Okay, feeling more alive now, I decided it was time to wrap up my project “interventions” – the two user education guides that I’ve undertaken to devise as part of my PGCert project.
Initially, the intention was to create just one. It didn’t feel enough, and it didn’t offer the chance to experiment. Moreover, it didn’t really address the problems that I perceived our students were experiencing.
I decided I’d create two. I had bold ideas of podcasts, vodcasts, powerpoints with recorded voiceovers, and screencaptures. I even toyed with the idea of combining a YouTube and screencaptures. I went to the park one lunchtime and played with YouTube (it’s anonymous, and there weren’t many people around). Then commonsense kicked in.
- Who wants to listen to me explaining something, without seeing what I’m telling them about? This is about using electronic resources, guys!
- Who wants to see me talking about e-resources, without seeing the e-resources?
- I asked my more technically-minded son how difficult it would be to combine a video of myself, with screen-captures of our e-resource pages. “Who wants to see your little face in a circle in the corner of the screen, Mum?” He wasn’t being unkind. “We want to see what you’re explaining about”, he continued. He had confirmed my misgivings.
I decided my first intervention would be something I felt comfortable with: a powerpoint. I have hardly ever recorded a voiceover, but at least the powerpoint would be easy. Simplicity itself, in fact. I spent hours sourcing suitable images, made a presentation about referencing and citation, got it approved in principle by my project supervisor, and scurried home to write and record the script. Six migraines and a viral infection later, I had a free evening and got the mic/headset out of its box … took a deep breath, and got on with it. I had a complete intervention – put out the flags!
It had been so easy, I had more time left over than I expected. So I started my second intervention. I sourced screencapture software, made a handful of powerpoint slides, and wrote the script. This morning, I seized the gift of some more free, peaceful hours, and started recording.
Even with a new, more robust internet connection, my computer didn’t load up pages as fast as I needed them to load. I tried again, this time pausing the recording until they did load. There are parts of our webpages that seem to occupy half the screen before sliding up again. Not helpful. Moreover, flipping between a handful of powerpoint slides and the e-resource pages was clunky, and I wasn’t entirely sure that my guinea-pig cohort (still innocent that they are to be invited to be guinea-pigs) would see exactly what I wanted them to see, or whether they’d get all the recording clutter around the edges of the screen. This wasn’t going well.
I thought again. What, actually, was wrong with another powerpoint-plus-voiceover? I’m good at powerpoints, I can read a script confidently, and I know the recording will work. Is there really any merit in trying anything else that won’t look as good or flow as smoothly? It took minimal time to turn all my scripted online demos into screenshots in the powerpoint. Recording it was easy – why, I’d even practised the words several times already on the functional but ugly screen-capture attempt.
Finally … I have two interventions. (I wish I could show them off here straight away, but that would spoil the project, so you’ll need to wait! But here’s a picture, just as a teaser.)
And I can put the kettle on!