We in the Academic Technology Resource Center (ATRC) maintain a YouTube channel as one avenue for distributing our training videos. The videos are almost all click-here/click-there screen videos, or “screencasts,” made with TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio (a product, incidentally, that we are now licensed for across our college District for District owned computers). A screencast, if you don’t already know, usually illustrates the computer screen with the cursor moving, windows opening and closing, and procedures being performed while the presenter narrates the procedure. Granted not the most compelling video experience, but the best way to illustrate otherwise complicated computer procedures. Show me and tell me combined in the same operation. Since these “screencasts” are not what you would call high drama, our viewership is small, but respectable, I must say, considering the content. At any rate, in this post, since it is the time of year to do retrospectives, I present our YouTube channel video greatest hits.
Number 1, bar far, is our video on “Using Quick Parts in Outlook (and Word) 2010” which had nearly 7,000 views this year. (You see what I mean about the dramatic nature of the titles and the respectability of viewership. By our standards 7,000 is good). Quick Parts are those time saving blocks of text you can insert anywhere in an Outlook email or Word document with a simple click. You know, the terms “boilerplate” or “canned response” come to mind, or more charitably, a “carefully planned labor saving device.” For professors who find themselves continually responding to the same questions in the same ways, or making the same observations repeatedly on the same student errors, these truly are labor saving, and can easily be personalized after they are inserted. At any rate, if you are interested, here is a link to the video:
In view of the play time (8:23) and the dryness of the subject, I would say there is a real thirst for practical, labor saving Office procedures.
Our number 2, by a fairly distant margin (about 2,300 views) is “How to Download and Install Windows Live Movie Maker 2011.” It is the first part in our 16-part series on Windows Live Movie Maker.
Movie Maker 2011 is VERY different from the old Movie Maker, the one known and loved/hated by Windows XP users. It is the fastest, easiest way for you to create a sophisticated movie, with transitions, visual effects, pan and zoom, titles, captions, credits, music and the works. If you are trying to get up to speed, see our series.
A very close number three to this one (2,200 views) is a video that described how to use pan and zoom effects in movie maker.
The control you are able to exercise with the new Movie Maker is not as fine as it was with the old, but the ease and power of use are much enhanced.
Number 4 in our hit parade has to do with how to install Flip video software, which is no longer very interesting seeing that Cisco purchased and then discontinued the product. This, in my view, should be regarded as one of the tech scandals of the year. Of course Cisco can do what they want with their billions, but to buy up an excellent company, one that had established top drawer relations with millions of consumers, and then trash them, shows an arrogance reserved only for tech aristocrats. Shame.
At any rate, here is the video, even though it doesn’t have much of a future.
The Flipshare software was part of a series on using the Flip video camera for academic purposes. We have now migrated to using the excellent Kodak line of low-cost camcorders. (Yes, I know, there’s all kinds of talk about Kodak going bankrupt). (Sheesh).
Rounding out our top five is a video that describes how to use Microsoft OneNote to create study flash cards.
OK, but not the most exciting. I made a number of videos I thought more interesting and useful than these, like how to create custom study books from Wikipedia, how to create custom, editable handouts from PowerPoint 2010, or how to use Google Body, among many others, and these have found an audience, just not as large an audience as the top 5. Our experience with a YouTube channel has been very positive, and YouTube itself is in the midst of big changes as Google strives to make it more useful and powerful by connecting potential audiences to existing contents. I read this week that in 2011 over one-trillion videos were viewed via YouTube. That’s trillion with a T. That seems unbelievably impressive for a technology that has emerged so recently, until you stop to ponder just what videos are being watched. A review of the top ten list is very depressing for those of us who care about a) education and b) culture in general, but we’re not going to give up. Here’s to video in 2012.