Recently, I had the opportunity to create a few recorded demonstrations for our Collaborate website.  I must be a true Collaborate geek, because I REALLY enjoyed doing it.  It will not come as a surprise to those who know me, but I tend to be a bit long winded.  I like to talk; I can’t help it. So when I was instructed to make these recorded demos 2 – 4 minutes long I knew it would be a challenge.  Luckily, I have incredibly intelligent colleagues who wrote an effective and concise script that helped me get close to the length.  In my first attempt, I simply loaded the PowerPoint file and did the demo from scratch.  Meaning, I turned on the talk button, record button, launched the desktop share, etc. all manually.  That one was 6 minutes.  In my second attempt I just talked faster and did the same thing – it was still 6 minutes!  What?  Are you kidding me? It was not the content that stretched the recording beyond my time limit, as I said the script was built for a perfect 3 minute recording.  Instead, what was eating away at the clock was the process of building the recording and simply looking around the UI to find the various menus and actions.

Something drastic had to change.  Then, it came to me.  As if in a dream, I suddenly saw a plan.  A Blackboard Collaborate Plan.  The Plan capability in Blackboard Collaborate enables you to organize, script, and package content and activities BEFORE your real-time, online session. Unlike other products designed for self-paced viewing, Plan was developed specifically for use in a multi-user, multi-language, instructor-led, real-time eLearning environment.  Learn more here.

A Plan built for the purpose of saving time.  AH HA!  I realized that, although it may not seem like much, precious time can be saved when I don’t have to open a desktop share and arrange the application in a sensible fashion during the recording.  Instead, I built it into the Plan and even added a Pause Recording action that allowed me to take a breath, a drink of water, arrange my desktop and thoughts before continuing with the recording.

Plan, is my virtual best friend.  Although Plan is built for and typically used in multi-user scenarios, by utilizing Plan in my single moderator recording I was able to shave off 2 minutes and 15 precious seconds.  A-MAZING!  Compound Actions is really what made it possible.  Saving 2 minutes and 15 precious seconds in a 6 minute recording could equate to much more time spent engaging, interacting, teaching and learning in a live web conferencing session.

Below is an image of the actual Plan file I used.  Take note of the 3 Compound Actions.  I believe that is where my precious time was saved.



The final version still took the full 6 minutes to record, but the recording itself was only 3 minutes and 45 seconds.   When you watch the recording you will notice the recording slider bar at the bottom reads almost 6 minutes.  However, when I created the actual recording I utilized my Pause Recording action in the middle to give me time to set-up and prepare my talk track for the desktop share.  You will notice that the recording skips over this “dead air” which is precisely why the final recording made the 2 – 4 minute requirement.  I fully recognize the recording is not spotless, but compared to the “un-Planned” recording it is very shiny!  The recording was approved and posted to our website for all to see.  You can view it now here.

The next time you need to save time in your web conferencing live session or recording, be sure to build a Plan and use those Compound Actions.

Please tell us here, how has Plan made you a better moderator?

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