Sheila Sybrant

If you could see it, you would probably laugh.

Technically, you could see it because I could give you a link to it. But I won’t — because you would probably laugh.

I’m talking about a video that I made for the class that I’m taking online.

I mentioned the class in a column a couple of weeks ago. In case you’re not hanging on my every word, I’ll recap: It’s a graduate class in journalism about ethics in digital media, which I’m taking to keep my teaching certificate current.

The first assignment was to create a five-minute video that gave an overview of who I am and discussed the first ethical decision I can remember making.

Fortunately, the professor posted the first few weeks’ worth of assignments before the class even officially began.

I say “fortunately” because if she hadn’t, I doubt that I would have met the deadline.

The professor said we could use any program to create the video, but she did give us a link to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s video system. Initially, I checked out that program but found it confusing (to be fair, I find any new technology confusing).

So I decided to use PowerPoint to create a narrated slideshow. Although I knew how to make a PowerPoint, figuring out how to add narration was a little harder for me, and the whole venture took more time than I care to admit (although I will tell you that the time was measured in hours, not minutes), but I did finally have a finished product.

Next up: Exporting that product into a video. That appeared as though it would be the easy part. However, appearances, as the expression goes, can be deceiving — I just could not find the “export to video” option.

I tried Googling it because my daughter told me to Google any questions I had before contacting her in a panic.

Google gave me lots of sites with lots of instructions, and I followed all of them — to no avail. So I emailed my daughter in a panic.

She valiantly tried to help me, but it turned out that my version of PowerPoint does not have an “export to video” feature. To export to video, you need a paid subscription. Ridiculous!

At about this time, the professor asked everyone to add closed captioning to their videos. I didn’t know how to do this in PowerPoint anyway, so, clearly, it was time to scrap my PowerPoint and start over.

It took more time than I care to admit (although I will tell you that the time again was measured in hours, not minutes) to figure out UNL’s program, but even then I could only figure out how to make a video with me on the screen instead of a slideshow.

I wasn’t keen on staring at the little “camera-on” light on my computer for five minutes straight, so, being the resourceful person that I am, I gathered a selection of visual aids and proceeded to make a video with me on camera — but holding up a visual in front of my face for each point I made.

Part of the requirement for this assignment was to comment on two other people’s videos. One guy who commented on mine said, “Great video. Very funny.”

As I did add humorous comments into my video script for entertainment value, I am not sure whether the comment was referring to my humorous asides or to the fact that I spent most of the video hiding behind visuals. I’ll give myself the benefit of the doubt and go with the former.

Readers may contact Sheila at svsybrant@gmail.com or 45092 859th Road, Bassett, NE 68714.

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