For-Profits care too :)

(Courtesy: Amanda Osbon)

A bit off the usual tack of this blog, but this is a good story. Both my parents are retired college professors and growing up I’d occasionally hear similar stories. While this blog focuses on eLearning and few direct classroom interactions, it’s anecdotes like this – caring for students and helping provide a way for people to better themselves – that makes me personally appreciate being involved in the learning community overall.

Just hours before class was scheduled to begin, a student from our Nashville campus lost her babysitter for the evening.  She contacted Peter Powell, Nashville campus director, indicating that she would either need to skip class or bring her two-year-old son to class with her.  While kids normally are not permitted during classroom instruction, Keller Professor Joel Bunkowske (pictured) and Peter decided to allow the student to bring her son to class so that she, in turn, could attend class that evening.  At one point, the boy wanted to be held by Professor Bunkowske, who proceeded to pick him up and continue with his lesson.

Continue reading For-Profits care too :)

How and Why: GreenScreen eLearning Video

When I started in video production, learning how to ‘Chroma Key’ was a high-end skill (that, and learning how to use the ‘Chyron’).  It was very cool to see the weather-person pointing to a blank screen as the control room overlay the forecast images…as well as see the imperfections when the announcer wore a color a bit too close to the bluescreen behind them and the keying came through on their clothing!

One lesson learned from those earlier days; blue was not a good color to key against as it’s a pretty common in everyone’s wardrobe …thus the move to the more uncommon, luminescent green we see today, and the now more recent event of ‘greenscreening’ becoming a verb.

Keying (or greenscreening, or color overlay, etc) is a lot easier these days, as so many things, with advances in computer power and tools. Continue reading How and Why: GreenScreen eLearning Video

Updates! Captivate 9 and Prime (Adobe LMS)

Big update news from Adobe! A long-awaited update to Captivate, now at version 9, AND a new LMS product – Captivate Prime. I new this LMS was coming but assumed it would be an extension or adaptation of Adobe Connect, so was surprised to see Captivate Prime and not Connect Prime. Looks like Adobe has put significant effort into this LMS product, building it from scratch (?) as opposed to sticking a new UI or plugin on to their mature Connect platform.

First, back to Captivate 9 itself. As with all their version updates, this new release includes some solid updates. Two of the most exciting for this old Captivate developer: Continue reading Updates! Captivate 9 and Prime (Adobe LMS)

Adobe TechCommSuite 2015 release

TCS-ProductsResponsive HTML5 output and Right-to-Left (RtL) language support! Two significant updates to the latest release of Adobe’s Technical Communication Suite. Targeted as a “publishing toolkit for technical writers, help and policy authors, and instructional designers”, Adobe’s TCS includes:

  • Acrobat Pro DC – “The complete PDF solution for working anywhere
  • Captivate 8 – “Everything you need to create eLearning courseware
  • FrameMaker 2015 – “Easily author bidirectional technical content and publish across mobile devices
  • RoboHelp 2015 – “Deliver personalized content across platforms and mobile devices
  • Presenter 10 – “Video creation was never this easy

While those versions of Captivate and Presenter have been out for a while, the updates to Framemaker and RoboHelp allow the entire TCS to finally hit a new release (release notes). Continue reading Adobe TechCommSuite 2015 release

Text-to-Speech in Captivate 8

CP8 and TTSCaptivate continues to provide one of the more robust text-to-speech (TTS) features among the various authoring products. It not only ships with multiple voices but can access the TTS options on your Windows computer as well (I’m not sure about Mac system access though).

But it’s not necessarily an easy process to setup, so in concert with eLearning Brothers, I submitted a post “Captivate 8: Working with Text-to-Speech and Voices” a couple weeks ago – though I’m just getting around to mentioning it now :) Continue reading Text-to-Speech in Captivate 8

Creative Cloud 2015 – Upgrade Cautions

CC2015-installIssues01Adobe recently released a pretty substantial update to their Creative Cloud (CC) product. Included are updates to many of the products, a return of Adobe Stock Images (though at additional cost) through a partnership with Fotolia, and a variety of bug fixes (release notes and a much-more detailed blog post on update specifics).

CC2015-stock01Update with caution! With substantial updates to the child products, when you install each update the default option is to have the previous versions *removed*. This is different than previous updates’ defaults and is a concern for a variety of reasons: Continue reading Creative Cloud 2015 – Upgrade Cautions

eLearning Resources

I have a few larger subjects to write about, but the time to do so is fleeting! eLearningArticlesCloudSo thought I’d do this quickie in the interest of spreading the news…

Education Dive is a great, free resource and daily digest summarizing a variety of articles daily. “The Education Industry in 60 seconds” they say… I like their daily email – it gives me a quick overview of a variety of news articles and related items, with links to those items for a closer read. Great resource for those in the education field.

Ed Digest is similar, but it’s not free, and does focus more more academic articles and research, as opposed to general news and articles per Education Dive. However, their summary page of monthly articles provides links to the external sites and resources they discuss, which makes for a good ‘pull’ resource.

Otherwise, personal blogs are often a great resource and fun read for the occasional downtime: Continue reading eLearning Resources

Ay NPAPI! Chrome and eLearning Support

This has apparently been in the works for over a year, but it’s just recently popped-up on my radar as a I’ve received a browser extension warnings for a few tools…

Plugin Blocked‘NPAPI’ is the ‘Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface’ architecture used for a majority of web browser plugins – such as Quicktime, Flash, etc. It was initiated by the fine folks at Abobe in order to help integrate their PDF technology (Acrobat) with the web experience. You can read more about the history of NPAPI at Wikipedia.

Google’s Chrome browser has planned dropping support for NPAPI plugins since 2013, according to that article, due to “NPAPI’s 90s-era architecture [becoming] a leading cause of hangs, crashes, security incidents, and code complexity.”NPAPI support deprecated

So more recent versions of Chrome have blocked any such plugins from running without explicit permission which, to me, was fine (in the guise of a bit more secure). But now, with Chrome v42, such plugins just won’t start at all!


Continue reading Ay NPAPI! Chrome and eLearning Support

Caffeinated Lectora News

LectoraLogoThe pace at which Trivantis strives to improve their Lectora product is like the Avengers on coffee drips. Just a few months after the 12.0.1 and 12.0.2 updates comes a significant 12.1 release. While some features are more an effort to catch-up to competitors (i.e. character libraries), others are setting new bars. With the Lectora Inspire 12.1 release, there are several notable updates… Continue reading Caffeinated Lectora News

Do we need those stinkin’ badges? Social or Pro?

BadgesOf the various strategies embodied by the latest ‘gamification’ trends, Badging may be one that holds significant, longer-term promise. That’s not to say other gamification strategies are not also worthwhile; leaderboards, game mechanics, incentives and rewards, and even virtual environments can all be effective when implemented properly.

However, a badging strategy can have a wider purpose. Continue reading Do we need those stinkin’ badges? Social or Pro?