Whoooo needs free photos and music? I bet you do!

Our team gets asked a lot of questions about free PHOTOS and MUSIC for educational use on Moodle and YouTube and websites. We usually recommend searching Creative Commons. I'm excited to show this additional free resource to you!

The University of Minnesota is piloting offering content on three "Stock" sites for free until December. If feedback is positive, they will continue to offer this service. 

>>>January 2016 Update: The contract has been made permanent<<<

First of all the link:
Second of all the instructions:

  1. You MUST be connected to a University network (wifi or hardwire). (VPN that is configured for full tunnel or "Departmental Pools" also will do the trick.)
  2. You must enter from the link above, you cannot enter the site directly or it won't be free!
  3. Select from the following 3 sites of stock content: 
    1. VideoBlocks (video snippets you can insert into your vids as B roll and intro)
    2. AudioBlocks (music and stuff)
    3. GraphicStock (photos and illustrations)
  4.  No login required. Don't make an account.
  5. NOTE: My experience is that after 20 minutes the site will start asking me for a password. So I just go back to it.umn.edu/stock-content to restart whatever free magic was happening. OIT is aware of this bug, and if they continue to offer this service it would use the UMN login.
I am having so much fun finding things on this site to use for our videos and presentations. I spent a little time looking up stuff that might show you the potential in our Extension programming!

Looks like Minnesota water resources! There are tons of water-y scenic shots.

Health and Nutrition team, I know you like carrots! The GraphicStock site is full of vegetables. And flowers. TONS of flowers.

I found some corn, just for you AFNR. Oh and also, there are 8 pages of results for the word "soil." 

Look at this happy couple planting begonias. PLANTING BEGONIAS FO' FREE!

And if you like homogeneous school children, we've got you covered. This was literally the most diverse school children picture I could find. Well, something for them to improve on hopefully!

Also another weak spot: unhappy families. You want happy families hugging on a couch? JACKPOT! But for families in crisis or divorcing, fuhgettaboutit. I found this:

So with some significant caveats about diversity, I highly recommend spending a few minutes poking around the piloted stock resources. Anything you download before the pilot expires (approx. December 15, 2015) will remain yours to use for free! 

Be sure to fill out this super fast feedback survey to help OIT decide if they should offer this service in the future!

What did you find useful on these sites?

While I can't promise you'll go viral...

I am willing to bet your number of views and shares will increase if you follow these tips:

1. Keep it short

A computer science professor at the University of Rochester found 3 to 5 minutes is optimal, and I always recommend to keep it under 10 minutes when possible. But that doesn’t mean you need to throw out great content -- just chunk it! Break up longer recordings into smaller, standalone videos.

But do boil the content down as much as possible. Here's why:

2. Create suspense or a need to know: pose a question or tease before you tell

3. Keep content fresh

Did you have any teachers growing up that showed the same old videos (or film strips) for decades?  Did dated hairstyles, old slang, or the obsolete equipment used to play it keep you from taking the video's content seriously?  Keep your material fresh to build trust and support engagement.

4. Make a list

Lists help people remember items in a sequence or a group, and successful websites like Buzzfeed use them a lot. They're alluring, reassuring, and can lead to deeper reading. (via Ann Fandrey, Alison Link, and Cristina Lopez's presentation The Cognitive Science of Clickbait.)

(But I don’t mean this kind of list!)

5. Show more than you tell: aim for a 3 to 1 ratio

6. Show up as an authentic person

Be on screen, be human, and use humor.  Amy is great at this!

Dress, speak, and act like you would in a seated class (or in the field) -- which includes remembering to tell stories that usually come out on the fly in-person.  Don’t be more formal than is necessary or natural.  Don’t be a perfectionist; none of us want to be an “on air personality” and it’s not fun to watch your own videos. Remember: small imperfections will humanize you, so try to see them as a positive thing and just don’t take yourself too seriously.

Just because people show up to our webinars, it doesn't mean they are listening, learning or even paying attention. In a recent Intercall study, 65% of people admitted to doing other work during a conference call. 27% of people admitted to falling asleep! Last week at Program Conference, participants in our "How to Host Awesome WebEx Webinars" workshop, came up with some great ideas for keeping people engaged (and awake!).

In the workshop, we showed most of the WebEx Training Center tools that are available for engaging participants and shared creative ways to use them: These include chat, annotate, whiteboard, quick poll, sharing, emoticons, polls, breakout rooms, Q & A and notes.

We demonstrated the annotation text tool in WebEx by inviting webinar participants to write down some common Don'ts and Do's when hosting webinars. Our lists were long but here are a few...

