Creating Multimedia Courseware For An Engineering Graphics

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Awhile ago I wanted to learn to use a new software product and decided to buy training from the. company AppDev1 AppDev sold the training as videotapes or as CDs I chose the CD. multimedia format thinking that I could run the training on my laptop computer as I traveled. To my surprise the digital format was superior to videotape The multimedia allowed me to. easily pace my education I could have the specific application software running simultaneously. and it became simple to review the multimedia content at any specific point Multimedia files. are much easier to manipulate that videotapes When you consider that most students can only. absorb so much at a time and at different rates the asynchronous nature of multimedia becomes. a very effective mode of education, Figure 1 shows a screen from the AppDev training Multimedia content is delivered in the. center which in this figure happens to be the instructor s live video The various topics are on. the left and the student navigates through topics by mouse clicking on the topic The student. controls the multimedia with various control buttons on the bottom It becomes easy to start. stop or position the training to any desired point Figure 2 is essentially the same screen except. that the multimedia is the specific application software. Figure 1 AppDev Training Screen with Live Video, Using the AppDev training caused me to think about my own courses I developed a desire to. create my own multimedia I started seeing my course content delivered as multimedia My. vision is not the on line course vision that many universities have this controversy in not the. subject of this paper but instead a blend of digital content and personal interaction that can. make the educational process much more efficient I choose to call this digital education. It was once suggested unpractical for professors to produce their own multimedia2 but our. modern computing world has changed Having a fair amount of computer savvy myself I set out. to learn how to produce multimedia files I share my knowledge in this paper not as an expert. but as an advanced beginner making his way through the initial learning curve This paper. Page 7 345 2, becomes a starting point for anyone wanting to do the same I use the Microsoft Windows. Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Exposition. Copyright 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. platform but the Macintosh platform is also a very capable platform for multimedia creation. You can view a multimedia example on my web site17. Figure 2 AppDev Training Screen with Computer Application Video. II Hardware Requirements, Virtually anyone can create multimedia with any modern personal computer Most PCs are fast. enough to capture audio and video edit the content and process movie files My computer is a. Dell Inspiron 8000 laptop that was purchased in August 2001 for under 3 500 It has a 1Ghz. Intel CPU 512MB of RAM a 48GB hard drive a NVIDIA GeForce2 Go video graphics chip a. DVD CD RW combo drive two USB ports and an ESS Technology Maestro 3i audio. controller Its operating system is Windows 2000 This computer is acceptable in most. categories of multimedia creation A more sophisticated system might be purchased if. multimedia creation becomes a full time job One shortcoming of most laptop computers. including this one is that the built in microphone does not produce quality recordings I use an. external microphone produced by Telex see Figure 3. Figure 3 Telex Microphone, To determine minimum hardware requirements one would have to review all software product.
Page 7 345 3, requirements and develop the minimum acceptable configuration I have not done this but it is. Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Exposition. Copyright 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. likely that most new desktop computers in the 1 500 to 3 000 price range should suffice As a. general rule the more RAM the better I consider 256MB as a minimum A 20GB hard drive. and 750MHz processor speed should also be considered To create your own CDs a CD R drive. is required Or a computer network could be used to distribute multimedia. My previous computer which was purchased in December 1998 and had 128MB RAM a 300. MHz processor a CD drive and a Soundblaster compatible audio chip was barely adequate. Its software operation was slow and its intermittent system crashes were frustrating I gave up. USB ports are a real convenience when trying to connect hardware products I have found that. devices connected to the USB ports appear to operate better than devices connected to serial. parallel and PCMCIA ports I am not sure if newer hardware the Windows2000 operating. system or a combination of both help avoid system crashes I just know that crashes occur much. less frequently than they used to, A video camera is needed for live video I like to add live professor video to give my. multimedia a more personal touch There are both inexpensive and expensive alternatives For. simple videos I use the Logitech Quickcam3 camera shown in Figure 4 This camera hooks to. the USB port and is simple to use,Figure 4 Logitech Quickcam. More recently our department purchased a new Sony DV camcorder This camera offers much. higher resolution and better image quality than the Quickcam camera It has the ability to record. digital video on tape or onto a memory chip The recordings can be transferred to a computer. though a firewire IEEE1394 or USB connection, A scanner is needed to digitize printed material and I prefer flatbed scanners for this purpose. Good quality scanners cost less than 100 I use a Umax A2200 scanner4. III Multimedia Software Components, Probably the most difficult problem behind producing multimedia is finding the right software.
