I’m doing a FREE webinar on on Wednesday, March 7, at 10:00 am Pacific/12:00 pm Central. To register for the program, follow this link and click on “Register”
Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s free! In this interactive webinar, you’ll learn where you can find graphics, audio, and video for your teaching that you can reuse while respecting creators’ copyright. We’ll go over the basics of Creative Commons licenses and what it means when something is “open.” You’ll learn how to use Google Images and other sources to find open and licensed images, and you’ll come away with the basics of how these images may be reused and adapted, legally and guilt-free!
The program will be recorded for later viewing if you are unable to attend the live session. This program is brought to you by the ULS Professional Development Committee.
Presentations coming up in 2018:
- 20 Apps in 60 Minutes (For Educators)
- Online webinar on January 31st, hosted by ACRL University Libraries Section. Get slides and view the recording.
- Free Graphics, Audio, and Video for Education
- Online webinar on March 7th at 12 pm Central, hosted by ACRL University Libraries Section. Register now!
- Digital Badges Exposed
- TCC Online Conference, April 17-19. Date and time TBA.
- Open Educational Resources (OER): Where Libraries Are and Where We Are Going
- Panelist, panel presentation hosted by ACRL Distance Learning Section.
ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans: Monday, June 25, 2018, 10:30am-11:30am
- Panelist, panel presentation hosted by ACRL Distance Learning Section.
This webinar featured 20 amazing applications for educators. We covered apps that increase student engagement, apps for you (and your students!) to create your own instructional media, and productivity apps to keep you focused and organized. All of the featured apps are free and cross-platform. Presentation sponsored by ALA University Libraries Section.
View the Recording
Download the PowerPoint deck. Licensed under CC-BY-4.0. (Scroll down for SlideShare).
- Microsoft Sway
- Adobe Spark
- Poll Everywhere
There’s a lot to love about H5P. (Not the name. I can’t love the name H5P.*)
But the interactive tutorials you can make with H5P are amaaaazing. And – they’re OPEN SOURCE. Totally free, shareable, and editable by anyone!
Free is good. Open is better. And the best part – you don’t have to download any software. You can use H5P.org to start creating content right now.
What can you create with H5P?
So much. Interactive videos. Memory games. Quizzes, drag-and-drops, timelines! See all the examples. These are all great for in-person or asynchronous activities. You can create them on H5P (just create a free account) and then link to them or embed them as iframes. There are also H5P plugins for WordPress, Drupal, and Moodle (in Moodle you can use them as graded assignments!)
My favorite format is Course Presentation. This format is most like Storyline or Captivate, if you’re familiar with those. If you’re not, it’s like PowerPoint, but you can add interactivity and the learner navigates by themselves. Here’s an example:
Get Started With H5P
First, head over to H5P and create a free account. You may also want to check out this excellent blog post by eLearning Coach Connie Malamed that gives more background about H5P.
It’s pretty easy to just dive into H5P, especially if you play around with the different formats before you dive into Course Presentations.
Here’s a great 10-minute YouTube video that will help you get started with H5P. And lots more on YouTube. (Unfortunately Lynda.com doesn’t have anything on H5P.)
Here’s a case study of a professor that used H5P modules to increase student engagement in a sports mechanics class.
H5P Official Tutorials
Here’s H5P’s official list of tutorials – they have a tutorial for every single content type!
Kristin Anthony did a really nice interview with Svein-Tore, the founder of H5P.
Using the Content You Created
Learn how to host H5P on your own (you have to have your own server and do some really minor html editing).
ANYONE can edit H5P, which is really the selling point of H5P. Many instructional designers work alone at their orgs and are pressed for time – but with H5P, you can hand off a project, and your client can make updates on their own! How fantastic is that?
*H5P stands for HTML5 Package. Exciting, I know.
Sign up for my free webinar January 31st at 10 am (Pacific), hosted by ACRL’s University Libraries Section!
This webinar will feature 20 amazing applications for educators. We will cover apps that increase student engagement, apps for you (and your students!) to create your own instructional media, and productivity apps to keep you focused and organized. All of the featured apps are free and cross-platform. So keep your mobile device handy – participation will be encouraged.
