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Creating and sharing an online lecture

Snow day coming?  Teaching your first online class?  Out sick?  Traveling to an academic conference?

What if you still need to keep your students up to date on a specific set of material?

You've got a MacBook in hand, but you're not sure how to use it to create and share a content-rich lecture your students can access online.  You don't want to sift through a myriad of manuals, help files, and tutorials, or choose between twenty similar-but-slightly-different methods; you just want someone to give you simple answers, in clear language, in a logical sequence.  There are lots of great ways to create rich content with your Mac and share it online.  This webpage will walk you through one tried-and-true method using tools that came with your Mac, no downloads required.

Let's get started.

First, you're going to need to assemble your materials and record your lecture.  If you're not already using your MacBook, fire it up and watch the tutorial below.  This tutorial will show you how to create a video with voice narration which shows anything you want to show your students on your computer screen; this could include PowerPoint or Keynote slides, webpages, documents, graphs, software relevant to your discipline, or anything else relevant that you can show on your computer screen... anything.
[Note that the method shown in this tutorial requires Mac OS X Snow Leopard, version 10.6 or above, which comes preinstalled on all recent Macs; if you're not sure your Mac has Snow Leopard or if you need to upgrade, contact the IC Help Desk at helpdesk@su.edu to schedule an appointment.]

A tip: if your screen recording gets longer than about 15 or 20 minutes, consider dividing it into segments, either by starting a new screen recording, or by making one long recording and then dividing it into segments after.  This will make it easier for your students to download or stream the individual files.  For instructions on dividing up a long video file into smaller segments, click here.

Did you create your own screen recording yet?  You did?  Good job!

Second, you'll need a way to share your shiny new screen recording online with all your hungry-for-knowledge students, correct?    People often ask: what's the best way to share videos online?  Read on for the answer that best fits you.  Please note: there are many other good options out there for sharing video online; we've listed four below which we think will fit most needs at SU.
  • YouTube --  Is your video fairly short or could it be divided into short segments (under 15 minutes, though the restriction seems to be gradually disappearing) and you don't care who sees it (i.e. it's OK for it to be available to a public audience)?  Click here to sign up for a free YouTube account and then click here for instructions on uploading your video to YouTube.  Once your video is uploaded (or while it's uploading), click here for instructions on sharing a YouTube video.  If you need a laugh and prefer having instructions read to you, click here.  You may have noticed that you can also share videos privately (sort of) via YouTube, but it takes a lot more work on the part of your students and yourself in the long run and one of the options below is probably better for you in that case.
  • iTunes U -- Do you have more audio and video files to share with this class in the future?  Would you like to create a podcast (a series your students can subscribe to) of audio and video content for your class?  If so, it's time to start using iTunes U for your class, if you haven't already.  Click here for instructions pertaining to Blackboard 8, or click here for instructions pertaining to Blackboard 9.
  • Google Docs or Megaupload -- Do you just want to share this one video for now and be done with it?  There are lots of ways to send a file to your students that is too big to attach to an email.  If your entire lecture (even if it's divided into multiple files) is well under one gigabyte, you can easily and securely share it--or any other type of file--using Google Docs; click here for instructions.  An alternative method (in which only each individual file must be under one gigabyte) is to share the video using www.megaupload.com; for instructions, click here.  Be aware that signing up for a free account at Megupload guarantees your files will be available for 90 days to download; without an account, they are guaranteed to be available for 21 days.  Megaupload and Google Docs are two reliable and easy-to-use services for sharing files too big to email, but there are many others
Third, put a paper umbrella in your cup of tea and kick up your feet; you just created and shared your first online lecture!