How do I get my course online? Using Camtasia 2 and Youtube

Last week I finally did something that I’ve been procrastinating about for over a year. I got a large chunk of my NCALNE (Voc) professional development course online in the form of YouTube clips. I did it without using complicated courseware or authoring tools.


This is part of my drive to open source the training that I do as I find ways of moving beyond the face-to-face training and education business model that we’ve worked with since we started in 2007.

I’m not really sure yet what a more sustainable business model is, but I know that it needs to include an online and blended training delivery model. In order to make all this happen I needed certain tools, knowledge, and other things in place. Here’s how I did it – my list of things to do in a nutshell.

  1. Ensure you have a polished deck of slides: I switched to a Macbook and Keynote over a year ago and I’ve been trying to polish the slide deck ever since. It’s not perfect yet, but I finally figured it was good enough for what I wanted to achieve on Youtube.
  2. Get some really great screen capture software: There are free applications but I purchased Camtasia 2 for Mac. I’m not really a video editing type of guy so it took me a while to get my head around it. In fact, I gave up about five times. Not just because of having to learn a new software tool, but because I couldn’t get everything to come together the way I wanted initially. When I started out doing this I got stressed each time I recorded as I was trying to do it in a perfect take on the audio. Coming back to it this time, I just let the mic run. If I made a mistake I just paused my monologue, and then started again. Then I fixed the mistakes in the edit.
  3. Buy an excellent USB-powered mic: I’ve blogged about this before as I thought that I could get away with lower quality video if I had really great audio. Blue Yeti hasn’t let me down. It’s too large to lug around in my normal laptop bag, but it rocks. The difference between recording via my Macbook’s internal mic versus the Blue Yeti is huge.
  4. Get an extension screen: I’ve got a big extension monitor for my little Macbook. I’ve tried doing all this just on the Macbook, but it’s having the extra screen real estate that makes life so much better and easier.
  5. Learn how to use the least amount of special features: I’m not really big on special video editing features or even on using Keynote much beyond basic slide presentation. However, I needed to know a couple of things in each to make this all work. One was using the presenter function in Keynote with two screens. One screen for the slides, and the other for the “presenter notes”. That way I could read my notes and prompts while the screen capture software was recording the audio over the video on the main screen. The other thing was learning the basics of cutting and editing the audio track once recorded in Camtasia. There are plenty more features to explore but these two things made it work.
  6. Get extra dedicated memory: I bought an external USB drive just to hold the temporary files and finished Camtasia files before I exported them to YouTube. To start with I burned up all my Mac’s internal memory and harddrive. Video files are huge. I had no idea really.
  7. Set up Playlists and then Sections in Youtube: The editing capability inside your YouTube channel is pretty amazing. The things that made the biggest difference for me though were setting up playlists for the particular tracks that went together, and then Sections so they appeared super-organised on the landing page.

That’s it really. I now feel confident that I can come back to this work and keep adding to the 180+mins that I’ve now uploaded. It was far easier for me to record audio over the slideshows rather than drawing on the screen the way Sal Khan does. However, I’m going to have another go at that as well.

My plan is to completely overhaul the ALEC website with a focus on the Youtube content as the main thing.

Anyway, why don’t you flip your classroom today. Have a try at doing your own educational YouTube clips…! And let me know how it goes.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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