This session will be recorded.
One of the best ways to make your training videos much more effective is to add voice overs. Lots of novice video creators are reluctant to record their own voice, which usually results in videos that have WAY too much text on-screen. Or, maybe they want to keep all that on-screen text because they think they’re doing a favor to people that are hard of hearing.
You’ll get used to the sound of your own voice, I promise! Plus, you can add Closed Captions and dump all that on-screen text. Closed captions are pretty easy if you’re using Camtasia or YouTube for your videos.
Besides, it’s SCIENCE! Let’s talk about two of my favorite Multimedia Principles: the Modality Principle and the Redundancy Principle. According to the Modality Principle, your learners will learn better if there are graphics and narration rather than on-screen text. And the Redundancy Principle: some on-screen text is OK, but your learners will suffer if your voice over merely reads aloud the on-screen text (ever seen a lecturer read their PowerPoint aloud? It’s horrible, yes?)
That is to say – there is a balance! Of course, some learners need on-screen text, whether because they can’t use the volume, or they speak English as a second language, or yeah, maybe they’re hard of hearing. So, always include Closed Captions (they benefit EVERYONE!). But dump most of your on-screen text.
So let’s talk about doing a good voice over.
I have learned the hard way how to do a good voice over. That is – I’ve done a lot of bad ones. Here’s a poor quality voice over from a video I did last year. I’ve done some OK ones recently. But I can do better. My goal for the next year is to become consistent in quality of my voice overs!
Let’s Get Started
To do a good voice over, start with a microphone and a copy of Audacity (free and open source!).
At a minimum, use a headset microphone. Your laptop’s microphone is more likely to pick up noise around you, as well as its own vibrations.
I use a Blue Yeti microphone. Honestly it’s more microphone than I need, mostly because I can’t afford a microphone stand and don’t have a good studio setup! The Yeti picks up everything, including my hallmates chatting through a closed door. I’ve also used a simple USB headset which worked OK.
And really, use Audacity for your sound recording, even if it adds another step to your video production. I develop a lot of videos in Camtasia and I used to record my voice overs directly from within Camtasia. You lose a lot of control over your sound quality by recording in Camtasia and my voice overs just never turned out as well as when I use Audacity.
Here’s a photo of my set-up. I picked up some cheap acoustic tiles from Amazon to help with dampening echos from my boxy office. Setting the mic on a tile helps reduce the background noise transmitted through my desk by my desktop computer.
The number one tip I can probably give you is to use headphones with your mic, or set up your headset to feed the sound of your own voice to your ears – hearing the sound of your recorded voice as you are recording will dramatically reduce the chances of recording distorted audio. It keeps me from talking too loud!
Distorted audio might be the most common voice over issue that I’ve heard. Basically, distortion means that you’re talking too loud and blowing out the recording. Here’s what a voice over with distortion sounds like:
And here’s what it looks like as a sound wave in Audacity:
See how the audio waves are touching the sides? You don’t want that.
You can’t fix this by editing the file. You can make it sound less bad, but you’ve got to record it right the first time. Here’s how it sounds when I re-recorded without distortion. I avoided distortion by using headphones so that I could monitor how loudly I talked, plus I calibrated my mic by using Audacity’s monitoring feature:
Avoid distortion? Great! Still, you’ll likely end up with some background noise because of your computer’s humming or other environmental things. My computer tends to add a buzz to my tracks. You can use Noise Reduction in Audacity, but you’ve got to be careful, because it’s easy to use incorrectly, like I did here:
Sounds like I’m talking into a tin can! To use this feature right, do two things. First, when you record your voice over, include at least two seconds of room noise, just the general noise that happens when you’re not speaking. Second, use those two seconds to set the Noise Profile when you use Audacity’s Noise Reduction feature. The Noise Profile teaches Audacity what noise you DON’T want so that it knows what to eliminate. Here’s a short and sweet video that explains all this.
In any case. Lynda.com and YouTube to the rescue! Here’s a Lynda.com video that shows how to calibrate your mic in Audacity. Here’s an awesome video that gives the basics of recording quality voice over using Audacity.
