Friday, November 28, 2008

Online Lecture

I've been shopping around trying to find a fairly easy way to combine audio with PowerPoint slides to post lectures online. I tried some movie-editing software, but that had some problems. Then I saw that Carl Zimmer over at The Loom used a piece of software called Soundslides. I thought I'd try Soundslides with a lecture I delivered recently.

(The lecture was to help inaugurate a new organization at UCSB called SUB - Society for Undergraduate Biologists. I was asked to speak about undergraduate research. I chose to talk about "paths to undergraduate research"; my own path, the path of one undergraduate from my lab, and the path that others might take to undergraduate research.)

I concur with Carl's comments that Soundslides is mostly nice, but determining the timing for when the slides change is a bit of a hassle. The quality of the slides ends up to be very high, because it uses jpeg graphics within Macromedia Flash, I gather. Other methods make a movie, and the graphics don't come across as well, or they take much more memory. Anyway, I post the result from soundslides below, which took me a few hours to complete. There is one more program I want to try that was recommended to me, I will try to post comparisons here, in case anyone is interested. After that, I want to buy the program I like best and then get many of my lectures from my Macroevolution course online, including lectures on the basics of phylogeny reconstruction. Then I just point students to the online lectures, retire from teaching, and focus on research (wink)...


Eric Heupel said...

Oh, So how did they compare?
Any chance of getting that Macro-evolution lecture series up?

Oh, wait it's been a couple week with no posts, maybe you already got them online, have semi-retired from teaching and you're now in the Caribbean looking for new species of ostracod?

Todd Oakley said...

Eric - I haven't tried camtasia yet. I've been swamped with the end of the quarter and chairing a job search. I do plan to post the macroevolution lectures though.

Mason Posner said...

Todd - I stumbled across your blog on the "Research Blogging" site and am really enjoying it. Great content and very well written. I hope you don't mind if I draw some ideas from it for an evolution course that I am co-teaching next fall.

If you are on Mac you should check out an app called ProfCast. It also synchs voice with powerpoint slides with very little effort. They plan to release a windows version at some point, but it would be another great excuse to switch to Mac if you are on Windows. I have used it for almost three years to podcast several of my courses. You can check out one of the feeds here:

I started a sciency blog a few months ago. Let me know what you think when you get a chance.