Moodle 2.0 Multimedia: Creating and Integrating Screencasts and Videos

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Moodle 2.0 Multimedia Cookbook

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Add images, videos, music, and much more to make your Moodle course interactive and fun

$26.99    $13.50
by Silvina P. Hillar | May 2011 | Cookbooks Moodle Open Source Web Graphics & Video

This article explains how to create screencasts and edit, link, and embed videos for our Moodle courses. The recipes use diverse free and open source multi-platform tools to record, edit, and convert the different video files, covering the most common scenarios for multimedia Moodle activities.

In this article by Silvina P. Hillar, author of Moodle 2.0 Multimedia Cookbook, we will cover:

  • Creating a screencast and enhancing it with annotations
  • Embedding a YouTube and a Dailymotion video
  • Recording a video and editing it
  • Creating a playlist
  • Enhancing a video with comments

 

Moodle 2.0 Multimedia Cookbook

Moodle 2.0 Multimedia Cookbook

Add images, videos, music, and much more to make your Moodle course interactive and fun

        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Moodle 2.0, see here.)

Introduction

Moodle 2.0 offers new features, which make it easier to insert videos, especially from the http://www.youtube.com website. You can find them easily from the file picker, provided you have administrative access to the course. You have to bear in mind that you need to be an administrator in order to enable this option.

This article covers different ways to create and interact using either screencasts or videos. We will work with several multimedia assets, which will concern the baseline topic of Wildlife. This topic has many resources, which can be integrated with screencasts and videos available on the Web.

Creating screencasts using several free and open source software available on the Web is one of the main goals of this chapter. There is plenty of commercial software, which can be used to create screencasts. We will not focus on them though. We add some special features to the screencasts in order to enhance them.

Videos can be recorded in several ways. You may use your cell phone, camera, or the webcam of your computer. We are to focus on the way of creating them and uploading into our Moodle course. We can also use a recorded video from YouTube and upload it directly from the file picker in Moodle 2.0.

You can also design a playlist in order to combine several videos and let your students watch them in a row. We do it by creating an account in YouTube. The channel in YouTube can be either public or private; it depends on how we want to carry it out.

You can create some screencasts in order to present information to your students instead of showing presentations made using Open Office, PowerPoint, or Microsoft Word. Changing any of these into a screencast is more appealing to the students and not such a difficult task to carry out either.

We can create an explanation by recording our voice, for which we will create a virtual board that we can choose to be visible to the audience; in the second case, our explanations can only be heard with no visualization. This is quite an important aspect to be taken into account, especially in teaching because students need a dynamic explanation by their teacher.

There are several software available that can be used to create screencasts. One of them is Cam Studio. This software captures AVI files and it is open source. It captures onscreen video and audio. Its disadvantage is that only Windows users can use it. You can download it from http://camstudio.com/.

It is time for Mac users. There is also a free program for Mac users that focuses on making quick films by saving the recorded video to get a quick access. It does not record audio. This is Copernicus and you can download it from http://danicsoft.com/software/copernicus/.

We need a tool for both Mac and Windows, which is free and open source as well. So, JingProject.com is the software. It does not only record video, but also allows you to take a picture, draw, or add a message on it, and upload the media to a free hosting account. A URL is provided in order to watch the video or the image. You can download it from the following website: http://www.techsmith.com/download/jing/.

Screencast-o-matic is another tool that is based on Java that does not need to be downloaded at all. It allows you to upload in an automatic way. It works well with both Mac and Windows machines. You can use this at http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/. This is the tool that we are to work with in the creation of a screencast.

We may also modify the videos to make them suitable for learning. We can add annotations in different ways so as to interact through the video with our students. That is to say, we add our comments instead of adding our voice so that students read what we need to tell them.

Creating a screencast

In this recipe, we create a screencast and upload it to our Moodle course. The baseline topic is Wildlife. Therefore, in this recipe, we will explain to our students where wild animals are located. We can paste in a world map of the different animals, while we add extra data through the audio files. Thus, we can also add more information using different types of images that are inserted in the map.

Getting ready

Before creating the screencast, plan the whole sequence of the explanation that we want to show to our students, therefore, we will use a very useful Java applet available at http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/.

