Each week in December and January, our team is offering a 30-min lunchtime webinar on one of the sessions we presented at Program Conference. Last week’s topic was Video Editing with WeVideo. In 30 minutes, I shared how Extension employees can request an account and did a demonstration of the software, showing how to do some simple editing. Webinar Recording

Below are the resources I shared in the webinar along with some additional links to training videos. Also below are more advanced techniques you can do in WeVideo such as animation (Ken Burns effect), picture in picture and multi-select for faster editing.

Getting Started in WeVideo

Request an account (Extension Employees only)

Non-Extension users: anyone can sign up for a free WeVideo account at www.wevideo.com. Limitations on a free account include 1 GB storage, 480p video resolution, no greenscreen, motion titles, slow motion or voiceover and branded “WeVideo” logo on finished videos.

Options for learning the basics:

Even if you have never used video editing software, it doesn't take long to learn the basics of editing with WeVideo. Choose an option below to get started.
Additional video production resources: www.z.umn.edu/ExtVideoResources 

Advanced Techniques

Multi-Select and Transitions
How to select multiple clips and tips for faster editing.

Recording narration/voiceover
If you need to record narration over your video, you can do it right in WeVideo.

Adding Text and Annotations
Add text over Extension branded images, add a lower third or add annotations to emphasize a point.

Animation (Ken Burns effect)
Apply movement to photos, videos, text and annotations using Animation.

Transform clips (picture in picture, rotate, scale & flip)
How to change aspect ratio, and use multiple clips and photos within your video.

How have you been using WeVideo? If you have tips you'd like to share, please add them to the comments!

Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

#24:  Browser add-ins that make life better

(recorded Nov 21, 2017)
Karen, Amy, and Terri talk over some good browser "add-ins" (extensions, plug-ins, etc) that we think are handy and make life better. We also announce our upcoming series of Lunchtime Webinars.
 Links from this episode:
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Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

#23:  In which we discuss Google updates

(recorded Nov 10, 2017)
Karen, Amy, and Alison talk over the latest changes to our Google tools, including Google Meet (and Hangouts), Google Calendar, and Google Team Drive. We say "Google" about a google times. We also answer a listener question about how to know which web conference tool to choose. 
 Links from this episode:

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On November 28 the updated Google Calendar will be available for the University of Minnesota. You don’t have to opt in right away but by the end of February it will be the new default. I couldn’t wait to click the “Use new Calendar” button when I saw it in my personal Google Calendar so I could explore all the new features.

The new design includes larger date icons, new colors and an overall cleaner look. The calendar views are bundled up in a drop down menu and the Settings menu is much more organized.

I wasn't sure what to expect with the new calendar but some of the best new features that stand out to me are below.

Side by Side Calendars

When you select Day view and open other calendars, you will see their schedule side-by-side with your own for that day. Use the mini calendar to select a different day. I think the side-by-side view is much easier for scheduling than the current way of overlapping calendars but if you decide you prefer the overlapping calendars, you can change it back in your settings.

Formatted Notes and Attachments

The meeting description box now includes an editor for you to format text, add hyperlinks and attachments. The formatting will help people read meeting details and view attachments before the meeting starts. I know I sometimes didn't even notice the meeting description or attachments.

How it looks in the calendar:

To view meeting details on your calendar, single-click an event and all the details will appear. You can see who's attending, read the description and click on links and attachments to open them up. If you want to edit the event, click the pen icon or just double-click the event on your calendar.

Year View

The year view is something that I’ve had installed as a lab add-in on my existing calendar so I was happy to see this as one of the new default views. Click the view menu at the top and select Year. Dates with events are not highlighted but you can click on a date to see everything that is scheduled. Double click on a date to open it Day view.


Google Tasks haven’t changed but they did add a small tab at the top of the sidebar to open/close the tasks panel.


The settings menu is organized in groups. A couple of new items I noticed under General > Event Settings:
  • Default guest permissions - you can change the default so guests can modify events
  • Automatically add video calls to events I create

Removed Items

  • Quick Add -- if you used the Quick Add feature, they replaced it with the big red button (with the plus sign) in the lower right corner of your calendar.
  • Labs -- if you enabled any of the experimental Google Calendar features they are now gone. Two labs they kept and built-into the calendar are the year view and the world clock.  

If you discover anything with the new calendar that you would like to share, please leave a comment. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Post 2 in a Series of Useful Browser Extensions -

Explain and Send Screenshots 

Have you ever needed a screenshot of an entire website so badly that you took multiple screenshot and pasted them together? I have...but now you don't have to. Explain and Send Screenshots takes this pain (and many screenshot pains) away.

