Thursday, June 14, 2007

ScreenCapture/Recording for the Mac

With regards to producing training for a wide audience, I have had some good experiences with using Macromedia (Adobe) Captivate for producing demonstrations of features of programs and providing tutorials that incorporate screen capture, sound, video, SCORM content, etc.

However, this software nor its main competitor, Camtasia is functional on the Mac. I did some research on potential products that ATS could use to produce this type of training.

Snapz Pro X - Snapz Pro X is a quantum leap in video capture technology, adroitly capturing full motion video of anything on your screen at a blistering pace, complete with digital audio, and an optional microphone voiceover. Think of it as a digital video camera for your screen. Snapz Pro X makes short work of making training videos, producing product demos, creating tutorials, archiving streaming video, and anything else you can think of.

iShowU - iShowU allows you to capture and record anything you can see on your screen, along with audio from a compatible source (like a microphone) as well as any audio from the Mac itself.

Screen Action Studio - Easily capture on-screen action or import video clips, images & sounds to create clear and powerful presentations. Engage viewers with customized text & video transition effects the pros use, and easily add voiceovers to personalize your results as you maintain total control over all audio mixing and editing steps. It integrates seamlessly with QuickTime and iMovie.

After reading some reviews of these three products, the conclusion from the "experts" is that iShowU is the most effective.

I am going to try some of these demos out.

Friday, June 8, 2007

TeacherTube - A New Kind of YouTube

I discovered a relatively new YouTube clone called, oddly enough, TeacherTube. It works just like YouTube, but all content is produced by teachers and students. Take some time to explore at:

Here is one example that I think you will like:

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Create REAL Slideshows in PowerPoint

Question: Can I create an image slide show in PowerPoint without having to import the pictures one at a time?

There is a little-known option in the Windows version of PowerPoint to easily insert a set of pictures and create a slide show. (As of yet, the Mac version doesn't have this — maybe in the next version due later this year!)

To start this process, create a new slide presentation and go to the Insert menu. Scroll down to Picture, then select New Photo Album. (Yes, I agree, the name doesn't make sense!)

The next step is to find the pictures you want to insert. Click on the button labeled File/Disk. You will see previews of the pictures in the window. To select all of the pictures in the folder, click the first picture, hold down the Shift key, and scroll down and click on the last picture. Then click Insert. (To select just some of the pictures, hold down the Ctrl key and click the ones you want.)

You will return to the Album window. From here you can use the small arrows under the list of images to move slides up and down in the order of the show. Then you can go to the lower left corner and select the Picture Layout. For a normal slide show, select Fit to slide. Then click Create.

An entirely new PowerPoint slide show will be created, with one picture on each slide. You now have only a couple of steps left to be ready to go!

First, if you have any pictures that are vertical, or in portrait mode, there will be big white areas on either side. To make your slides look better, change the background color on the slides to black. The quickest way to do this is to go to the Format menu, and select Slide Design. From there, select Color Schemes and choose the black slide with white text.

Next, there is a title slide automatically created along with the pictures. Edit the title to match your show, or just delete the slide.

Last, go to the Slide Show menu and select Slide Transition. You can select any transition you wish, but it's hard to beat the traditional Fade Smoothly. Below the transitions you can select the speed, and I think it works best on the Slow speed setting.

Below the speed setting you have the option to set your show to run automatically by choosing the Automatically after checkbox and selecting how long you want each slide to appear.

When you're done, select Apply to All Slides and the show is ready to go! Click Slide Show to see how it turned out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What are SniteCasts? - Ideas for Podcasting

What are the SniteCasts?

Whether you're on the bus, at the gym, or in the park it feels like everyone is plugged into one of those tiny MP3 players with white ear buds. Usually they're grooving to their favorite music, but listeners at the Snite Museum of Art just might be learning about Abstract Impressionism.
Students in Chris Clark's "Applied Multimedia Technology" class, offered through the Computer Applications Program (CAPP), have produced a series of twenty "SniteCasts," three- to five-minute audio programs about paintings and sculpture in the museum. Sudents produce five projects in Clark's course, including a podcast, an audio program designed to be published online on a free subscription basis.

To begin this project, students received the title of an artwork and a printed description. The goal was to learn about audio recording and editing, so students were not expected to do extensive research. They did make a personal commentary, though, and questions were provided.

Prof. Clark required his students to make high quality recordings. Thanks to a production grant from the Center for Creative Computing, he was able to loan out portable digital audio recording equipment. Students were allowed to recruit someone else to do the actual reading out loud, and some chose friends with radio experience. The podcast project also demanded a background music track that could be shared legally. To meet this requirement, most of the students downloaded music from, a popular source of "podsafe" music. Students recorded voice segments, transferred digital recordings to a computer, and then used software to incorporate the soundtrack.

The SniteCasts are available at this web site and through iTunes. and other services. Listen on a computer or get the series and transfer it to a media player, such as an iPod. Compatible players display a small image of the art work.

Fall, 2007 - ITS Course Requests

Instructional Technology Support @ PhilaU is now accepting requests for Summer and Fall, 2007 Blackboard, eRes and iTunes U Course Sites.

If you plan to use any of these three content management systems during the summer or fall semester, please complete the ITS Course Request Form located at:

ITS Course Request

  • Reusing Material from a Previous Semester - Faculty who wish to reuse material from a previous semester are asked to indicate the Course Name, Semester, and, if known, the Course ID in the Course Import section.
  • Using One Course Page for Multiple Sections—If you are teaching more than one section of a course, but would only like one site, please indicate this in the Special Instructions/Requests section.
  • iTunes U Course—Creation of an iTunes University course is also located on this form. If you are interested in possibly trying podcasts for the spring semester, please indicate this on the form and I will also create a course on iTunes University for you.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please review the Blackboard Policies and Procedures ( or contact me via phone (215-951-6332), e-mail ( or stop by my office in the Gutman Library

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

GrammarGirl - A resource for writing students

With the help of our Director of our Writing Across the Curriculm program and Assistant Director of our Midwifery program, I found a new resource that I would like to share with our community and other higher education and K-12 institutions.

Grammar Girl is a podcast about, guess what, Grammar!!!

In under five minutes, you'll get a fun and friendly dose of writing advice. Grammar Girl covers everything from punctuation and grammar to style and voice.

To subscribe to Grammar Girl in iTunes, click the following link:

Subscribe to Grammar Girl

iTunes will open and you will receive the current episode and all future Grammar Girl episodes. To listen to previous episodes, click on Podcasts and download the episodes you would like to listen to.