BSL comes to town – a university first?

Cindy writes for her department’s blog:

The Department of English Literature has just published its first British Sign Language interpreted screencast. ‘The Punctuation Pathway’, one of our first ever screencasts, is now available in this format for viewers on our YouTube channel ‘English Literature at the University of Reading’ and can be found here:




Moments of clarity

Using technology is a funny thing. At one moment you feel elated because it has done exactly what you wanted. The next, you are left wondering how on earth you can have been so stupid. Take powtoon ( animated screencasts as an example. I had produced nearly a dozen of them before I decided to fix a little thing that had been niggling at me all along. When I went to these screencasts, or displayed them for others, the screen they saw (the screenshot displayed before pressing ‘play’) was a bit of a muddle, sometimes having a few words of text on it and sometimes an animated figure mid-move. I knew I had done something wrong, and set out to discover my error.

Screenshot academic placement screencast

When I went back to powtoons I had that moment of clarity that so often arrives in these situations. It was a quick enough process to work out that whatever was on the editing screen at the moment when I pressed play was the image that would appear forever as the opening screen. It was rather more laborious to fix it. I decided that I wanted an image of a character on each of my screencast screenshots, and so I fiddled about for ages, altering the timing slightly to ensure that each powtoon would display a character at the side of the screen before pressing ‘play’.

I republished each and every one of them and was rather proud of myself for at least five minutes. I decided to leave them publishing whilst I made myself a cup of tea. As I waited for the kettle to boil I realised my stupidity: why just a figure on the screen? Why on earth had I not had the sense to begin each powtoon with a proper title screen? That way, anyone could see that they were about to view the correct animation before they began.

So, a lesson learned. Am I going to make sure that, in future, each of my powtoons has a title screen prior to publication? Of course. Am I going to go back and change all of those powtoons I have just republished? It’s Week Three of a busy term – what do you reckon?!