Silent Running

So I got a work vacation (an unwanted one) from the college, but I’ll be working again soon. In the meantime here’s what I’ve been working on:

21st Century Literacies course: I laid out the weekly breakdown and scheduled a meeting with the co-ordinator of the department that wants me to deliver it. I’m mulling over how the course will functionally work – I suspect I’ll show people some media related skills (Photoshop, Premiere) and then let them take it to the next step and apply it to their projects. Need to think of the small stuff – short hashtag for the course would be slightly important.

Brushing up on Distance Ed: I think my next direction will be in the Distance Education delivery – so I’ve been reading some theory (courtesy of Tony Bates and Terry Anderson’s writing). Also been applying at a couple of Toronto based colleges and universities. I don’t have a degree (yet), so I’m banking on almost a decade of experience with LMS’s helping out.

A Non-Reflective Post For Once…

Interesting couple of days, had a Distance Ed class pop up from nowhere and all of a sudden I’m back in instructor mode. So I took the powerpoints that I present in the face to face version of this course, and do a couple takes of the voice over, in an incredibly noisy office and voila, a weekend later I have five little videos uploaded to the internet that talk about the internet.

The process was quite convoluted. I’m sure I could’ve tried to figure a more streamlined approach. This post is going to be purely nostalgic after I’ve done this a couple times, so if you are interested in how NOT to do this, this post is for you.

On Friday, I updated the powerpoint, having to use Power Point 2007, instead of the old 2003 that was available in my office. So having to figure out where all the things that I used to do automatically was a bit of a learning curve, but nothing too bad. Then do some sort of narration. First I tried using a Firefox plugin called CaptureFox but that didn’t do the job I needed. I wanted something else that was a little more slick. So searching for free/shareware I came across Cam Studio 2.5. Now I realize, I could’ve just walked over to the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research and used Camtasia, but there’s not a great narration facility there. The Camtasia computer is in fact in a hallway, that’s secluded enough, but I know people over there and it probably would’ve been distracting for me to perform (teaching is a performance isn’t it?). Anyways, Cam Studio did the job. I set it to convert to SWF, and discovered that, to my knowledge which is about 2 hours of use, there’s no way to convert the screen size. And that converting to SWF would take me about 12 hours. I didn’t want to come back to work just to upload my video, so I bailed and came home to use some Adobe product. Surely CS3 will be able to handle this sort of easy task?

Maybe I’m a moron, but it turns out that Premiere Pro CS3 doesn’t convert AVIs to Flash (I did discover that After Effects can, but won’t resize the dimensions of the screen without fuss). Or do anything easily. So again, back to the world of shareware, I found Xilisoft FLV Converter. Took the AVI I had (1.5 gig), resized, converted to FLV and chopped it to the length I needed (10 min segments).

Total time? Started sometime after 2 PM Friday, posted sometime on Sunday (in between Thanksgiving turkey and apple strudel).

Oh yeah, there’s one student enrolled in the distance ed class. Hope they appreciate the effort. (You can too here under “members own videos”).

So the moral of this story is – sometimes technology isn’t the friend of the techie.