Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Jing Project

One of the first problems many online instructors run up against when beginning to teach web-based curriculum is how to convey processes or instructions to students and ensure that their directions are as clear as possible. It's inevitable that conveying directions by text can be cumbersome and nothing is more frustrating than spending too much time typing messages that are misunderstood in the end.

One great remedy for this problem is screencasting. Screencasting involves using a screen capture program to record events on your computer and saving them for playback by others. This process allows instructors to walkthrough a series of directions while their action and narration is automatically recorded for students to playback. These files, once recorded, can be stored in online classes for download or uploaded to various screencasting sites for streaming playback.

By far, one of the simplest and most user-friendly screen capture tools currently available is the Jing Project. This project was created by TechSmith, a company responsible for other screencasting technologies, most notably Camtasia. Using the Jing Project, an instructor can download a small program that runs on their computer in the form of a small, floating sun that resides on their desktop in a very unobtrusive manner, allowing easy access at any time to create a screen capture. In just a few clicks, a user can create, save and publish a screencast for student use.

In addition to easy creation, the Jing Project also provides users with free space on where screencasts can be stored and streamed to viewers in a lightweight, flash-based form that simplifies the process of getting a screen capture from your screen to theirs. Additional features include the ability to create still or video screencasts and to record audio along with video. In the case of still captures, users can edit the images to include markers and notes for easy instruction.

For more information, check out the Jing Project's website, Frequently Asked Questions, and blog.

Posted at 12:29PM Mar 26, 2008 by bdigman in "Tools of the Trade"

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