online teachingI have long wanted to create video courses for my writing students and online students. I’ve dabbled here and there, but now I am jumping in with both feet (and keyboard) to join the new online video course craze. (It’s been around for awhile, but I’ve been busy with other things!)

I am amazed at how difficult it is to find information (quality information) online regarding doing this. This might explain why I’ve given up the idea many times in the past. In the past few weeks, I have been roaming around and have found some great starting points.

First, where would you host your course? I recommend you check out Udemy. This is a great site for hosting online courses. I spent some time watching some free courses to get a feel for it and was not disappointed.

Best of all, I ran across a free (for the moment) course called How to Build Your Own Course from Scratch. The instructor (Nevell) delves into everything you need to know to create an online course. He talks about coming up with an idea for a course, how to choose a camera, how to choose a location, what other equipment you might need, how to capture screen shots, and how to make your videos interesting. Nevell is an upbeat guy who won’t bore you, but I must warn you that he does cuss now and then. I hope you overlook this if you find cursing offensive because the material he presents is very helpful.

Secondly, what video editor will you use? I test drove a few. I started with Windows Movie Maker; this is pretty basic and is free on your PC. It had too many limitations for me though. Nevell makes several suggestions for video editors for PC and Mac systems. I chose Camtasia because it seemed to have the most versatility. You can test drive Camtasia for free for 30 days and it comes with very easy to understand tutorials.

With Camtasia you can record your screen while you talk. For instance, I created a video showing students how to format their papers by bringing up a Word document and recording how to format. The final video shows everything I do in the document with audio that explains each step that I’m doing.

Camtasia is only $99 after the 30 days, and I imagine I will purchase it.

Finally, you don’t need a fancy camera. Unless you are planning to film yourself (versus using screen shots and Power Point slides), you can use the camera on your computer or use Movie Maker or an editor like Camtasia to take screen shots. As for audio, all of the sources I checked with recommend using a USB type microphone rather than your computer’s microphone because the audio quality will be better.

At any rate, if you’re interested in creating online courses or just making podcasts for your students, I recommend that you start by taking Nevell’s course and downloading the Camtasia free trial.

I’ll keep you posted as I discover more!