Week 8: EdX 300x Capstone Assignment

Just click on it to play!

I married several of my previous assignments to create this e-learning. Here is how it satisfies the capstone assignment requirements:

  1. Digital document (ebook, infographic, interactive text)
  2. Original digital video (2-3 minutes in length) published online with closed captioning (non-auto generated)
  3. Your video can be a screencast or mash up (splicing together) of other Creative Commons licensed work you edited / enhanced to create an original work,
    • My video from number 2 is a screencast.
  4. Enhanced Digital Images (at least 2 images) that you have created or edited in some manner.  identify how you’ve enhanced the images,
    • I created my own avatar as a sort of trademark, the Swedish Nerd, which appears on my slides. She is a mash-up of an avatar I created at avatarmaker.com and added the helmet/hair from an image I found on oercommons.com. I mashed them using Snag-It. Here she is! SwedishNerdAvatarWithHelmet
    • In the Quick Reference to Importing References with X9 End Note document there are several screenshots which I annotated using Snag-It.
  5. Interactive (adaptive type) module
    • See the above e-learning, which has quiz questions and links to relevant resources and content embedded within it.
  6. Identify at least two Open Educational Resources to support identified content.
  7. Label your media with a Creative Commons license (student have a choice on which level of rights to allow or to retain all rights)
    • See the thumbnail of the e-learning video above, and below in this blog post.
  8. Apply your updated Digital Media Checklist created in week 1 to each of your digital media, provide the overview of findings and describe in a short statement or rationale why each digital media artefact will support content development or your lesson.
    • Please see the Digital Media Checklist for this assignment.
    • Each assignment’s blog post has a link to its checklist at the end. You can see each assignment in order in the Categories drop-down to the left of my blog.

Reflections and what I would have done differently:

  • I would have preferred to take the time to create the e-learning as a SCORM package with full accessibility, then publish it on SCORMCloud. Maybe next time!
  • I would have recorded the audio first instead of trying to fit existing video to audio done second. Combining audio and video is always tricky. This video I watched to learn how to edit audio recommended this and now I know it’s true!

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Week 7: E-Learning with Camtasia

For this week’s assignment I wanted to explore the limitations of Camtasia using PowerPoint as a basis for e-learning production. Camtasia is a very powerful tool and I’d like to fully master it before I play with other tools like Articulate or Lectora. I published it on Screencast.com so that I could take advantage of the quiz functionality. Click here or on the image to launch my short e-learning course.



My impression is that Camtasia is great for certain things but for an e-learning tool it’s still rather fiddly. I acknowledge that in order to meet accessibility guidelines, I really need to add audio and closed-captions. I didn’t have the time to fiddle with audio at the moment, perhaps in the next iteration. I found this gentleman Lon Naylor’s video very helpful in making decisions about how to produce the project.

Things I liked with this solution:

  • I can manipulate the video track easily
  • Importing the PowerPoint as a Windows Media Video meant I could keep my built-in animations.

Things I didn’t like with this solution:

  • The quiz functionality does not have the possibility for multiple correct answers to a multiple choice, which I didn’t understand until I started configuring.
  • You can only have ONE active hotspot on the page at one time. I had planned to have four at once, which wasn’t possible. To compensate for this, I had to give a hint to the learner to click through.

Please see the Digital Media Checklist for this assignment.

Unfortunately it is not technically possible to indicate within Screencast.com that the video is licensed under Creative Commons. I have added this directly within the thumbnail, so if I produce it again I’ll ensure it’s on the title page.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Week 6: Meal Planning: a Nerdy Path to Sanity for Busy Parents

vegan wrap with side salad

My family loves anything in a wrap!

My “podcast” is about getting started with Meal Planning, which I find streamlines my life a lot when I’m running from one thing to another. My first attempt had my son in it but I unfortunately had to scrap that version due to poor sound quality.

