Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Creating Effective Audio Lectures with Camtasia

Guest Blog Post by:  Brian Craig

In my experience so far, Camtasia has become one of my favorite tools for creating audio lectures in my online classes. In Summer Quarter 2013, I tested different software for recording audio lectures including Audacity, Screencast-O-Matic , Camtasia Relay. I used Audacity to create a 15 minute audio lecture on the history of the U.S. Constitution in my LA198 Constitutional Issues class but this included just audio with no visuals. A student in my class commented that she is a much more visual learner and asked if I would create lectures with more visuals. I then used Camtasia Relay with more visuals and images and students seemed to like this a lot more than just the audio.  

Camtasia has a lot of different options including the ability to show your webcam and closed captioning. If you have a PowerPoint presentation, you can display the PowerPoint slideshow different from your computer and then use your microphone to narrate the concepts. I find it better to provide your own explanations and not just read the text in your PowerPoint slides. Images can also enhance your PowerPoint presentations.

With the free version of Jing/, you can only record up to five minutes for screencasts but I often wanted to record longer tutorials. I previously had to create separate recordings such as "Unit 5 Lecture Part 1" and "Unit 5 Lecture Part 2" for longer lectures using Jing. For online instructors at GEN now with Camtasia, you can record longer lectures. You also don't have to worry about approaching your file size limit for Jing/ I was over 90% of my file size limit with the free account on and now I can record as many lectures as I want without worrying about approaching my file size limit.  

While there is a little bit of a learning curve in learning how to record and use Camtasia Relay, I think Camtasia Relay is a great tool for creating and sharing audio lectures for students in online classes. 

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