Group Leadership Project

My group in CEP 812 has completed the Group Leadership Project on creating a lesson in Moodle. We split our presentation into three parts, the introduction, and the conclusion. Scott took the intro, I took creating the lesson, Scott took embedding media into a question page, and Becky took the question pages and the conclusion. Each of us used a screen-cast program to do our pieces, and they were to be spliced together using Windows Movie Maker (WMM). I accepted the task of splicing the videos together using WMM. This way, each of us was able to take a sizable chunk of the project, creating a project without ever meeting in person.

The basic idea being described above didn’t seem like it would be that much of an issue, but as it is said: the devil is in the details. Scott and I used Screencast-O-Matic (SOM) to create our portions. Becky used Jing. Becky did have some issues with her microphone but was able to get her audio recording. Scott ran into some issues with Teacher Tube’s videos not integrating into Moodle (or even my website for that matter) very well. We decided against using Teacher Tube videos because of this, though I hope to find a solution for Teacher Tube in the future. My difficulties didn’t come until the splicing in WMM.

Much to my delight, SOM allows you to download created presentations in AVI, MP4, or FLV formats. AVI integrates wonderfully with WMM, so I used thatfor this project. Jing, much to my dismay, only outputs in .swf flash. I am speaking of the free versions, let it be known, and the paid version of Jing does allow MPEG 4 output. Not having access to the PRO version of Jing, I had the task of converting the tricky .swf file of Becky’s presentation so that I could integrate it into the WMM project. Having converted files between formats before, I figured this would be easy, but it took many tries and the better part of an hour to find a program that could successfully convert Jing’s .swf into AVI format. Several programs, including MOYEA, Quick Time Pro, Real Player couldn’t convert the .swf into anything. Surprisingly, MOYEA actually crashed upon every conversion attempt, and I’ve used it before quite successfully. I was able to get it converted with iWisoft Flash SWF to Video Converter. Many kudos to the creators of this software!

With the video finally converted, I was able to splice all of the videos together, trim off some time, and add ending credits. The video was uploaded to MSU’s AFS space because of the size, and is linked at the bottom of this post. Because we each took many takes with our screen-casts, little trimming was needed. Even so, it is always good to have the option to take out some repetitions and dead space with WMM.

After completing this project, I would definitely not use different screen-cast programs because of the difficulties in splicing. At the least, I would make sure that the output of each screen-cast program is actually compatible with the program being used to splice the individual pieces together. As for now, unless it’s PRO, I’d rather not deal with Jing due to compatibility issues. Pre-planning was also very important in this project, and I would work to ensure that as much as possible would be completed in all aspects of a project. I am also planning to look into changing from WMM to another movie maker program that is more compatible. The main reason for this is the difficulty that I had getting the .wmv to work in Firefox. MP4 would be a more compatible format in all browsers, but luckily the .wmv can still be downloaded and played in Windows Media Player, or played in Chrome and IE. Linux has some great movie making software options including Cinerella that I might look at in the future. Compatibility is a nerd’s best friend sometimes, and I plan to find more tools that are more compatible for future projects.


Group Leadership Project If this link doesn’t play nice in your browser, right click and “Save link as” to download the video.  Firefox hasn’t been playing as nice as IE and Chrome lately. I was able to save it as a MP4 here, but the size is too small for detail.

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