Using H5P to produce animated videos as Content Package (SCORM) running within Blackboard without having an H5P licence

H5P (https://h5p.com/) is a software tool to produce on-line teaching material that can be used without having a full licence.

Step 1: Sign up for a 30-day free trial for H5P

You can sign up at the above link. Once your trial expires, sign up again with a different email address. Provided the content you have created is made public, it will live beyond your trial period.

Step 2: Record and edit your narrated video keeping the file size to <100 MB

I use the free version of https://screencast-o-matic.com/screen-recorder to record my movies. I like the fact that you can set any window size for the capture. The free version is limited to 15 minutes, which is ca. 80 MB worth of video. But you can use the screen capture software of your choice. Before recording, I make a brief script of the narration. I try to avoid retrospectively editing my narration as I don’t have the time to fiddle at this point in time. In the script, I make a note of where the animations will be placed and try to refer to them in the narration. To future proof the material, if I remember, I try to avoid referring to specific earlier or later material instead simply stating that ‘we will learn/have learnt about this feature in a separate practical’.

Step 3: Optimising the size of the video

I use the free program https://handbrake.fr/ to optimise the size of the file. Instructions of how to use HandBrake . I find that a video quality of 26-30 and sound quality 96 produce adequate results. My longest videos then end up being around 40-50 MB.

Step 4: Animating the movie

Now it’s time to upload into H5P. The program offers different types of content, the one that I find useful for teaching practical classes is the ‘Interactive Video’. For the purpose of Optical Microscopy practicals, the most useful animations are ‘drag’ and ‘drops’, embedding images (e.g. from textbooks), multiple choice questions, and embedded hyperlinks. I suggest playing it at 1.5 times normal speed.

There are plenty of YouTube tutorials of how to set up the various animations.

If you have a full H5P licence, all we would now have to do is to link the video to unit in Blackboard.

Step 5: Translating the H5P content into generic SCORM content.

Without a licence, we have to download the content pressing the poorly advertised ‘reuse’ button in the bottom left corner of the screen (see below)

This will generate a file with the xxx.h5p extension.

Next we open a free converter site: https://translate-h5p.tk/scorm-h5p/

Choosing the file will upload the xxx.h5p file, the site will then translate it and download a zipped contents folder of the same name as the xxx.h5p file but with a xxx.zip extension. Although the site doesn’t specify a maximum file size, I have been unable to coax it into translating files >100 MB. Hence the size restriction on the original video (don’t forget that the animations/interactions will add size to the original video).

Step 6: Uploading into BB

In the relevant unit, add the interactive video as a ‘content package’. When students play the video, it will open in a new window. Please be aware that the video rendering can be suboptimal in Chrome. All other browsers work well. Any embedded interactive quizzes, multiple choices, drag-drops etc. will also appear automatically in the ‘Full Grade Centre’.

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