Tuesday, January 22, 2013

YouTube Record Webcam

My favorite tool to share with faculty creating online courses is the YouTube Record Webcam feature. Webcam videos or "talking heads" can be nice for an introduction to a module, an introduction of yourself, telling stories related to the content, course updates for the News area, assignment instructions, or anything else in which it is helpful to see the instructor. It is not necessary to record yourself lecturing about the content for an online class, but it is nice to have a few videos of yourself here and there to add your personality and show your excitement for the content.

The benefit of this option is that you can record directly to YouTube rather than recording a webcam video and saving it to your computer, then uploading it to YouTube. Basically, this is the easiest way to record a webcam video. Even if you use no other technologies to create content for your online course, I recommend considering this one.

1. To get started, to go the address http://www.youtube.com/my_webcam. (The space in between "my" and "webcam" is an underscore - one of these things: _  Of course you can just click on the blue link! You may want to bookmark it.

2. Login to YouTube if necessary. Since YouTube is owned by Google, a Google account will work (gmail, Google Docs, etc).
  • Important note: you will need to create a YouTube username the first time you upload a video. When I help people get set up with YouTube, we first go to YouTube directly (youtube.com), login, and then click Upload. It then will prompt you to create a YouTube username and you can continue. 
  • This also applies if you are sharing a video created on an iPad or if you are uploading directly from a program like Camtasia that has an option to publish directly to YouTube. It's kind of tricky. If you are unable to upload and are new to YouTube, it is likely that this is your problem. 
  • Tip: If you see an email address on the top right corner, that is a sign you probably need to create a YouTube username. 
3. Anyway, when you are logged in to YouTube, you will see something like the image below, except with you in it instead of me! Consider your background - mine is kind of busy.

4. Click the red Start Recording button at the bottom of the screen when you're ready. To ensure you are recording audio, you will see green lines moving on the right side of the screen. Always look for the green lines to be moving! It's really frustrating to record a whole video without any audio.

5. When you're done, you will click in the same area to stop recording. If you do not like what you just recorded, you can click there again to start over. 

6. When you are satisfied, you can click Upload, which will be a blue button to the right of the Start Recording button. 

7. YouTube will then bring you to a screen where you can change the title of your video (by default it will say something like "webcam video" and the date). You can also adjust your settings. 
  • You can set the video privacy to "Unlisted" which means that only people with the link can find the video - it won't come up as a suggestion or in searches. 
  • I don't recommend using "Private" because you'd have to email the link to everyone in the class. It is likely there would be problems accessing it. Private is an ok option if you are just sharing a video with 1 or 2 people. 
  • Then, of course, Public means that anyone can access it and it may come up in searches and suggestions. I set my videos to Public when I think they are something that the world at large may find helpful. I figure that since I get a lot of free help from YouTube, I might as well give back when I can. 

Of course, you need a webcam to do this. Recent laptops will have one built in. If you are UWEC faculty and you need a webcam, you can get one from CETL. You may also want to use a microphone if your audio from the built in microphone on a laptop is not satisfactory. CETL has both headset mics and table mics. I recommend a table mic so you don't look like a dork with a headset on in your videos :) 

Do you have an iPad? 

If you have an iPad, it's even easier! Just go to the Camera app, toggle it to Camcorder to record video, and record away. The iPad does an excellent job of recording video and audio. Then when you're done, click the Share button and you should be able to send it right to YouTube. 

However, you will need to have created a YouTube username before doing this. (We recently learned that the hard way - if it won't let you upload to YouTube, follow the instructions in the bullets under #2 above). 

Then what do I do with the video? 

It's ideal if you embed the video into D2L so that the students can view it right there rather than clicking on a link to go to YouTube. Going to YouTube is not a horrible option, but it is really professional to be able to play the video right in D2L. It is also nice to avoid all the distractions on YouTube by not even going there. I don't know about you, but I'm always logged into Google on my computer and YouTube tries to tempt me with videos it thinks I will like (often successfully). 

I recommend using the "Insert Stuff" function in D2L to embed the video. Here is a blog post showing how to do this. 

I'm happy to help UWEC faculty with this. If you're new to YouTube, it can be kind of a pain the first time, but then it's much easier when everything is set up. 

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