Screencast-o-matic requires the free Java Run-time Environment (also known as JRE) for both the teacher and the students' computers. You can download and install its latest version from http://java.sun.com.

How to do it...

First of all, design the background scene of the screencast to work with. Afterwards, enter the website http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/. Follow these to create the screencast:

  • Click on Start recording.
  • Another pop-up window appears that looks as shown in the following screenshot:

  • Resize the frame to surround the recording area that you want to record.
  • Click on the recording button (red button).
  • If you want to make a pause, click on the pause button or Alt + P, as shown in the following screenshot:

  • If you want to integrate the webcam or a bluetooth video, click on the upwards arrow in this icon, as shown in the following screenshot:

    Moodle 2.0 Multimedia

  • When the screencast is finished, click on Done.
  • You can preview the screencast after you finish designing it. If you need to edit it, click on Go back to add more. If you are satisfied with the preview, click on Done with this screencast, as shown in the following screenshot:

    Moodle 2.0 Multimedia

  • When the screencast is finished, our next task is to export it because we need to upload it to our Moodle course. Click on Export Movie.
  • Click on the downwards arrow in Type and choose Flash (FLV), as shown in the following screenshot:

    Moodle 2.0 Multimedia

  • Customize the Size and Options blocks, as shown in the previous screenshot or as you wish. When you finish, click on Export, as shown in the previous screenshot.
  • Write a name for this file and click on Save.
  • When the file is exported, click on Go back and do more with this screencast if you want to edit it.
  • Click on Done with this screencast if you are satisfied with the result. A pop-up window appears, click on OK.

How it works...

We have just created the screencast teaching about wild animals, which students have to watch to learn about the places where wild animals live around the world. We need to upload it to our Moodle course. It is a passive resource; therefore, we can add a resource or design an activity out of it. In this case, we design an activity. Choose the weekly outline section where you want to insert it, and follow these steps:

  1. Click on Add an activity | Online text within Assignments.
  2. Complete the Assignment name and Description blocks.
  3. Click on the Moodle Media icon | Find or upload a sound, video or applet ... | Upload a file | Browse | look for the file that you want to upload and click on it.
  4. Click on Open | Upload this file | Insert.
  5. Click on Save and return to course.
  6. Click on the activity. It looks as shown in the following screenshot:

There's more...

In the case that we create a screencast, which lasts for around 30 minutes or longer, it will take a long time to upload it to our Moodle course. Therefore, it will be advisable to watch the screencast using a free and open source media player, that is to say VLC Media Player.

VLC Media Player

You can download the VLC Media Player from the following website: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/. It works with most popular video files formats such as AVI, MP4, and Flash, among others. Follow these steps in order to watch the screencast:

  1. Click on Media | Open File | browse for the file that you want to open and click on it.
  2. Click on Open. The screencast is displayed, as shown in the following screenshot:

See also

  • Enhancing a screencast with annotations

 

Moodle 2.0 Multimedia Cookbook Add images, videos, music, and much more to make your Moodle course interactive and fun
Published: May 2011
eBook Price: $26.99
Book Price: $44.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:
        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Moodle 2.0, see here.)

Enhancing a screencast with annotations

We have already created a screencast in the previous recipe. Therefore, we can design another one about a specific wild animal and write some text at the specified seconds. Those texts are to be the annotations that we can add to our screencast.

Getting ready

In the previous task, we have already used http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/, and we will use this software in order to add the annotations to the new screencast that we will create in this recipe.

How to do it...

Enter the previously-mentioned website and follow these steps in order to create a screencast enhanced with annotations:

  1. Click on Start recording and resize the frame to surround the recording area that you want to record.
  2. Click on the recording button to record the screencast.
  3. When the screencast is finished, click on Done | Done with this screencast | Export Movie.
  4. Click on the downwards arrow in Type and choose Flash (FLV).
  5. Play the screencast. Write the annotations that you want to add within the Note block. Click on Add Note when the screencast is being played at the second that you wish to add the annotations, as shown in the following screenshot:

  6. Customize the Size and Options blocks. When you finish, click on Export.
  7. Write a name for this file and click on Save.
  8. Click on Done with this screencast if you are satisfied with the result. A pop-up window appears, click OK.