After watching, I re-recorded the voice over track using my acoustic tile box:
It’s not distorted, but it sounds quiet and timid. Now compare to this track, in which I used the suggested edits from the video linked above:
It’s the same track, but I think it sounds much better!
Here’s how they compare visually in Audacity.
And the edited track:
Notice that the sound waves extend pretty much as far as they can without “touching the sides” and becoming distorted.
EDIT: I realized after I listened to it again at home that there’s actually a good bit of background noise. I have a lot to learn – you have to remove the background noise BEFORE you do anything else. So let’s try that.
Final Final track:
And the visual:
You can see that the parts where there are no vocals are much flatter.
Faculty on any given college or university campus are neck deep in their local learning management system (LMS). Even if they only meet with their students face-to-face, they’re likely still using the LMS to store the syllabus, course readings, or for the gradebook.
On our campus, every course has its own dedicated “course” in our LMS, no matter if it’s taught online, as a hybrid, or as a full face-to-face. Something like 80% of our faculty use the LMS on a regular basis.
As librarians, we do a ton of teaching, too! But as a group we don’t much experience with the LMS.
I think that this is a huge barrier to understanding faculty’s needs and beginning to understand how we can work with them in new ways the future.
LMS stands for “learning management system.” It’s not really managing learning, though. It’s managing a course and user-contributed content. It’s up to the instructor to manage the learning.
An LMS is indispensable because it is managing all of the moving parts of any given course. For an in-person course, students might visit to download course materials or to check their grade. For fully online courses, students and their instructors would depend completely on the LMS for all aspects of the course, including course materials, weekly assignments, discussions, quizzes, midterms, and to turn in large projects.
Here’s an interesting article from 2007 (still relevant!) on what an LMS is, and what it is not. An LMS is really complex and powerful, but generally faculty are using just the simplest elements.
I’m lucky to have in-depth experience in our LMS (Moodle) since I teach online in our graduate instructional design program. Quite frankly, I just use the simplest elements, too, because LMS are complicated!
What’s your campus’ LMS? The most common LMS in higher education are Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle – most likely your local LMS has been branded by your school.
One of the workshops I’ve done for my colleagues is just about our campus’ learning management system.
I’m lucky to have a “sandbox” course in our LMS that I can do whatever I want with! This is great for trying out new things, or for building pieces of a course.
It’s also great for turning into a sandbox for my colleagues to get the full Moodle experience.
For the workshop, I set up a dummy course for my colleagues, complete with a discussion forum and an “assignment” featuring the TurnItIn module.
Attendees spent the first forty minutes of our time together exploring the course as students: editing their profiles, participating in the discussion forum (posting and replying!) and they had to turn in an “essay” to the TurnItIn module, which is used heavily on our campus. (TurnItIn is plagiarism detection software that’s a third party product embedded in our LMS).
Once they completed all of their tasks as students, I gave them an instructor role in the LMS so that they could see what it’s like from the faculty point of view.
Moodle is complicated, like any LMS is! Some of the attendees had experience taking online courses, but probably about half did not. (I should’ve surveyed to discover their experience! It would be interesting to know who had never even seen the inside of an LMS, with librarians, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a high percentage!)
The workshop went over well – faculty and staff liked seeing what it’s like for students and for faculty. They struggled with updating their profiles, or figuring out how the threading worked in the discussion board (Moodle has four different discussion board formats – I hate all of them.) TurnItIn didn’t make much sense to them – where was the plagiarism report? What formats could it accept?
When they became “instructors,” they were confused on how to turn on editing, and on what each of the many items were that they could add to the course. Like, what’s a Label? What’s a Page? What’s a Book? How do you add a badge? Good question!
I told them that our campus has a lot of adjunct faculty (like most of higher ed, these days), and that adjunct faculty are expected to use the LMS on all of the campuses where they teach. I know some adjunct faculty that teach at three or four campuses!
Every campus has its own LMS – even if it’s the same product as another campus, local customizations can make it into a completely different experience!
I asked my attendees to imagine how difficult it must be to learn and use each campus’ LMS, when even learning one, like our own Moodle, is a challenge.
