Monday, 2 September 2013

Tutorials and MOOCs: Online Learning

Whilst things have been fairly quiet on the blog front (summer break etc.etc.) the devil hasn't had much chance to make work... 


It was perhaps a little odd starting by making an advert for a non-existent site but, needing a bit of fun and a mission statement, I used Bitstrips  and Photostory to make the trailer above. It's worth watching for the appalling music alone...



I've been thinking off and on for some time about setting up a definitive collection of online tutorials on making media. I first started six years ago with a project for (the now defunct) Screen East, called Movie Kit. Back then I was using the good, free, screen capture software CamStudio. That works fine for swift, relatively simple projects, but since I was aiming for something a little more sophisticated, I bit the bullet and paid for the excellent Camtasia Studio from TechSmith. I'm not sure where the (ahem) rather clever name Tutoreels came from, but when I searched and found no-one else was using it I coughed up and bought the domain tutoreels.org.

One of my aims is to make the tutorials short (2 minutes or less) and entertaining. While trawling YouTube for tutorials, I came upon lots and lots of very tedious stuff. My most recent tutorial is about setting up a Google Site. One of the great things about Sites is the ease and speed of setting up. Yet I found a tutorial explaining how to do it lasting 8 minutes - hesitant, unscripted and explaining absolutely everything. Mine lasts 1 min 16 seconds including the title sequence and includes graphics, scripted and brief narrative, music and silly sound effects. If it's too quick you can always watch it twice or use the pause button to work through the video on one tab while setting up a site on another.

I also came across the new online course maker Versal and started building a course. Versal has a beautiful, intuitive, drag and drop interface and I have little doubt I'll be using it a lot. I'll keep you posted.

All this thinking about online learning led inexorably towards looking at Massive Online Open Courses - MOOCs a current buzzword in online learning. Studying the Coursera MOOC lists I came upon one called 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' run by Penn State University. It runs for eight weeks and promises to support a creative project. I'm hoping it will help me develop the Tutoreels concept creatively. I'll be using this blog as a MOOC thinking space for the next couple of months.

Unless, of course, I'm one of the (up to) 90% who drop out...