Multimedia Tutorials for Remote Users

Show me the librarian that doesn’t have repetitive questions that receive repetitive answers and I’ll show you oceanfront property in West Las Vegas. If, on the other hand you are a librarian that would like to have a video recording of the steps you have repeated over and over, then video tutorials are a route you may want to consider.

Whoa! I’m not a videographer! You don’t have to be a programmer, professional videographer or uber geek to use screen-capturing software and develop video tutorials. There are several options available to the novice tutorial developer. All of them are relatively easy.

A few examples:

TechSmith’s Camtasia
Adobe’s Captivate
Deskshare’s My Screen Recorder
Instant Demo

The price range on these software packages runs from just under $30 to around $300.
Instant Demo and My Screen Recorder are on the low end, Camtasia is in the middle and Captivate is on the high end of the price range. File size runs conversely to the price range listings.

The application chosen by the presenter was Camtasia. This was chosen because her university adopted it, because it was easy to use and because her remote users needed the tutorials it would produce.

Who are remote users?

MOST of today’s college communities are comprised of remote users therefore, assistance to users have changed. Nobody wants to ask questions face to face or on the phone (even with an 800 phone number). The ways to meet the library users has changed over time.

  • 1986 – phone and paper handout packets
  • 1996 – phone and paper handout packets, email and web pages
  • 2006 – phone and paper handout packets, email and web pages, IM, e-reserves, CMS, social software, multimedia tutorials

Why did OSU choose video tutorial for there next step in remote user service?

Many of today’s learners are visual learners. They need to see what you are doing online. The video tutorial gives them that option without compromising the desire for anonymity. These tutorials are relatively timeless and repeatable (tutoring on demand 24/7).

What does it take to produce a video tutorial using Camtasia?

Video creation requires software designed to record and edit, hardware with minimum requirements to run the software chosen, a quiet space with microphone and computer, and a script (not absolutely required but recommended). The quiet space is required due to the audio recording process as well as the need to concentrate. A headset microphone combination reduces uneven recording by placing the microphone within constant mouth-to-microphone distance.

What tips can you give me?

  • Don’t – ad lib, use verbal pauses such as ummmm, errr, or hmmmm, cough, sneeze or sniff or swear
  • If you can’t talk and move the mouse at the same time, record the visual and audio separately
  • Think about your computer setup before purchasing a combination headset/microphone.

There are good how-to tutorials on the Camtasia website at http://www.techsmith.com . Check them out!

Session presenter: Christina Biles, Digital Library Services Librarian, Oklahoma State University

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