This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Week 1: Build Your Own Help Desk

While the focus of this course is about fostering deeper learning using multimedia, there will certainly be technical questions. There is a great variety of multimedia tools across different platforms, and no one can possibly know the nuances of them all.

This is where a network of peers comes into play. Collectively the group has more knowledge than any individual. Post your technical questions here and contribute answers where you can. Use the comment button to post questions and responses.

Keeping technical questions here will keep other parts of the course focused on the our real objectives.

Help resources

Audacity quick start guide (audio editing)

Windows Movie Maker quick start guide (movie editing)

Mind mapping software comparison (feel free to update)

Wikipedia listing of mind mapping software

Task Discussion

  • karen   Nov. 2, 2011, 11:46 a.m.

    Question for your Mac experts -- when I'm gathering open-licensed images for use by others, I like to record the credit, license, and URL in the properties of the image. (See "instructions for putting credits in each file" here.)

    I do this on Windows and have heard that there is not a way to do this on a Mac. Is that correct? Any tips? Also, I'm curious if my credits even show up on a Mac.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Steve O'Connor   Oct. 21, 2011, 6:06 p.m.

    As I try to create better and more efffective multimedia, I find that I need to my own create graphics. I am not an artist, so I am always looking for tools that help me "build" graphics.  

    One tool that has been helpful is concept or mind mapping software. They are among the easiest way to create explanatory graphics (see Communication Roles of Graphics). There are many choices and I have experimented with several. 

    Here are some open source options that I am familiar with. They are all cross platform.

    Of course there are commercial programs. Here are some Windows/Mac software (Unless otherwise noted) I have worked with:

    Here's a larger list of options.

    I also have found diagramming software useful. As a Mac user, I use Omnigraffle. Windows has Visio. Dia is an open source cross platform option.

    Spreadsheet software can also be a powerful tool for creating graphics. Presentation software also have onboard graphics tools that should be fully explored and exploited. This is where the PPT 2010 holds the advantage over Keynote.

    If you opt for commercial software, be sure to look into academic discounts!

    Does anyone have any other tools to "build" graphics? 

  • Bryan   Oct. 21, 2011, 6:25 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Steve O'Connor   Oct. 21, 2011, 6:06 p.m.


    I have been using Xmind for years, and absolutely love it.

    Sometimes I will break out the sticky notes and go old school. By placing notes on the wall it makes it easy to re-arrange, and when I get a decent starting point I will move into Xmind.

    Another great piece of software that is free is Springpad. In fact I am writing a review that will go live on Thursday on my FYP page.

    Just my two cents ...


  • Steve O'Connor   Oct. 21, 2011, 6:38 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Bryan   Oct. 21, 2011, 6:25 p.m.

    I was approaching mind mapping software as a means of quickly and easily creating effective graphics for learning, but you point to its more important fuction overall. Needless to say, such software plays an important role in my work.

    I look forward to your review. 

  • karen   Oct. 23, 2011, 6:39 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Steve O'Connor   Oct. 21, 2011, 6:06 p.m.

    I've used Inkscape. It's open source and on Win and Mac.

    One small useful thing is does is easily resize SVG files. It's also a full drawing program for those so inclined.

  • Patricia Mosset   Oct. 20, 2011, 11:51 a.m.


    I'm glad to hear you have some knowledge of Camtasia.  This is a product that I have on my desktop but I don't use it because of my limited knowledge.  It sounds like this would be a good time to try it out and learn a few things.



  • Steve O'Connor   Oct. 20, 2011, 12:17 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Patricia Mosset   Oct. 20, 2011, 11:51 a.m.

    Screen recording software such as Camtasia combined with a tablet input device and a microphone makes an easy yet powerful way to make quick multimedia tutorials. You can do a lot with it without delving into the more advanced features.



  • karen   Oct. 21, 2011, 11:47 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Steve O'Connor   Oct. 20, 2011, 12:17 p.m.

    Here's a really simple, not very good example of what you can do with screencasting. (Maybe you all want to critique this for our project work. Ugh. :) This can be done with free software like Camstudio.

    I've seen great stuff with having kids make these kinds of movies too.

  • Steve O'Connor   Oct. 21, 2011, 5:24 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 21, 2011, 11:47 a.m.

    Here's an example of one of the ways I use screencasting. When the kids in class have a hard time with a lesson sometimes I make a quick screencast. I open a graphics program, get out a drawing tablet and put on the headset.

  • karen   Oct. 15, 2011, 5:15 p.m.

    I use a lot of different tools and am not sure I'm am "expert" at any of them but can get around in many. :)

    The tools I am strongest in are:

    Graphics - Adobe Photoshop, GIMP (open source)

    Movie making - Windows Movie Maker, Premiere Elements

    Audio - Audacity

    Presentation - PowerPoint, wikis and blogs of all types (Not sure if htis is "presentation," but I also do a lot with online course development in Moodle, Blackboard, and of course, P2PU).

    Screencasting - Camstudio (open sources), Camtasia Studio

    Media sharing - Flickr, Vimeo, Slideshare, among others

    I'm happy to help anyone with anything I can, so ask away!

  • Steve O'Connor   Oct. 15, 2011, 3:26 p.m.

    I thought I'd get the ball rolling by sharing my areas of technical experience in multimedia. My most frequent use of multimedia is slideware. I work on the Macintosh platform using Keynote. Beyond using Keynote for live presentations in the classroom, I have also used it to export  "click to advance" QuickTime videos for presentation over the Internet. I have just recently added audio narrative using Audio Hijack Pro to record my voice. I have created several screencasts using ScreenFlow and am exploring Camtasia for the Mac. I often use screencaptures for graphics in multimedia, first using Snapz, but I have since shifted to Voila. I also create graphics using OmniGraffle and Novamind.

  • Bryan   Oct. 15, 2011, 7:10 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Steve O'Connor   Oct. 15, 2011, 3:26 p.m.

    Hi Gang!

    My workflow varies based on the client and the quality. 

    If someone is looking for a quick screencast, I will record directly into Screenflow or Camtasia via a USB headset. I use Audacity to fine tune the audio if needed and Keynote for any slides I may need. Most of my work is "screen capture," so I rarely use slides.

    If it is a client who is paying for a quality session, I will script the entire cast, and record the voiceover separately using Logic Studio Pro and a high end condensor microphone in a sound treated vocal booth.

    When the voiceover is done, I will throw it on my iPod and capture the video using either Screenflow or Camtasia while the audio track is playing. When the video is complete, I will sync the two pieces together and do some further post processing using Screenflow and Logic Studio.

    I used to do everything on the Mac, however, I still own a non-Intel machine, which limits me to old software. Until I can justify spending a few thousand dollars on a new setup, it was cheaper to purchase a PC with three times the speed at half the price.

    Thanks for the space!


  • Steve O'Connor   Oct. 15, 2011, 7:53 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Bryan   Oct. 15, 2011, 7:10 p.m.


    I know your expertise will be incredibly important to educators. Workflow is the key to producing multimedia. Streamlining the process gives teachers more time to focus on pedagogy. I'll bet most participants use Windows, so I hope you can help out with the questions!


  • Bryan   Oct. 15, 2011, 8:14 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Steve O'Connor   Oct. 15, 2011, 7:53 p.m.

    I'll do my best!