Tag Archives: Video

Passion, Projects & Play

A colleague of mine at Boise State, Jackie Gerstein, is interviewed by Howard Rheingold about Passion, Projects & Play and Restoring Creativity in the Classroom.

Passion, Projects & Play: Restoring Creativity in the Classroom from DML Research Hub on Vimeo.

For more checkout her blog @ http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/

Video converters

I regularly meet with faculty who need to convert their videos from one format to another (e.g., they might have old wmv files that certain users can’t access). While I often start by recommending using a tool like YouTube (e.g., for its ease of use and the public / sharing nature of the tool) to convert videos into an accessible format, faculty often have a number of reasons why they don’t want to use YouTube (which perhaps the best reason is that their video is longer than 15 minutes long).

For some time I was recommending that faculty use either Handbrake or Hamster. While  both of these tools have their benefits (e.g., Handbrake offers a ton of options and Hamster has a nice user friendly interface), I found over time that Handbrake was a bit too technical for some faculty and Hamster didn’t offer enough formats in their basic menu. So I began looking at  other (ideally free or very inexpensive) options and these are some that I have come across. Please comment on your experience using any of these video converters.

Real Player Converter for Windows

AVS Video Converter

Any Video Converter

Prism Video Converter

Squared 5


Media Converter

Stop Using Windows Media Video (.wmv)

Every semester we get calls from faculty and students about issues viewing videos (almost always windows media video format) in Blackboard or eCollege (the two Learning Management Systems we use). While not always, most of the time these calls  come from Mac users.  While Mac users can use Flip4Mac or Windows Media Player for Mac OS X, for whatever reason there are times where even with these media players supposedly installed (note: these are distance students so we can’t verify easily if they installed it correctly) students can’t view the videos.

As a result, we offered a workshop yesterday about avoiding some of these problems. You can watch a recording of the workshop online: https://connect.cuonline.edu/p43536068/

A copy of the basic presentation can be viewed below. But the basic gist of our presentation was to avoid using formats like .wmv or real media and instead focus on using common formats like .flv or .mp4. We talked about the pros and cons of using “Flash Video” (.flv). We specifically went over three different tools faculty can use to convert their videos themselves, namely:

Zamzar (great for short videos; web-based)
Hamster (perhaps the easiest tool out there; but only available for a PC)
Handbrake (very robust tool)

Finally, we concluded with encouraging faculty to put all videos (but especially videos longer than 5 minutes) on a streaming sever.  We talked about the benefits of using YouTube but also highlighted that faculty could use CU Online’s Flash Server.

Do you have problems with .wmv? If so, please share how you handle it.