Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Formula for Creating Useful Workshop Materials

I lead a lot of virtual and in-person workshops throughout the course of the year. For each of those workshops I create webpages that contain an outline, handouts in the form of PDFs, and video tutorials. I do this because I've learned over the years that even when people are 100% engaged in the workshop, there are still things that they might miss and or want to have reiterated after the workshop is over. Some people prefer tutorials that are text and image based while others prefer a video in which they can see and hear each step in action.  I make all of the tutorial materials for a workshop available on a webpage that I create for the topic.

My tools for creating and sharing workshop materials:
  1. WordPress: I now use WordPress for all of my online work except this blog and a classroom blog that runs on Blogger. I self-host WordPress through Media Temple. Doing that gives me the ultimate in design flexibility (not that I'm a designer by any means) and control including hiding and password-protecting pages. In the past I've used Google Sites and Wikispaces for workshop webpages. Those are both good choices too.

  2. Skitch: I use Skitch to create screenshots. With Skitch I can draw and type on screenshots. I've also used Jing for the same purpose in the past. 

  3. This is my preferred tool for creating screencast videos. I use the pro version which costs $15. The pro version runs on my desktop instead of in my web browser. The free version is also good and is more than adequate for most situations. When making screencasts about iPad apps I use AirServer (not free, but cheap) to record. On a Chromebook, Screencastify is good option for making screencast videos. 

  4. PDFs: To make my PDF handouts I just create a document in Google Documents then hit "download as PDF." My PDFs will contain a mix of text and screenshots.

  5. Hosting PDFs: I use to host my PDFs that I embed into webpages. You could accomplish the same thing with Google Drive. I use Box because it provides me with information about how many views and downloads each PDF has had. Box also allows me to password protect a file.