ThinkParametric

Teaching on ThinkParametric

Join our community of tutors and help us build the best collection of courses out there.

Course Notes

  • Who are we?
  • Why teach a course?
  • Main goal of any course
  • Pre-recording
    • Course planning
    • Creating a script outline
    • Find a quiet room
    • Eliminate all background noises
    • Practice practice practice
    • Camtasia
    • Experiment recording your screen
    • Audacity
    • Headset or Microphone
    • Experiment with your microphone
    • Have the relevant software installed
  • Recording your first lesson
    • Introduction video
    • Format and length of a typical lesson
    • The length of a course
    • Cursor movement and actions
    • Recording window
    • Narrate with a fun, light and natural tone
    • Explain the why
    • Record both video and audio in one take
    • Have fun!
  • Technical information
    • Recording Dimensions
    • Output file format
    • Position of the recording window
    • Size the program window to the right size
    • Recording Video
    • Recording Device
    • Recording Channel
    • Recording Volume
    • Project Rate
    • Recording Audio
    • File Format

Who are we?

ThinkParametric is an educational platform focussed on teaching skills to designers and architects from around the world. We have thousands of enthusiastic students coming in every day to either learn new skills or improve existing ones. By creating a course on ThinkParametric, you join us in our mission to create a library of high-quality tutorials, accessible for everyone at any time and from any place. We’re always looking for qualified industry experts that want to help others in learning and improving their skill set.

Why teach a course?

Here are some of the benefits of teaching a course on ThinkParametric. The first benefit is to earn a revenue; By teaching a course, you can make a nice side income or, depending on how frequently you want to create a course, a much more significant income.

You might have already a full-time position in an office, so we don't pretend to add stress into your current schedules, that is why we want you to have the liberty to set a timeline for creating your class, and we’ll stick to that.

The second benefit would be to build a following; Thousands of students check in every day to see the latest courses and improving their skills. By creating a series of classes, you can position yourself as a leader in a certain field and build a loyal following of students eager to watch any new course you bring out.

And finally, an opportunity for you to give back to the community; We all remember our mentors and the importance they had on our careers. Now it's your chance to teach and inspire the next generation of professionals by helping them develop skills they need to compete in a challenging global market.

Main goal of any course

The primary purpose of a course is teaching a relevant skill. While we value the theory and the technical aspects, the focus should always lie on learning something practical our students can directly apply to their projects.

It’s important to show to our students the way you use an app, plugin or software on every-day projects and the workflow following this.

We want you to show the expertise you gathered while working on the realization of a real project. Our students love to know your personal tips and tricks of how and why a software was used.

When creating a course, we highly prefer that you use a real-life scenario as a base guide. This is for two reasons; the first one is to show the relevance of a particular software, and the second one is to make it easier for you to create the course as you already have a rough guide to start with.

Pre-recording

Pre-recording
Course planning

The first thing you need to do is to define your course objectives, goals, and scope. So you should ask questions like:

  • -What are my goals for this project?
  • -What knowledge, information, or skill does the learner need to manifest when done?
  • -What subject or topic am I going to present?
  • -What is the scope of my coverage for that subject?

After having clear what your course is going to accomplish you should organize your course in a logical way that make sense to your students.

You can use Chapters with subchapters to organize it.

Pre-recording
Creating a script outline

With a script, it is easy to go back and redo parts of the audio that you don't like. It also helps define what should be happening on the screen, and help avoid any unnecessary digression or extra information. We advise you to use Google Docs for this, in case you want to share it with someone for some feedback. Think through the actions and think about them in detail, what do you want to capture? Then, write them down in sequential steps making sure that the script accurately reflects what's currently happening on the screen. Avoid using repetitive statements or words and avoid long pauses or hesitations in the narration.

Pre-recording
Find a quiet room

You need to find a place where you can record in peace. A bedroom is a good example. If you have a den or a study, those will do well too. An attic or a basement can also be a good place to have a voice over recording session just as long as you can eliminate background noises.

Pre-recording
Eliminate all background noises.

Make sure that you turn off anything that makes noises in your recording place. Examples of these things are fans, air conditioning units, and routers. Make sure that you face your microphone away from the computer to reduce any interference, especially mouse clicks and keyboard presses.

Pre-recording
Practice practice

Overall, how much and how often you practice will be the key to creating professional videos.It takes practice to learn how to move the cursor or open applications correctly, so they appear in the recording area.

