DIY online lecture

Education is changing rapidly. Many universities start to provide their courses on-line, free for everyone to take. To keep up with these developments, I made a short do-it-yourself (DIY) video lecture — appropriately discussing online education — which combines 4 techniques: 1) an ordinary lecture with slides, as always; 2) my talking head from the webcam; 3) written notes on the slides, “Khan Academy-style”; 4) a screencast, capturing live actions on the screen.

In case you like to do this too: The video was made using recordMyDesktop, CamDesk, Xournal, and edited with OpenShot, all running on Ubuntu. I used a webcam to record myself, and a pen tablet (Wacom Bamboo) to annotate the slides. As can be seen, the result is not great: The number of frames per second is low (default is 15 frames per second in recordMyDesktop), the audio quality is low (I need a better microphone), and audio and video are slightly off (not sure why this happened). On Windows a combination of CamStudio, Powerpoint, and Movie Maker might do better.

Many thanks to the following people that advised me or otherwise supported me in making the test online lecture: Wanno Drijfhout & Marije de Heus (Course Managing Big Data), Theo Huibers & Eelco Eerenberg (Thaesis), Tonnie Tibben (Twente iTunes U), Alfred de Vries (SmartXP lab), Peter de Boer & Roy Juninck (FB lecture halls and digital whiteboards). Additional advise and comments are very much appreciated.

4 Responses to “DIY online lecture”

  1. Djoerd Hiemstra Says:
    As it turns out. OpenShot did not handle the .ogv files that recordMyDesktop produced, and left some parts of the video as still images in the final result. As a quick fix, I converted everything to .avi using mencoder as follows, and uploaded a new version:
    mencoder -idx out.ogv -o out.avi -oac mp3lame -ovc lavc -fps 15
  2. Robin Aly Says:
    Really enjoyed the lecture… and learned a lot. I think my main recommendation would be to emphasize that online lectures doesn’t require less effort. Instead, you can focus your effort on what you really want to learn. Just yesterday I recapitulated a specific aspect in compiler construction within 15min on MIT’s website… which would have taken hours to achieve by reading or following a 90min lecture.
  3. Djoerd Hiemstra Says:
    Thanks, I agree, you can fast forward to exactly the part that you want to learn, pause and repeat, skip ahead, learn the thing in your own pace. You cannot rewind the professor in the lecture hall (well, not too often).
    It required a lot more effort from me, though, and will need even more effort to get it right. This try-out is too slow… but I am learning.
  4. Djoerd Hiemstra Says:
    Here are the results done by our students for the course Managing Big Data: 1) Wanno Drijfhout, presenting Traitor; and 2) Marije de Heus, presenting Readability of the web