Digital Multimedia Tools

You don’t need expensive software to produce engaging course content for use inside and outside your classroom. Check out the following options -- many are free and work inside your web browser and with Canvas (no downloading necessary!) -- to enhance the quality and effectiveness of your presentations.  We've found the majority of people we work with have a positive experience with the particular tools we are recommending below. However, there are many other software tools available on the market, all with unique features, so we encourage you to explore further if one of the recommended options does not meet your needs. 

Before you consider creating course videos and screencasts, take a look at some of our recommendations, examples and tutorials to help you streamline your content and avoid setbacks during production.  

Screencasting

  • Screencast-o-matic (PC and Mac, Free with full featured version for $15)
  • QuickTime Player (PC and Mac, Free)
  • Screenflow (Mac only)
  • Camtasia (PC and Mac, $$) -  It costs around $99 but you may want to check with your department or the Campus Computer Store to see if any discounts are available for you. 

Video editing

  • iMovie (Mac, Free or $$) - Check with your department or the campus computer store to see if you can obtain a copy of iMovie. Some older Macs even come with it preinstalled. If not, you should be able to procure a copy for a small fee. iMovie is a full-featured video editing software that is fairly intuitive to use. Import and trim your course content and add subtitles and special effects. 
  • Windows Movie Maker (PC, Free) - With features similar to iMovie, Windows Movie Maker is a quick and easy option for the PC user. Most Windows systems come with it preinstalled. You can also check with the campus computer store or your department to see if they can install it for you if you don't have it. 
  • Adobe Premiere Pro (PC and Mac, $$) - Part of the Adobe Creative suite (CS6), Adobe Premiere Pro is a full-featured video editor for intermediate-advanced tech users that also integrates with other Adobe products. There's a bit more of a learning curve with Adobe Premiere so while we recommend it, we suggest that if you're a first time user that you give yourself enough time to familiarize yourself with all of its extensive features. 

iTunesU

iTunesU - is a free content repository, content management, and distribution service provided by Apple that allows faculty to build and distribute online course content (audio, video, and documents) using the Apple iTunes store, and primarily targets Apple mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads.
Learn more about developing courses with iTunesU
 

Photo Editing

  • Pixlr (Free) - This browser-based editor is easy to use and quite robust. Many people think Photoshop is the only option they have to showcase professional looking photos but this is in fact not the case. An editor like Pixlr (and there are many similar ones available for free) allow you to do the basics - crop, retouch and add text to your photos but there's much more! With tools similar to Photoshop ie. the magic wand, the clone stamp and a number of filters, along with mobile support, you may find that Pixlr will meet the majority of your photo editing needs. 
  • Photoshop (PC and Mac, $$) - CS6 is available at the Campus Computer Store (or you can go the Adobe Cloud Education membership route) and download Photoshop for your Mac or PC if what you require is a robust photo-editing software with new workflow capabilities and very advanced tools. Photoshop's capabilities are almost endless - even experienced techies may find they only use a fraction of Photoshop's capabilities. 

Combination Tools

To create collage-like experiences that combine different kinds of video/screencasts with other multimedia like audio, photography and other attachments, check out the following browser-based and free content authoring tools:
 
  • VoiceThread (Free & paid versions) - VoiceThread is a flash-based tool that allows you to use multimedia creatively. You can use over 50 different file types and create immersive experiences with your course content. Additional features in VoiceThread include the ability to collaborate with other content creators, commenting, sharing and analytics on user use. VoiceThread is available on mobile devices as an app for your convenience and one of its major strengths is how it integrates with many Learning Management Systems, including Canvas. Voicethread provides some support for educators as well, most notably a series of webinars that showcase strategies for using VoiceThread to enhance instruction inside the classroom. Check out the example webinar below. VoiceThread is mostly free, but some features require licensing. 

Lecture slides/Presentation Tools

Powerpoint and Keynote are solid starting points for creating slideshow presentations, but beware...to create engaging content in any tool, you'll want to avoid some of the pitfalls that can weaken your presentation. We discuss some overall strategies for presentations in our best practices page. Other presentation options include the following tools:

  • Prezi (free and paid versions) is an interactive presentation tool that allows you to create presentations similar to Powerpoint but without restricting you to linear visual paths. It has a free version with templates you can use to get started. To access more features and templates, you can pay a fee of $5 to $14 a month depending on your upgrade needs. 
  • Doceri (Mac, iPad, $$)- Doceri is an iPad application (with a desktop version) that allows you to create hand-drawn lessons, presentations and graphics and either share them as still images, PDFs, or audio/video screencasts, or mirror anything you’ve created to Apple TV via AirPlay.  With built-in remote desktop control you can access and annotate on top of files resident on your Windows PC or Mac and present them to your classroom or audience when a projector is connected.  
  • One Note (iPad $, PC, $$) - One Note is a Microsoft Office product that runs on tablet and notebook computers and allows annotation on top of any Microsoft file.  Imagine presenting a problem via PowerPoint and having the ability to work that problem directly on the slide.  One Note also allows you to save your annotation as part of the file for later viewing.
  • LectureTools/Echo360 (Mac, PC, $$)  - LectureTools supports interactive in-class learning opportunities where both instructors and students can annotate presentation slides, flag content for review, pose questions, and take notes. This also facilitates follow-up opportunities for both instructors and students to engage content outside of class. The pricing structure varies so visit this guide for more info or to get a quote. LectureTools is part of the Echo360 lecture capture system and your department may already have a license for you so be sure to check there first. 

Sharing/posting online

  • Scribd & Slideshare - Making documents and presentations available on the web quickly and easily is possible with these tools.  Both are free options and Scribd is already integrated with the Canvas LMS. Both allow you to embed your documents and presentations into a webpage or LMS and allow students to view your uploads in their own  viewer so instead of having to download the documents and open then in Word or Powerpoint, you can scroll through them right on the screen where you have embedded them. 
  • Box - Filesharing without a physical drive has never been easier. Box is cloud-based, mobile friendly services we recommend. Box.com offers 5gb free to start and offers upgrade plans as well. Box has a great mobile app that makes it easy to share files and folders on the go and even integrate with certain learning management systems, like Canvas. 

Need help?

Contact us to request a consultation if you are interested in creating and using digital video and audio for teaching and learning.