To wit: I've been struggling mightily to get some orientation material set up as short (10 - 15 minutes) videos that I then embed into the Blackboard platform used by my school. It's a multi-step process - set up the Powerpoints, save. Narrate over them, save. Convert to wmv, save. (This part literally takes hours. I'm always amazed at how impatient I get at this stage. The trick is to set it up to run overnight and just go to bed.) Take the resulting wmv file, import into Camtasia and save as an swf file. Now embed that into Blackboard and constantly remind your students that they have a free Shockwave download so yes, they can play it. (Now pray that they have a fast Internet connection and aren't dealing with *yike* dial-up.)
To repeat - Yike.
Hours it takes. HOURS - and that's if you know what you're doing! (I'm slowing getting into that camp, but I'm still a little bit in the woods. I have an appointment on Monday to find out if there's a reliable shortcut to all of this. But it seems that when tech needs to talk to other tech, sometimes there are limitations and roadblocks.) In a way, this is good. I need to know how students feel and I know how I feel when the tech doesn't work as advertised.
Still - I'm determined to make a solid go of it. But yeah, it'd be so much easier to just show the films in class and do a basic orientation lecture. Don't be fooled - distance learning works (and it can work very well), but don't confuse that with an online class being less work than a traditional class. It's not. Not if you're doing it right.