How it works...

We have already designed the screencast that students have to watch to learn one of the reasons why the panda bear is endangered. Upload it to our Moodle course. Choose the weekly outline section where you want to insert it and follow these steps:

  1. Click on Add an activity | Upload a single file within Assignments.
  2. Complete the Assignment name and Description blocks.
  3. Click on the Moodle Media icon | Find or upload a sound, video or applet ... | Upload a file | Browse | Look for the file that you want to upload and click on it.
  4. Click on Open | Upload this file | Insert.
  5. Click on Save and return to course. Click on the activity. It looks as shown in the following screenshot:

See also

  • Creating a screencast

Embedding a YouTube video

Moodle 2.0 offers the possibility to add YouTube within the file picker when we want to upload some media files to enhance our Moodle courses. Therefore, in this recipe we will consider the fact to make this visible in the file picker.

Getting ready

There are some steps that you need to take into account in order to enable the YouTube options in the file picker.

How to do it...

Let's switch our role in order to enable YouTube videos, available from the file picker. Therefore, click on Switch role to and select Manager. After switching your role, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Click on Site administration | Plugins | Repositories | Manage repositories.
  2. Click on next to YouTube videos Enabled and visible, as shown in the following screenshot:

  3. Click on Save | Save changes.

How it works...

We have just enabled YouTube videos to be shown in the file picker whenever we want to upload a video from the said website in our Moodle course. So, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Click on Add an activity | Upload a single file within Assignments.
  2. Complete the Assignment name and Description blocks.
  3. Click on the Moodle Media icon | Find or upload a sound, video or applet ... | Youtube videos.
  4. Complete the Search videos block with the video that you want to look for, as shown in the following screenshot:

  5. Click on Search.
  6. Many videos appear containing the said word. You click on the one that you want to embed, as shown in the following screenshot:

  7. You can choose between View as icons or View as list. The View as icons is shown in the previous screenshot.
  8. Click on Select this file.
  9. It is advisable to play the video before embedding it in the Moodle course. So, click on play and watch the video, as shown in the following screenshot:

  10. Click on Insert if you are happy with the video.
  11. Click on Save and return to course. The video is embedded in our Moodle course.

Embedding a Dailymotion video

This recipe is very simple. You can also find interesting videos at the following website: http://www.dailymotion.com/us. It is an alternative to YouTube if you want to find some more videos about a certain topic.

Getting ready

Enter the previously-mentioned website. In the Search block, write the words related to the video that you want to look for. In this case, leave the panda aside and look for a video of the bald eagle, as shown in the following screenshot:

How to do it...

After searching for the videos, select the one that we want to embed in our Moodle course. So, follow these steps to find the embedding code:

  1. Click on the video that you want to embed.
  2. Click on Embed and copy the embed code within the Copy Embed Code block, as shown in the following screenshot:

  3. You can also adjust the Settings as you wish, as shown in the previous screenshot on the right-hand side.

How it works...

Embed this video either as a resource or as a warm up in an activity. Therefore, enter the weekly outline section where you want to add this resource. These are the steps to follow:

  1. Click on Add a resource | Page.
  2. Complete the Name and Description blocks.
  3. Complete the Page Content block.
  4. Click on the Edit HTML Source icon. Paste the HTML code that you had copied from the Dailymotion video website. Click on Update.
  5. Click on Save and return to course. Click on the activity; it looks as shown in the following screenshot:

Recording a video

In this recipe, we will record a video. In this case, we record a visit to the zoo because, in this article, we deal with wildlife. Therefore, we may have a video from a visit to the zoo, or any park that we might have once visited. Thus, in this case, a mobile camera will be the most suitable.

How to do it...

Use a 720p HD video. It is a video from a visit to a national park in which we can find several wild animals. In order to watch the video on our computer, we need to have installed VLC Media Player. We have already used it in the previous recipe. This software will allow us to watch the video that we have just recorded and its properties. Follow these steps to record a video and save it in your computer:

  1. Record the video.
  2. Connect the video recorder to the computer. Click on Open the folder to view files.
  3. Select the video that you want to watch. Right-click on the video. Click on Copy.
  4. Create a folder on your default web browser and paste the video on the said folder.
  5. Save the video that you want to work with.
  6. Using VLC Media Player, open the files that you have just saved. Click on Media | Open File | choose the file that you need to open, as shown in the following screenshot:

  7. Click on the file | Open.
  8. The video that you chose will be played.

How it works...