For my workshop, the message hit home – it can be hard to navigate and teach effectively using an LMS. Yet, I think it’s the next frontier for librarians that want to partner with faculty to help teach their students information literacy and library research skills.
Have you used your campus’ LMS? Librarians’ role in the LMS varies by campus.
At our campus, a couple of librarians have experience embedding library content into existing courses. I have a course set up in our main LMS just to house automated library tutorials.
At other campuses, librarians have more liberty in their campus LMS to create content and to embed it into other courses. Some LMS’s, like Canvas, have built-in learning repositories that make sharing and reusing content very easy.
In any case, if you’re not familiar, or even if you are, any given LMS is a complex piece of software that is often not being used to its full potential.
Even if you don’t want to get involved in being embedded into instructors’ courses (which can be very labor-intensive very quickly), it’s good to have an idea of your LMS’ features and how your faculty and students use it so that you can keep it in mind when planning changes to your instructional or reference programs.
I am a solo instructional designer at my library. I love instructional design and elearning development, but I don’t have as much time for it as I would like! I love using Storyline to build tutorials and courses, but it’s become too burdensome to maintain existing courses while also creating new ones.
I am involved in the open education movement on my campus, so I have also been thinking about ways to build learning experiences that are partially or completely open so that my colleagues can edit them or take control entirely.
H5P is slowly catching on – it’s an open-source tutorial development platform. You can build out tutorials at H5P.org and embed them elsewhere as iframes, or you can install an H5P plugin for Moodle or WordPress and build them on your own turf.
This week I worked on updating existing YouTube videos related to open education, and I wanted to update my existing Storyline course that contains the videos (it’s like a Netflix-style video gallery). I wondered – would it be possible to recreate this format using H5P? I would love to be able to share this course and know that anyone with a computer/internet would be able to make a copy and make it their own!
Yep, it was possible!
I used H5P’s Course Presentation format to develop it. H5P doesn’t allow you to duplicate elements like Storyline does, but if you build out a master slide, and build out the background graphics separately, you can clone the master slide and just swap out the background.
The original Storyline file had cute graphics for each video, whereas in H5P I either embedded the video or selected the “Display as button” option so that the tutorial shows the videos as icons, and when the user clicks, the tutorial lightboxes the videos.
You can use the “Display as button” option for Text, Images, and Videos. I didn’t use any of the other interactive options, like quizzes or games, and I deactivated the player bar because I have on-screen navigation. Storyline lets you choose the slide size, whereas H5P has a fixed 2:1 ratio.
Check it out! I love that the look and feel is very similar between these two versions!
Built with Storyline
(By the way, the Storyline version is a couple years old, so some of the videos are dead or out-of-date!)
Built with H5P
Click Download above to get the H5P file, or visit the H5P site to get a copy.
If you’re new to elearning development, or using Storyline or Captivate for the first time, you may have struggled to learn the software only to experience new issues when trying to view your first published course. Viewing your courses locally (i.e. viewing local files in your browser) is more challenging than ever as browsers continue to crack down on Flash.
So let’s talk about what’s going on when you open your published course only to find a blank screen!
Flash (SWF) vs. HTML5
Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline publish in both SWF and HTML5. So, what is Flash/SWF? And what is HTML5?
Long story short – before HTML5, there was no easy way to put video or animation or interactivity into a webpage with using add-on software that users had to install themselves, like Flash.
Here’s an old video that talks about what Flash does: What is Flash? (YouTube). Flash used to be the only way to deliver animated and interactive content. Now, Flash is considered outdated, and a security risk by major browsers (like Chrome and Firefox) such that Flash content is often blocked. This is a problem if you publish Captivate courses in SWF, which is the Flash file format.
However! HTML programming caught up so that we don’t really need Flash anymore – we have HTML5! Here’s a good, short overview from 2011: What is HTML5? (YouTube).
Now that it’s 2017, HTML5 has matured, and it basically does everything that we used Flash for. And, HTML5 is not a security risk. Furthermore, you may have heard that Flash is dead and/or dying, but it finally got a death date: 2020! See: Flash & the Future of Interactive Content.
This is important stuff for you to know as an elearning developer! You don’t have to know code (though it helps), but you do have to know how to publish your courses so that your learners will be able to access them.