For some reason WordPress has decided it’s not safe to upload .m4a file types so I had to do this as a .wav file, which creates a much larger file. Sorry about that! I recorded this a couple of times with different types of microphones and I wasn’t able to really equalise my voice very well. I thought I spoke quite softly but there are points where my voice sort of “buzzes” and I’m not good enough with the editing tools to get rid of it.

I played around with recording in Audacity but ended up editing in Camtasia because I’m just more comfortable with it for video, and I wanted to understand what audio features are available.

Here is a transcript for the hearing impaired or those who prefer skimming:

Hey , everybody. Welcome to my first ever podcast called Meal Planning: a Nerdy Path to Sanity for Busy Parents. So I want to tell you a bit about how I got started doing it and a few steps so that you can get started . I started thinking about meal planning when I realised that one of the most stressful part of my days was standing in front of the refrigerator hoping for inspiration to come to me , and I had to decide what to cook after a long day of work , so I decided to relieve my own stress level, I would give meal planning a try. I had heard of it before and it just seemed like way too structured for me and I didn’t want to try it.

But I did get started and the first thing I did was Google…Microsoft Excel meal planning template or something like that. And then I got one that I could edit for whatever I liked.

I decided to plan for breakfasts and dinners only because lunch usually we eat outside during the week and then on the weekend it’s a bit more relaxed. Then I recommend you think about what rules you have for your family to help you put structure around your planning. Like, in our family, we love to have pizza on Friday. I try to cook vegetarian one day a week and I like to have something special for dinner on Sundays. And then I leave one day open for just sort of cleaning out leftovers and stuff like that. And so that puts a bit of shape around your plan and makes it easier for you.

Then the next step is, think about what sort of things could you make ahead and freeze and put those into your plan. Maybe once or twice a week you decide to cook double. You can Google some websites for freezer-friendly meals. This is especially good for breakfast when you’re tired and you don’t have a lot of energy. So I do things like make veggie muffins ahead, healthy quesadillas with spinach and beans, and I even make bacon or sausage ahead and I freeze it so I can just warm it up in the morning. Soups, stews, anything pasta-related . You can freeze it really nicely and have it ready to go in the fridg , defrosted to warm up when you come home from work .

Then when you start to get ready to plan , you can also ask your family what they would like to have included . My family loves anything in a wrap. So if I ask them what they want , they’ll probably want halloumi and sprouts with hummus and a wrap, chicken in a wrap or something like that . Ask your kids for ideas. We made a little game out of it at one point where I put things on little scraps of paper and my son was allowed to pick things out .

So I guess you’re ready to get your pencil out, the next step . And how much should you plan at once ? Start small and see if it’s for you . Start with one week at a time and see whether you like it. I currently do four weeks in advance because I think it’s just easier. I can sit down and do that and plan for a whole month.

You get your shopping list ready. I even went and googled the same web site where I got my meal plan template. I got a grocery shopping template…Grocery list . Then you can go for your big shop . Maybe you want to do it online.

And then you can put your beautiful plan on the fridge . It might not stop your family from asking you for what’s for dinner, but maybe sometimes you never know . I hope this was interesting for you, the steps to get started with meal planning.

Enjoy the benefits and reduced stress level!

We must evaluate our digital assets using our checklists. Please see the checklist for this entire blog post here.

Image attribution: stenholz, Pixabay

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Week 4: Storyboarding and video


Hello dear reader, I recorded this video as part of my original concept of an e-learning course for selecting a lifelong digital transcript. It is broken up into chapters for the functional requirements I set out in my selection matrix, which in my final course would come before that and would add a bit of context. I defined these in the Week 2 Assignment.

I’m sad to say that this video is a hot mess for these reasons:

  1. I recorded the demo portion in Screencast-o-matic free version so the watermark shows in the corner.
  2. I edited in Camtasia and added some transitions but…
  3. I forgot I didn’t want my own LinkedIn profile header showing so I had to blur a lot of it out.