Upload the video that we have just recorded to our Moodle course. We can create a chat room in our Moodle course to add some social interaction and let our students discuss the video among themselves. Choose the weekly outline section where we want to add this activity and follow these steps:

  1. Click on Add an activity | Chat.
  2. Complete the Name of this chat room and Introduction text blocks.
  3. Click on the Moodle Media icon | Find or upload a sound, video or applet ... | Upload a file | Browse | look for the file that you want to upload and click on it.
  4. Click on Open | Upload this file | Insert.
  5. Click on Save and return to course. Click on the activity. It looks as shown in the following screenshot:

See also

  • Creating a screencast

 

Moodle 2.0 Multimedia Cookbook Add images, videos, music, and much more to make your Moodle course interactive and fun
Published: May 2011
eBook Price: $26.99
Book Price: $44.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:
        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Moodle 2.0, see here.)

Editing a video

In order to edit a video, we will use VLMC. We can either cut the video or enlarge it using another one. Therefore, in this recipe we work on both of these items. We will remove a part of the video that we recorded and we enlarge it using another video. That is to say, we can combine two or more videos for our students; we can use a video from the Web and combine it with another of our creation.

Getting ready

In this recipe, we will edit a video using VLMC. We can edit the video that we have just recorded or choose any other video. Therefore, we need to download the software at http://trac.videolan.org/vlmc. This software runs with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.

How to do it...

Click on the VLMC icon and run it. Follow these steps to edit this video:

  1. Click on File | Import | and browse for the video to edit.
  2. Click on the video | click on the arrow (that is circled), and the file appears in the Media list block, as shown in the following screenshot:

  3. Click on OK.
  4. Click on Play within the Clip Preview block. The video will be played.
  5. When you watch the part that you need, click on the left square bracket, and when that part finishes, click on the right square bracket within the Clip Preview, as shown in the following screenshot:

  6. Click on the arrow that appears next to the file within the Media List block, as shown in the following screenshot:

    Moodle 2.0 Multimedia

  7. Drag-and-drop the video to the section shown in the following screenshot:

    Moodle 2.0 Multimedia

  8. Click on File | Render | OK.
  9. Repeat the same process as many times as you want. You can either use the parts of the same video or you can import another one.
  10. When you finish the editing, save the file.

How it works...

After we have edited our video, we can upload it to our Moodle course. Before uploading it to Moodle, we can watch it using VLC Media Player. Afterwards, choose the weekly outline section where you want to add the activity or the resource, and we can upload the video to our Moodle course, as we have already done in the previous recipes.

Creating a playlist

We can create a playlist so that instead of showing one video to our students, we can show them several videos. It is not very difficult to do, but in order to create a playlist, we do need to take a previous step: create an account on YouTube.

Getting ready

Enter YouTube. Click on the Create Account icon and complete the necessary information, as shown in the following screenshot:

Moodle 2.0 Multimedia

How to do it...

After filling all the information in the last screenshot, and reading all the terms and conditions, click on the I accept icon and then follow these steps:

  1. Write a password in order to sign in to your account. Then, click on Sign in, as shown in the following screenshot:

    Moodle 2.0 Multimedia

  2. When you are signed in, click on Browse | complete the Search block with the items that you need to look for, for instance National Geographic Channel wild animals.
  3. You can choose a video to upload in our channel. Click on the downwards arrow in your user's name and choose My Videos.
  4. On the left-hand margin, there appears Playlist + New. Click on + New, and complete the pop-up window that appears, as shown in the following screenshot:

  5. Click on the downwards arrow in the Add videos to playlist block. There will appear the history of videos that you have watched, therefore, if you want to add them to our playlist, click on Add, as shown in the following screenshot:

  6. The videos added are shown on the left.

How it works...