You will need to practice to get the positioning of browser windows and other applications just right.

Pre-recording
Camtasia

We use a software called Camtasia for our screen recordings. Camtasia is a great and powerful program to produce high-quality screencasts. We also use it for the editing and post-production of the video lessons.

Pre-recording
Experiment recording your screen

Before recording your screen, do some test recordings. Check how it looks like and familiarize yourself with the pause, play and stop buttons. Get used to the size of the recording window, and see how fast you’re moving your mouse.

Pre-recording
Audacity

We use a program called Audacity to record the audio from your headset or microphone.

Pre-recording
Headset or Microphone

We record the audio and video separately and combine them in post-production to get the highest quality possible. If you have a good headset or microphone in the price range of about 50 US dollars, great! We can check some test recordings to verify the sound quality, and you’re ready to go. Else, we’ll provide you with a headset you can use to record your course.

Pre-recording
Experiment with your microphone

It’s important to do some test recordings to get the audio right in Audacity. Don’t put the microphone too close to your mouth or you’ll have a lot of popping and breathing sounds. But also not too far, so you record as little background noise as possible.

Pre-recording
Have the relevant software installed

If you’re teaching a 101 course, you might want to show the installation process, if it’s relevant. If you’re teaching a more advanced course, or the installation process is straightforward, you can directly start recording with the program window open. Make sure you’ve also installed the latest versions of both Camtasia and Audacity.

Recording your first lesson

Recording your first lesson
Introduction video

We require you to record a two-minute introduction video filming yourself in “talking head” format. In this video you explain briefly who you are, where you work and the projects, you’ve worked on. Followed by a brief description about what the students will learn in your course, what they’ll be able to do when they’ve watched it, and for whom it is intended.

Recording your first lesson
Format and length of a typical lesson

In every video, take 30 seconds to explain what this lesson is about, so the students know what to expect. From there, dive straight into teaching your project or skill. By the end of your first video, students already feel like they've learned something new. For the finCural lesson in your course, end with a 1-minute closure telling the student what skill they learned and how it can be applied in everyday situations. Individual lessons should ideally be between 5 to 15 minutes. Our students sometimes have to pause their lessons. Longer lessons make it difficult to track where they left off, and we don’t want to bombard them with too much information in a single lesson. Ideally, every video lesson should stand on itself.

Recording your first lesson
The length of a course

The ideal length of a course should be between 1,5 and 3 hours. We have noticed that this is the optimal length for a course. It is long enough to teach a topic, without getting tedious.

Recording your first lesson
Cursor movement and actions

Be very aware of your mouse movements. When you have to move your mouse; do it so in a slow and controlled motion. Many times we have the urge to move your mouse while you're explaining something, or circle your mouse on the screen to emphasize things. Try to avoid this as much as you can. We’ll highlight a button, toolbar or setting in the post-production process with a caption or zoom-in. A good trick is to take your hand off the mouse if you’re explaining something, to avoid unnecessary movements.

Recording your first lesson
Recording window

Be very mindful of your recording window and the boundaries of it. If you have a pop-up window or toolbar, make sure it is displayed within the recording window. For example when you want to show how to save a file. You hit “save” and the “file explorer window” pops up, it might pop-up outside the boundaries. No worries, just drag it within the limits and continue your lesson.

Recording your first lesson
Narrate with a fun, light and natural tone

You want your students to feel comfortable with you, so humor is welcome, without being offensive. Keep it simple and direct. Stick to one major concept per lesson so that students aren’t overwhelmed with too much information. And reinforce key points by repeating them throughout your lessons. If you’re still having trouble, pretend you’re teaching a course to one of your good friends. Keep that person in the back of your head while you’re recording.

Recording your first lesson
Explain the why

Narrate your creative decisions. Tell students why you make particular choices with your project or use certain techniques and workflows. This allows them to get to know your process and style. Students love to hear this. Don't worry if you don´t know everything. Being in the position of an instructor tends to put pressure of having all the answers. It’s OK if you don´t know every little thing.

Recording your first lesson
Record both video and audio in one take

If you make a mistake, no worries, take a deep breath, tap the microphone, so a spike in the audio will show for editing, and redo the wrong part. In post-production, we’ll edit the audio and video together to a coherent whole. Don’t pause or stop your recording! This will create discrepancies between the audio and video and a lot of extra work in post-production. Just let it run and redo the parts as much as you want. Usually, for a 10-minute video, we have around 15 minutes of raw material, but 15 minutes in 1 take.

