Interactive documents: using audio + visual together

After producing an audio file/”podcast” on how to read a type of university policy document called an “RRSDA” or records retention schedule, I distributed the audio to various folks and asked for feedback.

One frequent piece of feedback was that, for new users, it was simply too difficult to follow along without looking at a sample document. The audio alone was fine for people who have already seen policy documents of this type, but new folks needed to SEE and HEAR in order to figure out what I was talking about.

This led me to ThingLink, an educational tool that allows you to embed sound, video, and links into a static document to construct an interactive experience for the user. The result is below.

If this document is not interactive (i.e., nothing pops up as you mouse over the doc), access it instead on ThingLink.

CJSF and sound

EdMedia has begun producing, and helping faculty produce more educational audio resources than ever before. While we offer occasional audio workshops, and have guided budding sound producers one on one as part of the Edmedia program, there are a couple other sources of sound expertise on campus that we think are valuable to check out. First our local radio station CJSF offers Audacity and Sound recording workshops for its “A&E” volunteers.  These are not regularly scheduled so you should sign up to their maillist to get the latest updates!


You may also check out their resources wiki for a bunch of CJSF related stuff including Audacity info and this gem on “Writing for Radio“, with many useful tips.


Finally the folks at CJSF are active listeners and have organized a “listening pod” (similar to a  book club) called “Pod Club – A Storytelling Podcast Discussion Group” which meets once a month to discuss…

If you’re a radio/media nerd and love listening to storytelling podcasts like This American Life, Radiolab, Love + Radio, Strangers, The Heart, 99% Invisible or any other sound stories come join the club!

The next meeting is coming up July 28th! and I’m very interested in checking this out!


In the future the edmedia team is hoping to create more opportunities for SFU faculty to explore sound, including something akin to a Soundcamp as fashioned by colleagues at TRU. More news as it unfolds!


Experiential Learning recorded audio series

Above is the playlist – uploaded from Soundcloud

Here’s a TLC/Edmedia solution to a content creation problem.

Originally video recorded, this roundtable discussion on Experiential Learning was intended to be edited into a series of short video pieces. But the original scope and request – to only mic the guest speakers during their 10-15 minute introduction, along with the relatively stationary “talking head” frame of the video exposed the limitations in effectiveness and appeal. So instead of creating video content, we explored audio. By creating a “listen” only asset, audiences are not distracted by an image, and are free to become more immersed in the content. They are also more likely to be forgiving when the audio quality drops in the second half of the segment. (this occurred when the individual lapel mic was turned off and general group discussion was recorded using room mics.)

So while there may be some “quality” compromises in the final asset creation, being willing and able to be flexible and adapt to the content realities allowed for a useful, shareable and valuable audio asset.

Finding Audio Tools – [T.e.l.l. January]

A sequence of slides accompanied by instructor audio is one of the easiest multimedia enhancements to an online course. But how do you get this media online in a form that best supports learning. Keith Webster and Hayley Hewson from Technology Integrated Learning at the University of Victoria will share the results of their recent evaluation of various solutions to this problem.

Finding the Best Tool for Creating Slides with Audio

[T.e.l.l. January] Finding the Best Tool for Creating Slides with Audio from BCcampus on Vimeo.

Amplify Your Teaching PT I: Listening (turn it to 11)

Amplify set up at the Edmedia Expo Nov
Amplify set up at the Edmedia Expo Nov

Purpose of this activity: To listen to different examples of audio used in an educational context.

Using recorded audio in the classroom is old as recorded audio itself. Educational uses of audio were predicted to be amongst the primary uses of the phonograph intended by Edison in 1878, yet with recent improvements in mobile computing, sound is being increasingly deployed in an educational context.

Some reasons you might consider offering audio recordings to your students:

  • Be part of the “Revolution in podcasting”
  • Enables students to review material and free up class time for discussion.
  • Allow students to produce meaningful
  • Provides students with a study aid they can review after lecture;


Activity: Take some time, and listen to a selection of curated audio segments.

Deanna Reder

Reder_Deanna-25fin_websizeDeanna wanted to use her opportunity in the EMP program to expand her toolkit, and become more versed in the creation of educational media. Specifically, she wanted to draw on First Nations oral traditions and use audio merged together with her custom powerpoint deck to create a learning artifact with some real impact. Although powerpoint was familiar to her, creating this artifact required a deeper understanding of the tool, and some extensive research to gather the images she wanted to use.  In her words…

While I began by collecting images to use in a powerpoint, Adam and Jason showed me that I could use Moviemaker and therefore include a downloaded version of Thomas King’s voice! While I am a novice at this sort of thing, and wouldn’t know that by clicking on the title or even the slide to the left will begin the movie, you might already notice the cues that let you see what we’ve done.


She has posted the finished work on her blog, but we have also copied it to the link below.




How To: Using the Q2 HD Audio/Video Recorder

As part of the SFU Teaching and Learning Centre’s commitment to supporting faculty in the creation of Educational Media we have a few items available for loan. Through contact with the EdMedia Team, content creators (you!) can borrow certain pieces of equipment and get started, making media. This document will help outline how to use the Q2 ZOOM HD Audio/Video recorder we now have available.

How to_Q2

When to use the Q2?

The size and high quality recording ability of the Q2 Zoom recorder make it ideal for small, intimate, recording environments.

1) Interviews: Whether using both the Audio and Video functions of the Q2, recording an interview is managed perfectly with this device. Small, portable and with a high quality microphone, the Q2 allows you to get up close while also being unobtrusive.

2) Out in the Field: Perfect for those long walks out in the field, the portability of the
Q2 once again lends itself to being a highly suitable recording device to record research material, whether its a bird call, animal movements, or even capturing irrefutable HD evidence of that elusive “manimal.”



How to Screen Capture with Audio from your Computer.


Recording a video that is playing on your computer can be tricky, especially if you want the sound from the video to be recorded. Suppose you have a video you have made and want to play the video and also talk over it, to provide more information or context. By default you can’t do this.  Below are a couple of quick and relatively painless solutions to help you do this.

1)   Camtasia

Camtasia for both mac and PC has educational pricing, see website for specifics. Generally, this program is quite easy to use and allows you to:

  • Record your screen to capture PowerPoint slides, software demos, webpages, and more
  • Edit your screen recordings and camera video by cutting, splicing, and combining clips with the powerful, yet easy to use, video editor
  • Import camera video, music, photos, and more to truly enhance your screen recordings
  • Customize your screen recordings and videos with ready-to-use media themes, animated backgrounds, graphics, callouts, and more
  • Create interactive videos with clickable links, table of contents, search, and more
  • Easily share videos that your viewers can watch anywhere, on nearly any device —Camtasia website

Recommended. Rating 7-8/10

2)    Quicktime Pro + Soundflower (MAC only)

Quicktime Pro is available for approx. $35 from Among many of its features it allows for you to make audio, video and screen recordings. However, if you want record the audio of a movie playing on the computer instead of recording your voice for example, you will need to also download Soundflower.

  • Once you have installed Soundflower, you will need to go into SYSTEM PREFERENCES and change your audio input to Soundflower. This will redirect your system audio to play and be recorded.  Without this, the audio you hear on the computer will not be recordable, only the video.