youtube tutorials

November 6, 2007

I posted the other day about my new position.  I’m still developing the modular tutorial project I mentioned in that post, but the first little bit is now in place.  In the past few days I’ve posted a number of really short screencasts to a YouTube account.  The idea is that they’re really short (under 3 minutes), casual and consistent in appearance, and reusable in a number of ways.  Hopefully this will make them more attractive to students and faculty who might like to use them in their classes.  One of the most important aspects, from my perspective as creator, is that they are so easy and fast to make that there’s no barrier to recreation when a site or database changes.  Is anyone else doing this?  Are you targeting local or distance students?

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3 Responses to “youtube tutorials”


  1. These look really good Lauren – one question and one suggestion. Are you embedding these somewhere for the students to find? What’s your strategy to get these in front of their eyes? Not sure what you used to create these, and not to sound like a shill, but you should try the newest version of Camtasia Studio, which has a great new automatic zoom feature that would really work well for the small space you get to show in YouTube. I just watched your “how to renew books” and mentally imagined where Camtasia would’ve automatically zoomed in to show greater detail on the parts of the screen you were working on. It really works well, and you can get a 30-day free trial.


  2. Thanks Paul! Good question and suggestion!

    As for students finding the materials… since we’re still in the early set-up phase, we’re not marketing them at all. The webmaster is creating a searchable interface for our site by learning style, topic, etc. We plan on marketing to faculty, too, so they can embed the resources they think are most useful in their Blackboard or web-based courses. Some of them could even be embedded at the most useful place on the page for point-of-us instruction.

    Thanks for the Camtasia Studio advice. Though I’ve used Captivate, I’m new to Camtasia. I was using the trial version, but apparently not all the features. I’ll be sure to look into that right away. Always nice to get advice from folks who have used the product!

  3. Karen Wetzel Says:

    Before I left GW, I worked to create quick pages for easy help–something that wouldn’t go into all the details of every topic, but would get the students what they needed. Ideally, we wanted to be able to include them into distance courses at point of need, and then to also include them throughout the website and in searching (e.g., add a link in SFX to help with loans for items we didn’t have online, or on the login failure page for login help). I don’t think that happened, but I think that’s key–have it in easy reach, for when they need it.

    I also tried to make the pages fun–used some simple, clean graphics, easy links to get them where they would need to go, and bare minimum text that wouldn’t go beyond a page. We also had short videos to show for each one (I think we aimed for a minute long), and a printable version. Here’s an example: http://www.gwu.edu/gelman/service/offcampus/diy/login.html

    I see that they’ve added a “Did this help you?” button. I was more interested in tracking use by stats and have added some new topics–it would be interesting to see if they are getting use.

    How do we find out if our efforts are making a difference? Especially when we work with distance users (whether in another country or another room)? Has anyone had any success with measurement?


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