Tools I Use to Make My Teaching Videos

I began developing an online course in EBM and use videos for instruction. I thought it would be useful to tell others what I use. Videos are a useful way to teach others and are more learner-centered in that learners can use them when they want and can skip around in them for the information they need.

First off your videos need to be relatively short: 3-5 minutes is optimal. Longer than 10 minutes and learners will abandon the video. You have to be thoughtful on how to break up a longer topic into shorter chunks. They need to be engaging either through your teaching style or material presentation. They need to be consistent– use the same backgrounds, intro and exits.

Here’s what you need to make teaching videos: (Note: I am a PC guy. Mac has good built-in software that I can’t really comment on as I dont use Macs)
1) Video Hosting Service: YouTube and Vimeo are 2 of the more popular hosting sites. Some of the tools below also have their own site to post videos on. I personlly like YouTube. Here is my YouTube channel.

2) Video Editing Software: I actually record myself giving intros and endings for each of my teaching videos. That way I have a “physical” presence. Because of this I need a video editor to splice these together with the main body of my video. There’s lots of video editing software out there. I use Corel Vidoe Studio Pro because it also contains a screen capture tool and seemed easy to use and wasnt too expensive ($60).

3) Screen Capture Software: I usually display a PowerPoint slide or a paper or a website when I teach. I use sceen capture software to record my computer screen and my voice. I like Screencast-o-matic because its easy and cheap (free). I bought the Pro version ($15/yr) so I have more tools available but the free version is good.

4) Video camera or webcam if you want to video something other than your computer screen.

5) Bamboo tablet: I use this to write on my screen when I explain/demonstrate how to make calculations. (http://www.wacom.com/en/products/pen-tablets/bamboo). This YouTube video shows me using the tablet and the digital drawing program I describe below.

6) Digital Drawing Program: this is the background I write (or draw) on with the Bamboo tablet. I like Autodesk Sketchbood Express because it was more intuitive to use and free. Khan Academy uses SmoothDraw but I didn’t find it as easy to use.

7) Microphone. Often they are built in to your computer or webcam. I bought a high def one off ebay for <$10 because I wanted improved sound.

8) Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) is software for recording and editing sound. If you want to just do voice recordings this is a good program.

So that’s it. For a minimal outlay of money you can develop pretty good quality videos. There is a learning curve on editing. You will also have to decide your style. Look around at other videos and do what works for you. This guy has incredible videos but they take a little more time and skill to make.

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