How to use wiki technology as a free learner

This learning project is for participants who create learning resources about how to use wiki technology as a tool to support communities of online learners. The goal is to learn about wiki and other computer technologies by creating digital media files that illustrate strategies for online learning that fit well with the Wikiversity "learn by doing" model for online learning.

Collaborative video creation

  • Experimental attempt to create learning resources that combine conventional screencasting and 3D animation. The basic idea is to create tutorials about using wiki and other computer technology. The basic structure of these tutorials will be the screencast format in which images of webpages are used to provide "walk throughs" of how to use computer software. The screencast format will include elements of video podcasts.

A basic goal is to replace two conventional elements of screencasts with elements of 3D animation.

  1. the cursor - rather than just using an arrow to point at items shown on the screen image, use an animated character
  2. disembodied voice - rather than just use a disembodied voice to narrate the screencast, use an animated character that is physically interacting with the web page content.

Editing tutorial

Figure 1. A short animation showing combined screen images and 3D animation. Shown here is an animated gif. View the complete animation video with sound in OGG file format. Help with ogg format video play. (dowload OGG format video file).

The editing tutorial video used at Wikiversity:Introduction has been in need of an update. The old video uses the old style edit tab that just says "edit", but Wikiversity switched to "edit this page". Also, the old version was done in the Wikiversity Reports format which is only a distraction for a simple tutorial on a wiki page.

Figure 1 shows a quick "proof of concept" for placing a 3D animated human figure on a wiki page. The idea was to "pop" a human figure out of the image on the main page and then animate that human figure to draw attention to a link on the main page. The 3D character is acting like a fancy mouse cursor. Figure 1 (to the right) is an animated gif that indicates what the 3D human figure looks like. The ogg format video makes use of narration from the original tutorial and should probably be modified so as to allow the 3D character to appear to say things during the tutorial.

Figure 2. Example of a 3D character ready for "bluescreen" layering on a screencast. View the DAZ Studio-generated animation video in OGG file format (no sound for this clip). Help with ogg format video play. (dowload OGG format video file).

An important change from the original editing tutorial's screencast was to set the minimum font size for the browser to 18 points. One goal is to see if useful Wikiversity tutorials can be uploaded to YouTube which has a 320 x 240 pixel video format. The Original editing tutorial was done at 640 x 480 and has smaller font sizes.

A "bluescreen" technique was used to layer the animated 3D figure onto the screencast video (see Figure 2 for an example). The approach used to create a human figure for "bluescreen" overlay of a webpage was to create a DAZ Studio "primitive", a flat plane, and assign to that plane a saved image file of the wiki page to be shown behind the human figure. In the DAZ Studio scene, the human figure was placed between that plane and the position of the camera. This image of the webpage was used as a guide for the 3D character animation so that the character would correctly point to features of the page being described in the narration of the tutorial. If you look closely at the ogg format video for the "bluescreen" example, you can see some green tint on the human figure, particularly the hands. Green was used for this example rather than blue because of the blue clothing for the human figure. This example was made using the "eZeScreen plugin for iMovie.

The new "3D" version of the editing tutorial movie has been uploaded to YouTube (see). The version at YouTube is not too bad for 320 x 240 video of a webpage. Almost all of the webpage text shown in the video is readable; the "inset" "edit this page" button that is inside an image of the webpage is not really readable at 320 x 240. It looks good in the 640 x 480 OGG video format version (9.2 MB, 1 minute 17 seconds).

A modified version needs to be made for use at Wikiversity:Introduction. All mentions of "visit Wikiversity" need to be changed for use of the tutorial inside Wikiversity.


See also