We have already created a playlist. When we want to watch the playlist of videos, they are displayed one after the other. Thus, enter your channel and click on the name of the playlist that we have just created. Click on Play all, and all the videos will be played. The videos belonging to the playlist are displayed underneath the video being broadcast in the playlist bar. The playlist bar allows the viewer to browse through videos without leaving the watch page, as shown in the following screenshot:

If you want to Turn autoplay off or Shuffle videos, click on the following icons in the playlist bar:

There's more

Embed the playlist in our Moodle course. We would like our students to watch the videos in a row. In order to design this type of resource, we have to copy the embedding code of the playlist.

Uploading a playlist in Moodle

In order to get the embedding code of the playlist, click on the name of the playlist that we have created and follow these steps:

  1. Click on Play all.
  2. Click on Options | More information about this playlist, as shown in the following screenshot:

    Moodle 2.0 Multimedia

  3. Click on Embed to get the embedding code for this playlist, as shown in the following screenshot:

    Moodle 2.0 Multimedia

  4. Copy the code and embed it into our Moodle course either as a resource or an activity. When embedded in the Moodle course (clicking on the HTML icon), there appear two arrows next to videos. Thus, the playlist looks as shown in the following screenshot:

Enhancing a video with comments

We can also enhance videos that we want our students to watch with comments. For that reason, we need to again use the channel that we have created on YouTube. We upload the video that we have edited to our account and we enhance it with comments in our account.

Getting ready

First of all, we need to choose the video to which we will add comments, and we have to think about the information that we want to add to it. Therefore, as previously mentioned, we can add comments to the video that we had edited before.

How to do it...

Follow these steps to upload a video:

  1. Click on Upload (on the top margin) | Upload a video (on the left-hand margin).
  2. Browse for the video that you want to upload and click on Open.
  3. You can publish the video as either Public or Private. Therefore, click on the ring button that you desire. Click on Save changes.
  4. Click on the downwards arrow within your user's name block and choose My Videos.
  5. All the videos that have been uploaded in the account will appear. Next to the video to which comments are to be added, click on the downwards arrow in the Insight block, as shown in the following screenshot:

  6. Click on Annotations, as shown in the previous screenshot.
  7. Within Annotations, you can choose to add them among these options: Speech bubble, Note, Title, Spotlight, or Pause, as shown in the following screenshot:

  8. You can choose when to add the annotations and the type. After inserting the annotations, click on Save | Publish, as shown in the following screenshot:

  9. You can choose the font color, font size, or background color among other options.
  10. You can also change the time period in which the annotation appears, as well as including videos, playlists, and channels among other options.

How it works...

When playing the video, we can read the annotations written in the video. They will be displayed as we have designed them. We can upload the said video to our Moodle course copying the embedding code, as shown in the following screenshot:

There are also other options available to share this video, such as e-mailing, copying the link, or even using social networks, as shown in the previous screenshot.

Summary

This article explains how to create screencasts and edit, link, and embed videos for our Moodle courses.


Further resources on this subject:

  • Moodle 2.0 FAQs [Article]

  • About the Author :


    Silvina P. Hillar

    Silvina P. Hillar is an Italian, who has been teaching English since 1993. She has always had a great interest in teaching writing and composing techniques, and has done a lot of research on this subject. She has been investigating and using mind mapping for more than ten years in order to embed it into teaching.

    She is an English teacher, a certified legal translator (English/Spanish) and has a post graduate degree in Education (in which she graduated with honors).

    Silvina has been working in several schools and institutes with native English speaking students and as an independent consultant for many international companies as an interpreter, translator, and VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) course designer.

    She has always had a passion for technological devices concerning education. Former videos and cassettes were a must in her teaching lessons, and the computer was and still is present. Her brother Gastón C. Hillar designed some programs and games for her teaching. Lately, she has been teaching using Moodle and the Web 2.0. She believes that one of the most amazing challenges in education is bridging the gap between classic education and modern technologies.

    She has been doing a lot of research on multimedia assets which enhance the teaching and learning through VLE platforms. She tries to embed the learning of students through new resources which are appealing and innovative for them. Thus, multimedia stimulates cognitive as well as creative abilities.

    Silvina has also authored three books at Packt Publishing, which are Moodle 1.9: The English Teacher’s Cookbook, Moodle 2 Multimedia Cookbook, and MindMapping with FreeMind.

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