You need to know this stuff so that you can publish your learning object and your learners can access it! If your learner can’t view your learning object, it’s likely that Flash is blocked in their browser.
Here’s a really great how-to guide from Articulate on viewing courses locally: Local Playback of Published Content.
Delivering Your Course
Adobe Captivate will publish your course as Flash (SWF), as HTML5, and as a PDF (which is just Flash in a PDF). Or, it will also publish your course as an app for Windows or Mac. All of these have pros and cons. Storyline will publish in Flash and HTML5, but not as a PDF.
HTML5 is a mature technology, but that doesn’t mean that Storyline or Captivate always do a great job publishing in HTML5. It might be glitchy. But, Flash often causes problems as well due to browsers trying to block it. It’s neat to publish your learning object developed in Captivate as an app – but this can be a security risk as well, and you’d have to publish for both Windows and Mac.
If you’re not using an LMS, you’ve got to host your course on the web so that you can distribute a link to your learners. If you are not knowledgeable about web hosting, this has a bit of a learning curve. Here’s a good video explaining web hosting: What is web hosting? (YouTube).
If you are interested, here is some info on how to publish your course to a web server:
- Adobe Captivate – Publishing eLearning for the web & HTML5 (YouTube)
- How to get an e-learning course online
- How to share e-learning courses using Amazon S3
- Hosting options:
I design a lot of learning experiences, but usually they’re accessed directly by users with the web address, or via our LMS.
But what if you were asked to design a learning experience that would live on a computer kiosk, waiting for passersby to engage?
I wrote recently about my experience re-designing my Open Access Jeopardy game for standalone use on a giant touchscreen TV. I had actually created two versions: one to be included on an email to all faculty at our institution that they could play on their own, and another for use on the touchscreen TV.
There is one big challenge with designing an effective learning experience for a kiosk: how do you set it to refresh periodically, if someone abandons what they were working on?
I was thinking of museum or information kiosks: they’re fun to play with, but users don’t reset it for the next person, because you know it will reset automatically. I had NO IDEA how to accomplish this myself, but I know it has to be done because the Open Access Jeopardy game has THIRTY questions and I really doubt learners are really going to make it through all of them.
But I didn’t know how to develop an auto-reset because Articulate Storyline doesn’t have a “time-out” feature that will trigger a reset, and it doesn’t have the ability to jump to a given point on a timeline.
My initial solution to this challenge was to program in several reset points on the base layer. When triggered, a layer appears that counts down to a reset, which can be cancelled.
But, of course, there is a better way!
As long as the kiosk has an internet connection, the Storyline course can be hosted on a server and pulled up in a web browser.
And somehow, I didn’t think of this at first, but there is actually a plugin for Chrome called Kiosk that does exactly what I was looking for: automatically resets the web page at given intervals. Additionally, it locks down the browser with a username and password to control the experience and keep users from navigating elsewhere.
However, I gave myself an additional challenge with this project: I wanted to collect statistics on how many people actually stop by and play the game.
Normally, I embed my Storyline courses into LibGuides as iframes, or I load them as SCORM packages into our LMS.
I didn’t want the LibGuide experience for this one because I wanted a really clean look that kept the focus on the game.
I didn’t want to load it into our LMS because I didn’t have a good place to put it, plus an LMS login would timeout periodically.
I have some experience using Google Analytics, so I decided to give that a shot! (Google Analytics is free, by the way, and you can generate up to 100 separate instances [you need one instance for each website you want to track]).
BUT – if your tutorial is automatically resetting periodically, how do you distinguish between visits to the web page as a result of resets, and actual players stopping by to interact with the course?
You create two separate Storyline experiences, of course! And assign each their own Google Analytics instance.
When users click on the Let’s Play! button, the browser opens up the webpage that contains the actual Game:
The Splash page lives at /OAjeopardy2-kiosk/story.html, while the actual Game lives at /OAJeopardy2-Kiosk-Game/story.html.
When an abandoned Game automatically resets, or Kiosk refreshes after no activity, the original Splash page loads again. Thus, the Game would ONLY load when someone actually wanted to play.
