Webcasting a Lecture

10 Feb 2010

I teach an introductory statistics course in the School of Foreign Service.   Because some of the material is lecture based, I decided to produce a webcast of my lecture.  While certainly not equivalent to holding class in person, it was the next best option given the circumstances.  I downloaded a free trial of Camtasia software, which allowed me to add audio to a PowerPoint presentation and then save it as a Flash video.  The video was then uploaded to a website through Screencast.com, which provided me with a link that I could share with students.  (The presentation can be accessed at: http://www.screencast.com/t/NjBmMDdiM2).   The product is fairly basic, low tech, and was easy to do.

In general, I was surprised at the amount of options on the web.  For example, there is a service called Webex that is basically a video conference call service, which would allow a seminar to have a live video conference using webcams.

Although what I put together was very much a stop gap measure, I think we should really learn more about these technologies for the future.  In addition to responding to arctic-like blizzards, this technology could help if an instructor is sick, called to jury duty, out of town, or if a number of students are out of town (e.g. Wednesday before Thanksgiving).