screen- or webcasts….

    I look forward to learning more about radioWIKI and subsequent ‘casts — well done!

  6. Wonderful! Amazing how watching a screen move and change makes the learning feel more hands-on rather than like disembodied theory, which comes from listening or reading – or maybe that’s just my learning style.

    In any case, your screencast was fascinating, helpful, and inspiring.

    One question – what tool did you use? Or will I find that out when I go to the companion wiki ;-> Another brilliant idea.

  7. Brian says:

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. As Alan feared, I’ll likely do a short post on my so-called method, once I get one. For this atrocity I pre-recorded the audio in Audacity, and then captured the video using Snapz Pro (gotta love that 30 day free trial — now it’s purchased). One downside, as others have mentioned, is the sheer file size fo the result. I kept the resolution as low as I could, and only captured one screen per second, but 43 MB is obviously too big. In the absence of a QuickTime to Flash convertor, I may need to find another tool for Mac users.

    Andy — I didn’t show my url bar because I had a ton of tabs open, and didn’t want to distract people. But you are absolutely correct, and I will definitely include it in future productions.

  8. Alan says:

    You’ll likely get smaller file size with a conversion to, or a tool that saves as, Flash.

    Although he originally described using the free (but ugh PC only) Windows Media Encoder to record screencasts, an email from Jon Udell a few months back revealed that he uses Camtasia. I’m thinking of shaking the budget tree to get a copy.

  9. To get around the file size issue, I’ve used WMEncoder to “encode” video and audio file to WMV, to allow access over dialups. While not ideal, it is “free” (if you’ve ponied up for an operating system from Redmond) and Windows has a Media Player for Mac that makes the result accessible to Mac users in the audience.

    Camtasia allows for export > Flash, does it not? Does Flash support multiple streaming rates?

  10. Doug says:

    Camtasia does indeed support export to Flash. Here’s a link to some screencasting resources from their site.

    I thought Troy Stein’s how-to” for Camtasia > Flash was particularly good.

  11. Beth says:

    I just my first screencast this week to, but yours is so wonderful!

    If you follow the link by my name, it will take you to the screencast notes and a link to the screencast.

    I used a software program from Macromedia called Captiva. I haven’t yet tried Camtasia. They both cost the same, although I used the free trial.

    I did a bunch of research on screencasts and you’ll find the link to my delicious archive in that post.

  12. Tannis says:

    For mac users, ScreenRecord does the job quite nicely–it’s macXware, and only costs about 15$. Not sure if it exports to Flash though.

  13. Rob Wall says:

    Your screencast finally made it out of my exhaustive “need to read/view/listen to” list today (I’m desperately trying to avoid marking some assignments). Great stuff, and I’m really looking forward to the screencast on RSS. I’m giving a workshop on RSS in about 4 weeks and it would be great to link to your screencast as a reference.

    I am humbled that you included my meagre little blog in the screencast, and on behalf of the whole posse I thank you for the mention. If you’re on Skype, we’ll have to get you to join us sometime – anyone from the prairies is always welcome! :^D

  14. I laughed. I cried. A great first effort. For novices I shared this with, they thought it moved too quickly (information overload).

    Would love to see more like this covering the topics in more detail. But a great overview.

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