I created two Google Analytics instances for these: one for the Splash page, one for the Game. You just have to embed the code into the <head> section of each of the .html files for each Storyline course: in story.html, in story_flash.html, and in story_html5.html.
I had to do some flowcharting and make some careful notes to make sure I didn’t screw anything up.
I thought this would work great! It would be a seamless experience for the user, and I would collect Google Analytics on how many times the Splash page refreshed as well as on how many times the Game page would be visited by actual players.
However, of course there was another problem I didn’t think of (story of my life!).
This approach unfortunately leads to lots of new tabs in the browser, IF the browser even allows pop-ups. If you use Kiosk with Chrome, the new tab will actually open as a smaller window and it’s very strange.
UGH. Why can’t things just work the way I dream they will?
Of course there are extensions for Chrome to try to fix this problem: I tried out a couple, including an extension called TheOne and another called OneWindow.
Alas, Open Access Jeopardy defeated both of them.
Here’s the code, thanks to this StackOverflow page:
IT WORKS!!! Now, no new tabs are created: everything opens in the same tab in Chrome.
I did plug in the Google Analytics code to both the Splash and the Game html files, and 24-48 hours later, I got data! (Seems to take a day or two for data to collect).
Yeah, OK, so I had a whole 5 people play the game itself. But since I have a separate Google Analytics code plugged into the Splash page, I saw that it refreshed 9 times, so at least my Game statistics are legit!
I mentioned earlier that I created two versions of this game: one to be emailed out to faculty as well that doesn’t auto-reset.
I plugged Google Analytics into that, too!
LOOK AT THESE STATS.
OK, so in the great scheme of things we still didn’t get many visitors, but I learned that faculty were most likely to click on the link to the game when they got the email (sent out on October 23rd, obviously).
You know what else is really interesting?
The fact that 61% of users were kicked to the Flash version of the game, and 39% of them used the HTML5 version.
This is really valuable information about how my users are interacting with this game, and it makes me SO GLAD I was able to upgrade to Storyline 3 because the HTML5 output is so much more stable and does what it’s supposed to.
Using Google Analytics, I can also see what browser and device my users are on.
Want to do this yourself? Here’s how:
Here’s what you need:
- Storyline project for your Splash page
- Storyline project for your Game/Experience
- Web server
- Google Analytics instance for your Game/Experience, and also for your Splash if you want
Here’s how to do it:
- Develop your Splash project and your Game/Experience project. As an example, here’s my Splash page for Jeopardy, and here’s my actual game. (Want the source files? Have at it).
- Decide where your project will live on your web server – write down the URLs for both your Splash page and your Game page. These should live in separate folders.
For instance – my Splash page is at OAJeopardy2-Kiosk/story.html, and my Game is at OAJeopardy2-Kiosk-Game/story.html.
The URL is where your game will live. DON’T just use Jump to URL because this will open a pop-up window and that’s messy and doesn’t work with the Kiosk extension (and some browsers won’t allow pop-ups at all!).
- Publish your projects and copy them onto your server. Make sure they’re accessible at the URLs that you already planned out in Step 2.
- Set up your Google Analytics instances (aka properties). Here’s some help on how to set up your Google Analytics properties.
I set up a property for my Splash page, and one for my Game, just so I could confirm the stats were different and everything was working properly!
- Insert the proper Google Analytics code into the <HEAD> of story.html, story_flash.html, and story_html5.html for the Game. (Right-click on these files and select Open in Notepad or Text Editor or similar so you can see the code. You can CTRL-F to find the head). Make sure you save! You’ll have to wait 24-48 hours for stats to start appearing in Google Analytics.
- Install the extension Kiosk for Chrome on the device that you plan to use as a Kiosk.
- Before you’re ready to unveil your new project to the world, launch the Kiosk app, and enter the URL for the Splash page as the Content URL. Be sure to whitelist your domain – you want to ensure that Kiosk will allow the new URL to open! Tweak the rest of the settings however you’d like.
- Test, test, test!
- OK, now unveil your project to the world! Enjoy watching user interactions and collecting stats from the comfort of your computer by using Google Analytics.
For bonus credit, figure out how to use xAPI instead of Google Analytics!