An #ETMOOC Introduction

In one of my more successful MOOC outings, BonkOpen2012 with Indiana University’s Dr. Curt Bonk, I picked up the idea of the Eight Noun Introduction. I really liked it and proceeded to riff of of it a little, using Wordle to add some visual flair to the idea. This is what resulted.

Image: Eight Noun Introduction

An Eight Noun Introduction

While I love the idea as an introductory activity and use the task with online students, I wanted to riff off of it again, spinning a new version for #ETMOOC. So here is the new #ETMOOC-styled version 3.0 riff on the concept, complete with some motion and sound. It is definitely a little different than some of the Intros I have watched, but I wanted to tinker.

Making this video version was a bit of an experiment, really. Consequently, it took longer than I expected to make, as I played around a lot trying different ways of putting things together. Since the original image was the product of the algorithm used by Wordle, I ended up having to kind of deconstruct it. Trying to figure out what font was being used was actually one of the more time-consuming efforts, certainly more time and effor than I expected. For those wondering, it is Coolvetica, which I had to download.

Here is how I built the rest DS106-style.

I opted to use Keynote on my MacBook. Truthfully, after years of using PowerPoint, I am still getting a bit used to Keynote. I like it but can get frustrated easily at times. However, there are some clever features that I am growing to like more and more, namely the Build Inspector. Considering what I was hoping to create, it seemed like a good opportunity to practice too.

To begin, I pasted the Wordle image onto a blank slide to use as a template. Then I recreated the words with an individual Text Box for each one, matching the color by eye as best I could. After rotating and placing all of the individual text boxes in the proper positions, I could delete the original template image, essentially having recreated it as a slide with movable parts.

The next challenge involved all of the moves. For speed and sanity sake, I created a separate slide to use as a staging area for each word, crafting each move. To get the final placements exactly right, I did have to map each word’s placement on the original reconstructed slide. One bonus is that all of an object’s moves in the Build Inspector are preserved even when cutting and pasting the object into another slide. So once all the movements were set, I could paste it back on its individual slide, just to keep everything separate and organized.

Once each word and set of moves was finished on a separate slide, I created a new blank slide to serve as the foundation for all of the animation. This slide would become the only one needed once built. At that point, it was simply a matter of copying and pasting each word on the new blank slide in the order of appearance.

With everything now assembled on a single slide, I tweaked the timing of each word’s movement in the Build Inspector to make everything flow a little better. All that was left in Keynote was the export, which required a small adjustment in the frame rate, because I knew I was going to use iMovie to merge the video and audio together. I probably could have done the whole thing in Keynote, but iMovie offers a little more specific video control than does keynote.

It seemed necessary to use some music to score the video so I did a quick search for some royalty free tunes. I wanted something on the jazzy side, then found my way to The Underscore Orkestra’s “Devil with the Devil” track. Using Audacity for speed’s sake, I trimmed the opening 40 seconds of the tune and exported it as an mp3 file.

With all that prep work it was quick work in iMovie. Import the video. Import the recut tune into iTunes, so it is easily accessible in iMovie. Then merge the video and audio together. As a timing consideration I did have to split a freeze frame at the opening, so that I had a blank white screen that I could manipulate to delay the opening move and make it work better with the music.

There were a few small obstacles along the way that I could foresee that could cause many people trouble. Exporting out of Keynote or importing into iMovie there will always be a frame rate issue that has to be resolved on one end or the other. My advice is to alter the fram rate and export from Keynote at the highest quality. That will guarantee better result when it is imported into iMovie. The aspect ratio needs to be 4:3 with no theme when importing into iMovie. Also, as mentioned, audio needs to be imported into iTunes or GarageBand to be easily accessible in iMovie. The fading can be done iMovie as well but the controls are a simple. A main issue is matching the audio clip length with the video length, which was one of the reasons I dropped it all in iMovie. I find it easier to wrestle with all the timing in iMovie.

6 thoughts on “An #ETMOOC Introduction

  1. thecleversheep

    I really like the nouns you chose, and the pacing of your reveals is about perfect. I love Keynote for many reasons, and only recently did I get into animating words in this way. Thanks for the intro idea… I can see value in this strategy with adult and youth learners alike.

    1. Fred Haas - akh003 Post author


      Thanks for the kind compliment. Of course, after finishing, I did think that I might tweak things further. That happens all the time. At some point, I felt it was more important to just finish and get it out there. I may go back an make some minor adjustments at some point.


    1. Fred Haas - akh003 Post author


      Here is the link to the document where I first read about the idea “We’ll Leave the Light on For You: Keeping Learners Motivated in Online Courses.” Here is the excerpt:

      8 Nouns: In this activity, everyone is required to post eight nouns that describe him or herself. Near the end of this task, it becomes difficult to come up with nouns, thereby forcing participants to share a good deal of information about themselves that their peers as well as the instructor might refer to later in the course. In effect, it creates some initial shared understandings and common knowledge (Schrage,

      Schrage, M. (1990). Shared minds: The new technologies of collaboration. New York: Random House.

      Hope that helps,

  2. Sheri Edwards

    You are a tinkerer! What a fun way to use Keynote — it is one of my favorite tools to create with because of the ability to insert movies and to mask pictures easily. Thanks for providing HOW you created the video, and for introducing us to the 8 noun strategy.

    1. Fred Haas - akh003 Post author


      Thanks for the kind words. I am liking Keynote more and more. I have recently pretty well switched over from PowerPoint entirely, despite the frustrations of not knowing exactly where to find every feature or tool I want. I just need to use it more and this seemed like a good excuse to practice with it.



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