Screenshot of Explain and Send Screenshots in the Google Store

Types of screenshots

With this browser extension, you can take 5 different types of screenshots:
  1.  A selected area of your choosing
    Example of a selected area of a screenshot

  2.  The visible area of your browser
    Example of a screenshot of the visible area of the browser window
  3.  The entire web page (even the parts hidden by the scroll)
    Example of a screenshot of the entire web page
  4.  The visible area of your screen
    Example of a screenshot of the visible area of your screen
  5. And, last but not least, record your screen

    This feature might be the best part of the extension. I'd encourage you to try it for yourself because it's just that awesome. 
    • Click record your screen
    • A window will pop up asking for permission to access your screen - allow it
    • Then another window will ask to "share your screen." 
    • From that moment until you click "Stop sharing" at the bottom, your mouse movements will be recorded.

Editing the image

Once you capture your screenshot, a new window will open with your shot. Here the extension gives you multiple options for editing your image. The image below shows my screenshot with the addition of shapes, text, color, list items, highlights, a deleted section, and free form drawings. 

Options for editing your screenshot

Saving the image

When you're all done editing, click the "Done" button. New options will appear, such as download, save as, upload, save to Drive, copy, edit in Pixlr, open in new window, and save as PDF. My suggestion would be to disregard all of the options except Download. This allows you to download it to your computer. If you want to copy the image, you can right click on it and copy it. The other default options require another extension to be added to this extension. 

Where can you get it? 

If you need information on where browser extensions are once you download them, see my first browser extension post on Seeing Like the Colourblind

Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

#22:  Sons of Captioning Anarchy

(recorded Sept 27, 2017)
Karen, Amy, and Alison talk over video captioning, why and how. We also talk about open vs closed captions, captioning options for other languages, and (awkward!) podcast transcripts. We answer a listener question about creating (animated) smooth gif experiences. 
 Links from this episode:
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[updated to add:] a podcaster in Extension tried Rev.com and said "Worked great and was super fast, I got half an hour of audio transcribed in less than 24 hrs. Was very accurate too."

Google is constantly making changes to its products and in recent months, you may have noticed some of the tools within Google Hangouts have changed. Remember the Hangouts toolbox and effects where you could wear a party hat, sunglasses, change your background and add a lower third? Those features were retired last spring. Google has been cleaning up Hangouts and eventually it will be replaced with Google Meet, Google’s newest online meeting tool. For now, we will have access to both Meet and Hangouts.

On Friday, November 3, the University is opening access for all personnel to Google Hangouts Meet. Google Meet is similar to Google Hangouts, but with an easier to use interface and better performance. 

screencapture: a google meet meeting

What you need to know:

  • When you click “Add video call” in a Google calendar entry, Google Meet will be the default application. Existing Google Calendar invites that have a Google Hangout link (before November 3) will remain as a Google Hangouts link.
  • On desktop computers, Google Meet only works with the Google Chrome browser. 
  • On mobile devices, the Google Meet app is available for Android and iOS.
  • By default, UMN users can now meet with anyone, even if their attendees do not have a Google or UMN account. There are no special settings to adjust; just share the meeting URL and go.
  • The dial-out option for audio-only access is not available in Google Meet. We recommend WebEx if you need an integrated phone conference.

Start a Google Meet

There are a number of ways to start Google Meet:


For online documentation and step-by-step instructions, visit the getting started guide on Google’s Learning Center. 

Note: when looking through the online help documentation, you may notice features that are only available to G Suite Enterprise customers (e.g. dial-in phone option). The University of Minnesota is using G Suite Education (same features as G Suite Business).

Using Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts (both chat and video) will remain available for the immediate future. Google has not yet announced a retirement date for Google Hangouts. After November 3, you can visit hangouts.google.com if you wish to start a video Hangout instead of Google Meet.

Questions or Help

The Extension Technology team is here to help you select and use new technologies, so let us know if you have questions. For technical assistance with Google Meet, you can also contact Technology Help.

Post 1 in a Series of Useful Browser Extensions - 

A browser extension is a downloadable feature that extends the functionality of a browser. My browser of choice is Google Chrome, so I’ll be talking about the Chrome Extensions, but most of the extensions can also be found on Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, and Safari. In Chrome, an extension can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.

I use quite a few extensions - and no, it’s not just because I work for Extension :) I’m going to write a series of posts to tell you about some of the extensions I use. I have two other posts planned out, so stay tuned:
  1. Helpful Accessibility Checkers
  2. How to Capture a Screenshot of the Whole Web Page

I Want To See Like The Colour Blind

Screen shot of where to download the Chrome extension

This is an extension I showcased at Program Conference during the Quick Bytes session. Its purpose is to help users understand what people with colorblindness see when they look at something. There are 8 different types of color blindness that can be experienced with the extension.

