Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Day 4: First Preliminary Alpha Test Etc. Screencast

Jon Pipitone and I have created a screencast showing the basics (and I really mean "the basics") of pulling data out of a database using SQL. It took about 4.5 hours in total to produce 7 minutes of video:

Writing script: 1.5 hours
Doing 3 takes: 1.0 hours
Editing: 1.0 hours
Transcribing: 0.5 hours
Screenshots: 0.5 hours

This was the first time either of us had used Camtasia; I expect that we'll be able to cut the recording, editing, and screenshotting time in half with practice. Transcribing time is dictated by typing and editing speed, so it's unlikely to come down, and scripting time will probably be the same or greater for future topics (since some of them will require diagrams and other time-consuming prep). We're therefore looking at 3 hours of production for 5-7 minutes of screen time; if you figure a lecture is 50 minutes, and there are 25 of them in the course, that works out to... um... carry the six... 750 hours to get all of the existing material online. Pad by half to account for real-world effects, and that's 35-40 weeks — tight, but doable.

What we need now from you, dear reader, is feedback. Is the pace right? Do you want larger chunks, or smaller ones? Is the transcript useful? (I know we have to re-do the screenshots to make them more readable — we're thinking about exactly how to do that.) What else could/should we change, and why?

We look forward to your comments.

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