23 January, 2006

More Screencasting

I'm still quite excited about the possibilites of what we can do with the Screencasting software. We want to create good quality and easy to use training on the website and could perhaps cover WebCT 6, troubleshooting and any FAQs.

Had a look at CamStudio (recommended by Tim in the comments) and it does a good job of screen capture, although you get less control of screen sizes compared with Camtasia. Creating recordings in CamStudio and importing them into Camtasia for finer editing works well, meaning we only need one copy of Camtasia and several people can develop training.

Donationcoder.com have an in depth review of similar pieces of software. Most interesting to me from that article is Macromedia Captivate, which can create interactive tutorials with quizzes and hotspots. It can create much more complex training than Camtasia. While creating this training takes much more time, in the long term Captivate allows more options to easily tweek and update training materials.

Camtasia is a lot quicker to pick up and easier to use. It also encourages a conversational style of narration which I find easier and much more pleasant to follow if it is done well (see also the Creating Passionate Users Post by Kathy Sierra, "Conversational writing kicks formal writing's ass" which kind of makes sense in this context too).

For us, at least in the short term, Camtasia is going to be the way forward. Captivate could be something that we look into over a longer time period. If anyone has access to Edge Hill's 'Developers' Information Base', click on 'Screencasting' for a demonstration training page.

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