products learning to use them and mastering digital audio and video concepts After trying. many products the ones described below are my current favorites Price and performance. Page 7 345 4, tradeoffs were considered as products were selected More capable products may exist but often. Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Exposition. Copyright 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. at a higher cost I have yet to learn all the features of these chosen products As always there. are many ways to learn to use products such as reading the documentation that came with the. product working product tutorials purchasing additional training books trial and error and. learning from others Two excellent books on video and audio concepts are Digital. Moviemaking by Scott Billups5 and Digital Audio by Russ Haines6. Video Player, Multimedia is viewed with a video player Microsoft provides a free player called Windows. Media Player7 shown in Figure 5 Another popular player is RealPlayer by RealNetworks8 Yet. another is Apple s QuickTime Player9 These different players produce different quality viewing. depending on the nature of the multimedia Much depends on how the multimedia was. produced The multimedia producer must select video and audio compression and. decompression algorithms called codecs Not all players can play the wide variety of codec. schemes In theory all players should have equal playback capability but this is not necessarily. true I prefer TechSmith s Camtasia Player10 available free One reason that I prefer the. Camtasia Player is that one is able to dynamically scroll through the video In the Windows. Media Player moving the scroll control does not dynamically change the video display You. may eventually find you own player preference, If you decide to use the Windows Media Player make sure it is the latest version and turn on all. of its play options especially MPEG This is done by turning on the. Tools Options Formats Movie Files checkbox,Figure 5 Windows Media Player. Computer Image Capture, TechSmith Corporation s SnagIt11 program is used to capture images i e snapshots or stills.
from the computer screen When you make an image using SnagIt you are actually saving a. bitmap graphic These bitmap files can be saved as they are or they can be edited by a. compatible graphics program for example the Windows Paint program can edit BMP format. bitmaps SnagIt s Image Capture works by taking a screenshot of whatever you tell it to and. Page 7 345 5, allowing you to save the file The capture area can be the entire screen a window or a region I. Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Exposition. Copyright 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. have been using SnagIt for more than four years and find it to be a very capable product Figure. 6 shows SnagIt s startup screen,Figure 6 SnagIt Captures Computer Images. Computer Video Capturing, Computer video capturing or better called screen camcorder refers to making a movie file of. computer screen activity This extremely powerful technique can show students how the. professor performs an operation SnagIt described above can capture screen activity However. I learned that another Techsmith product Camtasia Recorder produced better quality and. smoother videos than SnagIt, Camtasia Recorder is a desktop camcorder that captures screen activity and applies real time. effects Camtasia records screen activity as standard AVI files Camtasia also includes video. editing tools however I prefer to do video editing with Adobe Premier Figure 7 shows the. Camtasia Recorder program Although this product offers many advanced options using this. product is simple Set a few options press the start key combination record and press the stop. key combination When I use Camtasia I make sure to set the application screen size to exactly. 640x480 pixels which is my preferred size for the final production. Page 7 345 6,Figure 7 Camtasia Recorder, Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Exposition.
Copyright 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Several technical computer settings help Camtasia perform better Turn off graphics. acceleration by choosing Control Panel Display Settings Advanced Graphics Acceleration This. really helps with video capturing but I am not sure about the effect on other programs Within. Camtasia I like to set Cursor Effects to highlight the cursor in with a transparent yellow ball to. show a green target when the left mouse button is pressed and a red target for the right mouse. button I also set up the hotkeys to ctrl shift I and ctrl shift O so that Camtasia can be easily. turned on and off,Creating Live Video, There are times when the content must contain video from non computer applications for. example capturing the professor talking or capturing equipment performing a task For this. purpose you need a video camera Earlier I described the QuickCam and the Sony DV cameras. These cameras come with the necessary software to capture and sometimes edit video on your. computer I prefer to edit these videos with Adobe Premier One common editing task is. removing wasted frames at the beginning and end of the video. I found that my laptop s hard drive was not fast enough transferring videos from tape A 7200. rpm drive is recommended I was able to capture via the USB port but only videos that were. captured on the memory chip The camera can convert from tape to chip but this additional step. is less than perfect The memory chip is also limited to 15 seconds per clip a minor annoyance. With a slow hard drive the high speed firewire connection misses frames. Printed Pictures and Picture Editing, A flatbed scanner digitizes printed material Most scanners come with software to capture. images to the computer and many come with image editing software I use Adobe Photoshop. Limited Edition12 which came free with the scanner to clean up the image With Photoshop I. do not have to worry about capturing pictures in a precisely aligned view or size because I can. rotate and crop the picture with Photoshop,Creating Sound. A necessary component for all multimedia is sound and in particular voice Some voice will be. recorded automatically with a camera s microphone when producing live video For computer. generated video and images narration must be added Windows includes a simple utility called. Sound Recorder that can record sound However Sound Recorder offers minimal sound editing. My favorite sound utility is Cool Edit 200013 Cool Edit 2000 is a powerful yet easy to use. digital audio recorder editor and mixer Many features of Cool Edit 2000 are not needed for. producing simple multimedia Figure 8 shows the Cool Edit main screen with a sound sample. recorded The sound wave profile is shown in green,Page 7 345 7. Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Exposition. Copyright 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Figure 8 Cool Edit 2000 Showing Recorded Sound, The beauty of Cool Edit is the ability to remove unwanted audio segments These segments.
might be um s and uh s silence or noise Removing these segments makes narration more. professional and it delivers content in a more efficient shorter time To remove a segment. highlight it by dragging the mouse over the segment and hit the delete key see Figure 9 This. form of editing could be done later with Adobe Premier but I prefer to use Cool Edit for its. Creating Multimedia Courseware for an Engineering Graphics Course Richard Jerz parallel and PCMCIA ports I am not sure if newer hardware the Windows2000 operating system or a combination of both help avoid system crashes smoother videos than SnagIt Camtasia Recorder is a desktop camcorder that captures screen activity and applies

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