Why should we care?

Color blindness affects 8% of men and 0.5% of women. As we design graphics for presentations and/or websites, we should take into consideration what someone might see when they view the graphics. It is a good practice to use color + a pattern or color + an icon to differentiate between items on a page.

Here’s an example of what different people may see when viewing a colored pie graph
Example of a pie graph showing 9 different color blindness types (Normal, Protanopia, Protanomaly, Deuteranopia, Deuteranomaly, Tritanopia, Tritanomaly, Achromatopsia, Achromatomaly).
As you can see, there are types of color blindness that make certain colors hard to differentiate. Adding in a pattern or icon to the colors will help all people understand this graphic.

If you'd like to download this extension, you can do it in the Chrome Web Store. Once downloaded, it appear to the right of the address bar.

Screenshot of extensions next to the address bar in Chrome with the Colour Blindness extension circled

Click on the icon and choose Experience Colour Blindness from the dropdown. Another dropdown will appear with all the types of color blindness. As you click through the options, the colors on the page will change to show what it looks like through the eyes of someone who experiences that type of blindness.

U Minnesota is an instance of Guidebook that we will be using at Extension's Program Conference. It is used at conference to share up-to-date event information and materials with you on your mobile device. In the app, you can review the conference agenda, create your own schedule, view speaker information, evaluate sessions, network with other attendees and more. Below are some tips for getting the most out of the app:

First: Download the App

Scan the QR Code

 --- OR --

Go to https://guidebook.com/app/umn on your device and download the app.

Next: Install the Program Conference Event Guide

  1. Open the UMN Guidebook app
  2. Tap  Enter passphrase  (under the Block M) and enter ExtPc2017 to download and install the guide

What’s in the app?

Onsite Info and Activities: Hotel wifi information, Extension Issue Area poster info, health, wellness & networking activities, conference committee members
The Schedule: Sessions are listed for each day. Tap on a listing to get more information such as the course description, speakers and room location. Add sessions to your personal schedule.
My Schedule: Create your own agenda with sessions you want to attend during the conference. You can add a reminder when the sessions are about to start. Be sure to fill out an evaluation survey for sessions you attend.
Keynote Speakers: Find out who is presenting at the conference and read their bios.
Poster Abstracts: Read about the public value and research posters presented during the conference. Be sure to fill out an evaluation survey for the posters you want to review.
Map / Floorplan: Hotel conference area map with room information
Twitter: Share your tweets with the conference hashtag
My Notes: Use this feature to take notes during the conference. Select the Notes icon from the main screen or when you are viewing a session description, tap the “Create Note” (IOS) or the Pen/Paper icon (Android).
Conference Photo Album: Take and share pictures during the conference
Attendee Check In: Create an account and check into the conference app. You will be listed and visible to other users. Tap on a user’s name to view their profile.
Network With Colleagues: Post a comment or comment on someone else’s post.
Messaging: Send messages to other attendees. This is not SMS so you will not be charged for text messages.

Before the Conference

Build your own schedule
Review the schedule and decide which sessions you want to attend. Tap the plus sign next to the sessions you are interested in to build your own schedule. Add a reminder if you would like one.

Create an account
If you want to interact with other attendees in the app at conference, create an account and set up your profile. 
  1. Tap the icon in the top-right corner of the screen 
  2. You can set up an account with an email address or with a social media account
  3. To set up your profile, tap the account icon again and then tap the gear icon near the top-left to edit your profile.

During the Conference

  1. Connect to the hotel wifi. 
  2. Tap Attendee Check-in to let others know you are here.
  3. Tap My Schedule to view the sessions you selected to attend.
  4. Take notes, share conference photos, tweet and connect with colleagues.
  5. Evaluate breakouts and posters

How to find the evaluation form for breakouts and posters

You will find an evaluation survey at the bottom of each session description and poster abstract.

NOTE: There will also be a post-conference survey sent out via email for all other conference components and general conference feedback.

Google Search Tips

In honor of Google's 19th birthday (!!), I've put together five of my favorite Google Search tips. Be sure to add your favorite tip in the comments!!


My top tip and one that I use all the time! Search for something, then above the results select Tools, then narrow by time (past month, past year, etc). This sorts out all the old information!


Another function I use a lot is to use Google as a dictionary. Just type "define: word" in and you'll get a dictionary type entry at the top of your results.


If there's one thing I am terrible at, it's conversions. I blame it on having to learn both the metric and English systems in school! Good thing you can type it in Google, like "pints to mL" or "euros to dollars" and the top result is a calculator that does the conversions.

