If you’re involved in formal education at a tertiary level, no doubt you know what a course outline is. You might have a different name for it so I’ll describe it a bit more… its probably a stock standard, dry as 1 month old sheep shit, 1 or 2 page text document full of incomprehensible statement to do with what the course is about, what the objective are and what a participant can expect in terms of learning outcomes. Its usually one of the first handouts issued at the start of a course, and can even be a legally binding document!

I’ve started working with our course in Avalanche Safety. Its a small course with one person holding the fort in the off season. We have met twice to discuss ideas for enhancing the flexible learning options, and the quality of the media used in the course. So far we have looked at Youtube, Flickr, Wikis and SecondLife. (Can you believe that it is conceivable to set up an avalanche simulation in SecondLife!).

Anyway, I was sent a slide presentation that is used to both promote and introduce the course. We wanted to add some tunes to it and make it over all more compelling. The original slides had some really nice pictures in it, so it helped having a lecturer with a sense of media aesthetics already!

My objective was to create new slides with slightly more enhanced graphical freedom, and to create a video from them with some cool audio and load it to youtube.

What l I did (time is always the issue) was:

Pull the photos into separate layers of a single 640×480 image file in my image editor (GIMP).

I added text to different layers again based on the text in the original slide presentation, and permanent graphics like a logo and frame on the top layers.

Then I exported images based on what layers were switched on or not, naming them 001, 002, 003 etc – resulting in 31 slides in sequential order based on their file names.

The next step was to import all the images into a free video editor (in my sad case that happened to be Windows Movie Maker).

Thanks to the file naming, I was able to select all the images and drag them onto the editor’s timeline having them stack up in order.

The next step was to find some reusable music, so I popped over to CCMixter and found a track by one of my favorite musicians there who happens to license CC-By from time to time.

I imported the MP3 to the movie editor’s audio time line then just adjusted the images to fit the beats and rhythms, adding fade effects as I went.

Exported the movie in the crappy Windows format, but uploading it to Youtube makes it viewable in the free world.

The result of this simple exercise follows, but what I really want to point out is the potential for it being a course outline that, when handed to me as one of the first things in the course, would help me to say “yeah! I want in on the course! I’ll give it a shot! It looks interesting..”