Making and using video in Learnline

Formats and standards

The CDU Teaching 4 Learning site has some very helpful information on video and audio file formats and standards: see here. This site also has tips on making and using video: see here.

There is also an article over at PC Mech with some comments on video formats: they recommend MP4 and link to a free converter.

What can you do with video?

Below are examples of what can be done. None are especially polished but they “do the job”. (All (or perhaps almost all) my videos are hosted at YouTube, for reasons discussed on another page.) The first seven are quite easy; the last two are a bit more specialised.
  • Embed a video from somewhere on the web: (This is a TED – – talk with a US math prof explaining why statistics is the most important subject, naturally.) There is a lot of video freely available over the web and much of it is now very high quality.
  • Use your webcam to record a brief welcome message: This is a good way to introduce yourself to external students and add that personal touch.
  • Use your webcam to record a short tutorial: Sometimes the easiest way to explain, or demonstrate something, is with a short video. These can be helpful to students, without being elaborate or difficult to make. My most watched video -- with nearly 700 views at the moment (a speck an ocean, for YouTube, but surprising, given the content) -- is a quick pen and paper demonstration of how to rank variables when doing certain statistical tests.
  • Do “voice over” on a presentation: (That’s a clunky version done in a bit of a hurry; other people have done it better.) This was actually done by pointing the webcam at the computer screen: it would be better to use "screencast" software to capture the image and audio but I didn't have that available at the time.
  • Do a video tutorial on using software: This one is done using software to capture the computer screen and audio.
  • Record a field trip for students who can’t attend: This is from a field trip a couple of years ago where Penny Wurm and I took turns with the camera. The video was edited with Microsoft Movie Maker.
  • Use a series of still images to create a video: This is done with Microsoft Photo Story; the software does the image zooms and moves and adds the music. MS Photo Story can be downloaded for free from Microsoft (see software section).
  • Record a tutorial exercise using a tablet PC:
  • Do a video introduction to a unit: This is a bit more ambitious. It was put together with commercial software but could be done with Windows Movie Maker. The video for this was shot some years ago, hence the pixilation, so it is showing its age more than a bit.

Software for use with video and audio

General software

These tools can be used on any PC.
  • MS Photo Story: free; use for creating a video from a series of still images.
  • MS Movie Maker (or Windows Live Movie): free; use to edit video. For the differences between Movie Maker and Live Movie, and how to obtain them, see here.
  • Debut Video Capture: lite version is free; use for capturing desktop.
  • Audacity: free; use for recording and editing audio files; can be used to convert among some formats.
  • There are links to some other tools on the "How the video was made" page.

Tablet PC software

These tools are designed for Tablet PCs and enable the tablet to be used as an "electronic whiteboard" with the image shown using a data projector. They can also be used to record and presentation or demonstration, with audio, to a video which can be uploaded to Blackboard or YouTube.

  • NotateIt: free trial; PC “electronic whiteboard”; works best with a tablet PC but can be used with a mouse.
  • Uniboard/Sankore: free; another “electronic whiteboard”; again works best with a tablet PC but can be used with a mouse. Old name was Uniboard; now open source under the name Sankore (may be issues with more recent version).