My Voyage into Screen Capturing Software

I have to start off by saying that I love the instructional design and e-learning community! So far I’ve come across only helpful and supportive people. Most other professions lack a sense of comradery, but it’s something instructional designers have in spades. Let me try and explain what I mean.

I’m currently working on a project for the University of Maryland – go Terrapins! I’m creating an online introductory course for MATLAB by MathWorks. I’m working alone, so it’s giving me hands-on experience with the entire developmental process. One of my first decisions was which screen capturing software I would use. I needed something that could take images and video, because I knew I was going to include lots of first-hand demonstrations for the students. The problem is I didn’t know what software would be best. If you google “screen capturing software” you will quickly see that there are many options out there. I decided to turn to the instructional design community for some advice.

I posted a question entitled Advice on a Good Screen Capturing App in the E-Learning 2.0 LinkedIn group. Right away I started to hear back from people. As of now, I have received 46 comments, many of which go into great detail about particular software options. I really recommend to anyone who is currently looking for a screen capturing or recording program to check out this discussion forum. I also want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to my question. I hope I can return the favor sometime soon.

I ended up choosing Snagit and Camtasia for Mac, both by TechSmith. Snagit is a great tool for capturing high-quality images and videos from your desktop. You can capture the entire screen or just a specific section by a simple drag of the mouse. I’ve been using it for my MATLAB project, and I can tell that it’s going to be a keeper. Its design is super simple to understand and it captures great images that can then be exported to any format you wish. I’m looking forward to using it in my GWU classes, and in my classroom with my secondary school students.

I also purchased Camtasia for Mac. Snaggit allows you to record video from your desktop, but it doesn’t have all the editing options that Camtasia has. Snagit is great when you want to record a short rough video, but if you want a professional looking video that will be used in an online course or training program, you should go with Camtasia. If you are recording long videos, you should really use Camtasia because its editing options make it easier to correct any mistakes you make while filming. Both programs are available for a 30-day free trial. They also are available for purchase with a special education price, which is always nice.

I’m still interested in trying out other screen capturing programs, especially Adobe Captivate, but with a $899.00 price tag, I may have to wait a while before getting it. Please take the time to complete my poll and/or leave a comment because I would like to see what screen capturing/recording software you prefer.

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