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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Robinson

Doing Something With Lectures

Recording Lectures for Asynchronous Delivery

Why record it?

  • Asynchronous Delivery

  • Closed Captioning/Transcripts for Accessibility

  • Streaming Video

  • Capability to download, in case of poor internet access

My experience is based on using Windows and Microsoft Software. There will certainly be equivalents for MacOS and Linux users.

Use the presentation recording capabilities of the latest PowerPoint. It lets you narrate each slide individually. I have to use my own home subscription. The older version of PowerPoint deployed as standard at Carleton does not have this capability at present. It's very straightforward, especially if you have a laptop with a microphone. You might want to get a better microphone, perhaps as part of a headset. I got a very inexpensive headset just before the lockdown. The price went up by $10 within ten days of the lockdown!

When you record, don’t spend too much time reviewing things. Treat it as you would a regular lecture, unless you get completely lost, lose the thread (it happens!), or start coughing. Otherwise, you will spend far too long on this process. The point is to produce something adequate in a reasonable time, not a perfect Sir Patrick Stewart/Dame Judy Dench level of presentation.

Once you have the narrated PowerPoint, save it as a normal PPTX file, and then also as MPEG-4 video. This is a very slow process, on my fairly modest laptop. Keep the lecture recordings down to 15 minutes or so, otherwise this process is on the "Go away for a cup of tea" timescale!

Now send the MPEG-4 video off to your video server (which may be YouTube, or some other service). We have a Kaltura video server. This processes the file, produces closed-captions and a transcript file. It then sends you a link to the file.

Don’t post your MPEG-4 video directly onto your Learning Management System. They are very large files and very demanding on resources when running. Put the narrated PowerPoint file on the LMS, and post the link to the streaming video.

The Super Fancy Stuff

Suppose you want to demonstrate something using other software, for example, in a web browser, or even a bit of live action, from your phone’s video camera. How do you interweave your video clips

Microsoft Video editor (part of the Photo app) allows you to trim, split and edit the video And you can add titles, merge several clips to create the edited version, also an MPEG4 video.

If you want to show something from an app running on your computer, or on a web browser, then you need to think like a gamer. Microsoft XBox gaming system was designed to allow gamers to record their games and narrate them. The software is free, probably already on your laptop, and works on other apps, not just games.

It works very well on capturing action in a browser. For example, I like to demonstrate projectile motion using the PHET simulation

So I record myself playing the simulation, which is captured as an MPEG-4 movie (look in the "Captures" folder), and this can then be edited. I find there is usually an annoying clunk right at the start, so allow a few seconds of silence before you start your narration, then you can trim it out later. The finished product then looks like this:

So there you have a rough workflow for getting some lecture snippets online. Don;t try to be perfect. Try for something workable.

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