  • Host a WebEx meeting on a wireless connection (use a wired connection!)
  • Forget to record the meeting
  • Read from a script - present your information
  • Ignore your online participants 
  • Learn the WebEx tools
  • Broadcast your video/webcam
  • Engage your participants often 
  • Use pictures vs. text in your PowerPoint
  • Plan your webinar
Some people were surprised to hear they should engage their participants every 4 minutes. According to Becky Pluth, author of Webinars with Wow Factor, the average length of time a learner stays engaged before getting distracted and begins a new task is 4 minutes. Active learning requires thinking and involves the learner and compels them to read, write, type, reflect, problem-solve. laugh, etc.

One thing that riled people up during the workshop was learning that a WebEx Training Center meeting host can tell when participants are no longer paying attention. A red ! appears next to participants who have wandered away from the meeting window. This is a great cue for presenters to re-engage participants or ask if they need a break. For every 60 minutes you should take a 10 minute break.

Workshop participants used a one-hour webinar planning worksheet to walk through the components of a typical webinar and brainstorm activities and ways to interact with webinar participants.

Pre-presentation (when people are joining the webinar): Give people something to look at, listen to, think about or do. It gets them engaged right away. Ideas include puzzles, chat (where are they from, what do they already know about the content, etc), show topic related trivia, introduce them to the tools they will be using in WebEx, greet them verbally. One person in our workshop said they play music and have people chat answers to questions during this time.

Introduction: This can be both an introduction to the WebEx tools you will be using and introduction to presenters and other participants. Ideas include showing a map and have them "point" to where they are from (annotation tools), ask a yes/no question using the quick poll, chat to share one fact about the content

Content: Every 4 minutes, check in with your participants. Have them reflect, review, discuss, write, read, etc. You do not need to plan an activity every 4 minutes, just check in! Mix up your content by using more photos and less text.

Breaks: You should provide a 10 minute break every 60 minutes. Let people know you will be providing a break or they will take one on their own.

Evaluation: You don't have to save this until the end - check in throughout your presentation. Idea: Share a Qualtrics survey from within the WebEx window. If you use the Share > Web Content and drop in the survey URL, participants can fill out the survey right then and there!! Build in time for them to take the survey in your webinar instead of sending it with them at the end.

Wrap Up: Review content and have people share their takeaways in the chat or a shared Google document. Tip: if you use a shared Google document you need to set sharing rights to "public". Then in WebEx use the Share > Web Content option. Create a Wordle using their takeaway text. Or just use a Whiteboard and have people annotate with the text tool their takeaways.

One last tip: people in this workshop liked the e.ggtimer.com that I used during activities. In WebEx, use the Share > Web Content and type e.ggtimer.com. It counts down the amount of time you are giving people for the activity. They have some presets you can use (e.g. e.ggtimer.com/90 (for 90 seconds), e.ggtimer.com/5minutes, or e.ggtimer.com/morning)

For fun, check out: http://whattimeisitthere.info/

Here is the PowerPoint pesentation from our workshop.

Question for you. What are some ways you could use WebEx tools to engage your participants just before your webinar starts and during a webinar? Please share your ideas in the comments!!!

Join us for Noodling Moodle at Program Conference TODAY!

We'll be in the Cardinal Perch room at 1:30 p.m.

At the conference, we’ll have 60 minutes to dig into:
  • Where to start when designing an online course 
  • How to provide opportunities for hands-on, active, and interactive learning 
  • Exciting methods of content sharing 
  • Awesome ideas for interaction designed to motivate learners and increase learning 
You’ll also come away from our Program Conference session with a user-friendly checklist for great course design and peer review. 

Go deeper: Enroll in our Noodling Moodle online course!

Join a community of Extension staff learning to use Moodle more effectively for learner engagement October 12-28, 2015.  Learn from each other as well as the course content, and keep the conversation going in the Google Group.

Finish Noodling Moodle by the end of October to get premium access to Screencast-O-Matic FREE for one year!

If you participated in the preview session, thank you for sharing your questions, thoughts, experiences, and feedback!  You'll be glad to know I've added a lot of content based on the preview session I think you'll find helpful (like information on blending and flipping courses and making engaging videos).  The course is also more open and flexible so you can access what you're most interested in right away, or step through the course sequentially over time.  I even outlined a couple of different approaches (approx. 15 or 45-minute sessions) that will help you pencil the course into your schedule over a period of about 2.5 weeks.  

There's no wrong way to take the course.  But please do "show up" for it though -- contributing to wikis, forums, etc. along the way.  We can all learn more when we learn together -- ENROLL TODAY!

Please note: This isn’t a ground-up basics of Moodle course -- you can get that from central IT. Instead, this is a course that focuses on how to motivate and engage your non-credit online learners. 

Happy Moodling!