Using Camtasia 9: Two Perspectives
Camtasia is a video-based screen capture software. It enables you to record your screen, import your own footage, and is an excellent video editing tool, allowing you to add features and effects. Camtasia helps users produce and share eye-catching and high quality videos and screen recordings.
It has been greatly anticipated by those who are keen users of the software. With its faster rendering, enhanced capabilities and effects, and great new layout, there was much anticipation of the recent update.
Phil Gilbert, member of the teaching team for the MSc Environmental Health, MSC Professional Practice as well as the MSc Environmental Health (Distance Learning), uses it primarily with his distance learning teaching, as well as sending out help and guidance to students on a day-to-day basis.
Phil finds the sessions fun to build and the platform easy to grasp, if slightly cumbersome at times. Being able to send out any instructions when needed in a quick and engaging way ensures fuss-free delivery. The behaviours added in the update, as well as captions and panning in and out, give his videos a more professional look. The behaviours are an excellent tool to enable users to enhance an image or piece of text by animating it, allowing you enrich your video and engage your viewers.
Captioning is one factor that Phil highly recommends. When something is forgotten within a recording, adding in text, rather than starting from the beginning, is a huge time-saver for academics. A clean new layout and intuitive process of creating videos means that academics can produce engaging content in a shorter time.
Phil is also working towards producing student feedback for assignments using the screen-recording functionality. This is an idea already used by academics in other institutions, such as Henry Dawson, Lecturer in Environmental Health at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Having the ability to enhance old lectures means that academics don’t need to spend time re-doing previously created work. Phil has also recently purchased a budget green-screen to trial creating videos using this new tool, providing something different for the students to view and Camtasia 9 allows academics to create these quickly and easily.
Phil trialing the green screen feature:
We also discussed the need for the academics to appear in screen recordings. Students have fed back to Phil that they prefer these kinds of videos, which seem more expressive and engaging than just voice narration.
Quizzes within Camtasia 9 can be either be peppered throughout a session or given as a single interaction at the end. This is a tool we are both still playing with and learning about, but it has great scope to really boost a video’s engagement.
From a learning technologist’s perspective, the simple aesthetical updates feels refreshed.The dark grey background and layout which we are now greeted with is softer on the eyes and is easy to work with over long periods of time. Certain features such as how you can now detach the canvas from the main screen and (if working on two) have the canvas full screen on another is an added bonus.
Even simple changes such as being able to drag and drop captions and behaviours onto the canvas makes life a lot easier. As well as the text editor which can be done within the canvas, Camtasia 9 seems more versatile and ergonomically aware. Having the properties bar on its own to the right of the screen is also a great addition making it simpler to edit sections and add ins to the video.
As a learning technologist it is important to look at how these updates can enhance our use of the software in a teaching and learning environment. The ability to share easily to a number of outlets is also something that works well within the update. The integration with TechSmith’s FUSE app allows files to be easily created, edited and shared on different platforms as well as mobile devices. As well as this, the ability to now share across platforms with Camtasia 9 being compatible on Windows and Mac ensures ease of use for the consumer.
Camtasia 9 is a leap forward in terms of functionality and aesthetics. The simplicity of screen recording within it means that you can easily compare it to other software such as Kaltura or even narrating in PowerPoint. The screen recording tool is probably the most popular in our institution. The upside of it is that as well as being simple to use for someone screen recording for the first time, it also gives you the options to enhance your work and share it easily. Even using Camtasia 9 in the most basic way improves your skills and confidence of working with technology, and the recent updates do a lot to enhance this.
Phil Gilbert: Senior Lecturer in Environmental Health and Naomi Beckett: Junior Learning Technologist, University of the West of England
If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member