If I had to do it again I definitely would have just created a fake account and demoed from that, using Camtasia to do the recording. Camtasia is worth the money for me if I will be creating a lot of videos. Some things I got skilled at in Camtasia whilst preparing this one:

Lesson Learned: The Speech-to-Text tool on Camtasia is very poor. Honestly it’s not worth using, even if you try to train Camtasia’s speech recognition tool. I should have taken the extra couple of minutes to split the video from the audio and uploaded the audio to Nvivo Transcribe, which I find is excellent for transcribing English. It would have been quicker in the end!

We were required to storyboard our demos. See my storyboard for the video, which I did in Microsoft Powerpoint.

We are required to evaluate our media using our checklists. Please see my evaluation here.

Week 5:EndNote X9 Special for GU Students

For the last three terms of my Master’s programme I have manually managed and proofed my APA references in papers and EdX assignments. Now that I’m working on the thesis, the number of references became too many to continue this way.  So I forced myself to learn how to use this EndNote thing. You can do it too, I promise it’s worth it.


I made this video as a tutorial for my classmates in the International Information Technology and Learning programme. It summarises the features I have found useful with the EndNote referencing tool once I got it installed and went through the basics, and contains the things I know they would want to do, like get references from our library search engine. I had to watch some videos and play around quite a bit to learn how to use it. It’s an intimidating tool to get started with but it now saves me SO MUCH TIME. As a gesture of love to my classmates and future generations of ITL@GU students, I wanted to put this together. It will form one part of my capstone assignment for the UMUC 300x course on EdX. It will be a short course for new students on getting started with EndNote.

I recorded the video using Camtasia and incorporated the closed captions feature. I also have a table of contents in the YouTube notes so viewers can go quickly to the sections they are most interested in.

If I had more time I’d like to incorporate some transitions. It would have been good to highlight my mouse whilst I was recording as well.

We are required for the UMUC 300x course to submit a storyboard of our videos, find that here.

Additionally I have critiqued my video using my Digital Media Checklist, please find that here.

Editing with Camtasia: it’s a journey

It’s “good enough for now!”

This week we had to storyboard and shoot a video. I chose to do one for my final assignment and on further reflection it was a good first attempt but I’ll have to re-do it later.

For interest, here is what I planned with the storyboard. It was a good exercise to do the storyboard because it forced me to think about what I would do and say rather than just “winging it.”

The learning objectives are:

  1. The student will evaluate, based on a demonstration of defined features, whether LinkedIn is the right tool for him or her to create a digital transcript or learning history.
  2. Based on the evaluation, the student will have enough information to proceed to the final assignment or review another tool.

I wanted to experiment with Screencast-o-matic so I recorded the video with that, you’ll see the watermark. Then I edited it in Camtasia, adding some transitions and cutting out a lot.

For my next attempt, I want to re-record using a generic LinkedIn profile (not my own) and rehearse more than once so that the video isn’t so long. Right now it is 10 minutes and I need it to be half that. Also I need to figure out how to get the starter image I have set up to be the one that appears when you see the video, not some random screen in the middle of the video.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Week 3: Alt text and manipulating images

Powerpoint screen steps to curve text

OMG did you know how to curve text using Powerpoint? NOW I do!

For this week’s assignment I created a flyer for a work event we have coming up this Friday. It’s a team-building meet-and-greet following the Swedish tradition of afternoon coffee and cake, or “fika.” We have three teams, one of which is new, who will need to collaborate closely in the future. Currently they sit in two buildings so it’s helpful if they can meet face-to-face until the facilities are renovated and they can sit together.

Here you can see my flyer: Invitation to Fika this Friday

I did so much image mashing from Pixabay, using both Snag-It and Powerpoint. First I got this picture of delicious cake and coffee but I would prefer to have whipped cream on it. I separated the white whipped cream from another picture, removed the background and pasted it in the photo, all in Snag-It. The colouring sadly doesn’t match the photo too well but maybe with Photoshop I could work on that. Also for the coffee bean background, I downloaded an image of brown coffee beans, made them grey, and blurred them in Snag-It.