Advanced Search Page

The simplicity of the search page is one of Google's trademarks. But did you know there is a very detailed "Advanced Search" page? https://www.google.com/advanced_search

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is essential and mind-blowing and if you haven't tried it in a while, hold on to your hats because they are going to come right off. You can search (duh), see other articles that cited that article, get citation formats six ways to Sunday, and most importantly, you can click the links to view full text and you can even view full text of things that the Libraries have bought!
Follow these directions if you are off University network and trying to do this feature.
It is simply glorious and I highly recommend Google Scholar!

Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

#21:  Getting Jazzed about Drupal

(recorded August 30, 2017)
Karen, Amy, Terri, and Alison talk over the exciting bits and the scary bits about UMN Extension's large website redesign project. We also answer a question about Qualtrics and talk about our brand new process for hosting podcasts. 
 Links from this episode:
Be sure to subscribe and let us know your feedback!

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Extension has been doing a lot of video work lately. I know this because our Extension Technology Equipment Loan video kits have been booked pretty regularly all summer and now well into October. By the time you are done planning, shooting and editing your video, uploading it to YouTube may feel like the last step. It's not. One of the most important steps in the video production process is captioning. Adding captions to videos can feel time-consuming and you may be tempted to skip it but there are so many reasons why you shouldn't!

The Importance of Captioning

Adding captions to your videos make them accessible and usable by people of all abilities and all Extension videos must be captioned to be in compliance with The Americans with Disabilities Act. But not only does captioning help people with disabilities, research shows that everyone can benefit from from closed captions. A 2015 study on Student Uses and Perceptions of Closed Captions & Transcriptsconducted by Oregon State University's Ecampus Research Unit, showed:
  • The majority of students without a disability use captions at least some of the time
  • 66% of ESL students find captions "very" or "extremely" helpful
  • Captions help with comprehension, accuracy, engagement and retention.

Additional benefits of closed captioning and transcripts:
  • Improved indexing and searching: Search engines can’t watch a video or listen to audio but closed captions and transcripts make your video text-searchable.
  • View anywhere: Closed captioning allows people to view videos in places where audio is limited (e.g. library, office, bus).

Closed or Open Captions?

Closed captions are most common and utilize the functionality within video players and browsers to display closed captions below the video area. Closed captions can be turned on or off.

Open captions are a permanent part of the video and can’t be turned off. Open captions are usually added in the video editing process and are usually more time-consuming/expensive to produce.

Captioning Options

  1. You can do your own captioning
  2. You can hire a service to caption for you. They usually charge by length of video (approx $3/min). 
  3. The UMN Disability Resource Center is available to help if a person with a disability has specifically requested captioning. 

How to Caption in YouTube

There are three different methods for captioning in YouTube.
  1. Auto-sync is where YouTube creates captions for you which provides a good start if you don’t have a transcript file. You will always have to correct the auto-synched captions. If you don’t believe me, check out Rhett & Link’s caption fail YouTube channel (funny). 
  2. Create a transcript .txt file and upload it to YouTube. It should match the audio exactly.
  3. Create a transcript directly in YouTube. 
Step-by-step instructions for the three methods for captioning in YouTube are on the Accessible U website.

Do you have any tips for captioning videos to share with others? Please leave them in the comments!

Maybe it shouldn’t be a course at all.

You have evidence-based information and resources people want on topics they care deeply about, so they sign up for your course. But without a “carrot” or “stick,” when is the last time you completed an online course (or signed up at all)?

There is a great deal of agreement that online learner engagement and course completion rates are often low, especially in the non-credit setting. While there is a breadth of research on how to engage online learners in traditional online courses, the literature does not address the inherent challenges in assuming online courses are the primary way to provide educational content to specific audiences online who are not seeking credit or certification. It also fails to adequately describe the way people learn online informally in daily life. As a result, when people across Extension asked me (time and time again), “Why won’t people complete my online course?!” my answers came up short.

So this spring, I started working on a theory-building metasynthesis that aims to pick up the conversation here. I’ll jump to my findings here, but to learn more about the study methodology, get a copy of the associated rubric I created, or to generally nerd out with me on this topic, follow up with me during the Program Conference poster session (or any time!).

Online outreach education should be/have:

Learner-focused Content

The information and learning needs of a community should come first, rather than the implementation of the technology or selection of a specific tool or format.

Search & Navigation Friendly

In self-directed, informal learning, discoverability and easy navigation are critical elements to attracting and retaining potential learners.

Flexible Levels of Engagement

It is important to provide opportunities across the engagement spectrum (e.g., passive information acquisition, personal reflection, discussion-based processing, and building or generating something new).

Generally speaking, we Minnesotans don't need courses and workshops like we did “back in the day.” We rely on Google and our social networks when we want to learn a new skill or troubleshoot an issue in our homes, gardens, communities, etc.

How can your program be a part of the new paradigm?