cc licensed flickr photo shared by [cine]diego

While I see the value of screencasts to explain technology or web sites, I don’t do them very often– there is something about having something explained to me at someone else’s pace that scratches me a little sideways. But a reason did come up lately over at NMC for our Horizon Projects.

Since 2006, the work on these have been done in wikis- first in a Confluence one hosted at MIT, then when I came on board we did a few years in MediaWiki, and now we run several a year in our hosted Wikispaces area. A few clicks back, we had to provide wiki orientations, sometimes in webinar style, but lately, it seems most people don’t need instructions on finding the “Edit This Page” button…. yet I’ve been seeing that people are missing a few key points or missing some key resources.

With a new Horizon Project underway just this month focused on museums, I thought I’d whip up a quick tour of the wiki. I’m aware of the software out there for doing this, but I was not wanting to be editing and compressing and uploading, so I had another half flash of an idea for doing a quick screencast.

I set up a place in our Adobe Connect site- I took out all the pods, except fior a full screen layout (I made 2- one with a title screen, and the second for screen sharing. I basically ran a session with no audience- I used the recording/archiving capability of Connect, flipped open the application sharing, and did a talking clicking tour of our wiki.

This was a lazy one take deal; I had an outline (scribbled on a piece of paper), and I made some goofs like not shutting down Tweetdeck and my Gmail notifier, both which popped up messages (fortunately, no one on my twitter crowd blurt out something nasty). Also, in an attempt to show off the Google Translate widget I’ve added to our wikis, I somehow ended up with every page that loaded being translated into Czech, and I kept trying to click the Cancel button before it spun the content into another language.

In other words, it is low production value.

But this was super easy to do, kind of the equivalent of doing video with a Flip (click the red button, click the red button, click the red button) and best of all, I don’t have to upload it anywhere- it’s stored right there, and I can make it available via a link —

Of course, to do this you need access to an Adobe Acrobat account (and there’s not reason it could not be done in Elluminate). I took a peak at the free version of ConnectNow hosted at — it does not seem to include the ability to record/archive a session (though it does seem to be a more current and spiffed up interface than we get in our hosted version).

So that’s how a lazy dog does a screencast. Now where is my pillow?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by kozumel

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I am a BIG fan of screencasting….as I use them personally to show things to my mom (a newbie) while she’s 4500 miles away. So yes, the downside is that its at someone else’s pace, however the point for *most* screencasts is to help someone who is a little lost. So, its beneficial (especially if you go too fast), as they can play it over and over. If you are bored, you can usually scrub forward some to get to the point you want. My personal #1 rule I try to follow with screencasting is to make short videos that highlight one or two actions. That way, Mom (in my case) can select the action she needs to learn (relearn) and play just that one, instead of the whole 10 minute show.
    —–Thanks for sharing—–oh, and on a side note, I noticed you have Aviary add-on, don’t you just love it?

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