Recording your first lesson
Have fun!

There is no point of creating a course if it's not fun. Try to take the opportunity of teaching as a way to understand the topic even better. Sometimes we learn more about something by attempting to explain it to others.

Technical information

In these final videos, we’ll go over some technical information regarding Camtasia and Audacity, the two programs you’ll be using to record your lessons. We’ll start with Camtasia. When you’ve installed Camtasia, you’ll see that it consists of two programs, “Camtasia Studio” and the “Camtasia Recorder”. “Camtasia Studio” is for editing your screencasts and the “Camtasia Recorder” is for recording your screen; this is the program you’ll be using.

Technical information
Recording Dimensions

We record in a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels or 720 P. It’s big enough to see clearly your actions on the screen, but still, have a reasonable file size when done editing. You can set the recording dimension under “Select Area”, either manually or selecting “720 P, 1280 by 720” from the custom dropdown menu. You can turn off your Webcam and Microphone as well located under “Recorded Inputs”.

Ti recording dimensions

Technical information
Output file format

We use the Audio Video Interleaved format or AVI. You can select this option by going to “Tools”, “Options”. Under the “General” tab, select dot AVI from the drop-down menu next to “Record To”. Another thing to set is where to save your file. Under “File”, “Options”, select “Ask For Filename”.

Ti output file

Technical information
Position of the recording window

As you’ve noticed when you opened the Camtasia Recorder, you have a toolbar and a Recording Window. The dimensions of your computer screen are bigger than the recording window. On this case the screen is 1920 by 1080 pixels.

This means you’d have to place your recording window somewhere. We found that the ideal position is at the right bottom of your screen. When you’re recording, and you right-click to open a menu for instance, that menu stays as much in your recording window as possible, because of the bottom and right limit of your computer screen.

Else you have situations where a submenu falls outside of the recording window, resulting in some ambiguity. It’s not perfect, but this way you prevent most cases of this happening. Always be aware of the boundaries of your recording window.

Ti recording dimensions

Technical information
Size the program window to the right size

There is a neat trick to size the program window you’re using exactly to the recording window’s size. Right click on the recording window, and select “Lock To Application”. This way you don’t have to do it manually. This usually results in a black border around the program window or slices of it falling outside the recording window.

Ti size the program

Technical information
Recording Video

When you’re all set, hit the big red button that says “REC” to start recording your screen. You’ll have a 3 second countdown before the recording starts. This time is for you to get ready. You can use those 3 seconds to hit the record button in Audacity, to start recording your audio. When you’re recording, you’ll see the corners of the recording window blinking and a timer running under duration. When the duration is between 10 and 15 minutes; start ending your lesson.

When you’re done recording hit the “Stop” button. A window will pop-up where you can preview your screen capture. On the bottom right corner there is the option to save your recording.

Next up is the settings to use when recording audio. We use a program called Audacity for this and Audacity can be downloaded from their website: audacityteam dot org.

Ti recording video

Technical information
Recording Device

Make sure you select your external microphone and NOT your default laptop microphone. In this example, I’m choosing the TASCAM microphone; this is the external microphone I’m using.

Ti recording device

Technical information
Recording Channel

The first thing to make sure is to record in Mono, instead of Stereo. We only need one microphone to record your voice.This means a mono recording will do just fine.

Ti recording channel

Technical information
Recording Volume

On the left, there is another setting we need to change, and that is the record volume. Make sure to set it all the way to 1. This way we get the best quality of your voice. Filtering out background noises is better done in Audacity then turning down the recording volume without having some quality loss.

Ti recording volume

Technical information
Project Rate

Make sure the Project Rate is set to 44100 Hertz. You can find this option on the left bottom part of the Camtasia window. There are higher rates available, but unfortunately, the give some incompatible issues with Camtasia.

Ti project rate

Technical information
Recording Audio

When you’re good to go, hit the big red record button to start recording. You see a new audio track being created. Check if a spike appears when you speak in your microphone to double check you’ve selected the right microphone and also to check if everything works. Hit the stop button when you’re done.

Technical information
File Format

We use the Microsoft WAV file format for our audio files. When you’re done recording, go to “File”, “Export audio”, and select “WAV Microsoft 32bit float”. This will give us a high-quality audio file, perfect for post production. Don’t use the “save as” option. Audacity saves its files in a weird format, splitting up the track into a lot of tiny pieces. We don’t need those files, just the WAV file.

Ti file format