For my logo, I took an icon with several images from Pixabay, cropped out the ones I wanted and changed the colour from black to dark blue. In Powerpoint, I learned how to curve text around the image! This is a life-changing skill and I was really excited! I then added a border, a text box and my Creative Commons license.

I used the Accessibility checker in Powerpoint to add alt text and control the order of when it would be read. The alt text doesn’t render when you simply mouse over it. Finally I created a PDF out of the entire thing but the alt text does not work not work unless you download it, open in Adobe Acrobat and select View-> Read Out Loud.

Please see the Digital Media Checklist for this assignment here.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Optional attributions from Pixabay:

Image by Lolame from Pixabay

Image by haidi2002 from Pixabay

Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay

Week 2: Digital Transcript Comparison Matrix

comparison matrix of digital transcripts

First version of the matrix for fully-sighted learners

This week’s assignment is to create an educational visual aid, incorporating aspects of good visual design. You can view my submission here.

I chose to refine a concept for my original signature assignment idea about lifelong digital transcripts. This would be an asset which is available for the student to download and print out once my video explains the different features of digital CVs. I used Microsoft PowerPoint to create this asset because I am comfortable with this tool and can compose documents easily with it.

The first matrix generally follows the example in the picture although I have also a set of written directions at the top. Once I evaluated it critically, I wanted to make it more obvious what the learner is meant to do without having to read the instructions, so I added the 1, 2, 3 and the arrows for the steps. I was going for clarity of what is expected from the learner and thought the red, yellow, green would be very obvious that these are “traffic light” ratings of that feature for that tool. I added texture to the traffic light ratings to make them more visually attractive.

Visual design elements: The first one leverages line, shape, colour, and texture.

Visual design principles: I believe I incorporated unity, balance, and similarity.

After completing the first matrix, I considered that colour-blind people would have difficulty distinguishing the red from the green buttons. I then added the black and white icons instead, with black equivalent to green and white equivalent to red. Is this obvious? Could I remove the instructions? PowerPoint also has an Accessibility check and it said my grey text boxes were difficult to read, so I changed them to black with white text for more contrast. The check also said I needed to add the ability to have the text boxes read out, although I’m not sure how well this would work when transferring over to pdf.

After showing this to some classmates I got feedback that they preferred the accessible version, but they didn’t understand what the circles meant. Also they didn’t find the column where you had to mark an X useful. My teacher said, “accessible design means it becomes better for everyone!” So here we have DigitalTranscriptComparisonMatrixV2.

We also have a requirement to evaluate our artifact using our digital media checklist. Please see here for my self-evaluation.

Creative Commons Licence
This matrix document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Week 1: Evaluating Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons assets


Click to watch the short introductory video to EndNote which I evaluated

This first concept of my signature assignment is inspired by the e-learning course I reviewed for the assignment (see below), as well as the work I did in the edX 200x course.

This week’s assignment was first, to develop a checklist of criteria to evaluate Open Educational Resources.  The second half was to find a suitable resource and evaluate it with the checklist, and  finally to reflect on the exercise.

I started my checklist and used inspiration from my classmates. I expect the checklist will evolve as I evaluate more assets and get feedback from them. I created it as a Google Sheet, which I can copy digitally in seconds and re-use. I don’t see a need to plan for using paper in such an exercise, when the course is about digital media. Please see my checklist template here.

My signature assignment is to design an overview on correct referencing and tools for fellow students in my Master’s programme. There is already plenty of good material out there to start with and tie together. It will be interesting to provide one video as well on how to use the referencing software EndNote in the context of our university library’s search engine. I evaluated a short video available on YouTube, “How to use EndNote in Six Minutes,” which I watched myself when I first installed the application. Please see my evaluation of the video using my checklist here.

For fun and to ensure I really have something reflecting my own brand, I also created my own Swedish Nerd Brand Avatar using Creative Commons assets, you can see what she looks like here on the home page.