TechKnow Trainings Studios offers online training courses for Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel 1 and 2, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Access, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Premiere, Video with Camtasia Studio. Intro to Computers, Web Design with Adobe Dreamweaver, Digital Photography, Digital Videography, Building Your Own Computer, Introduction to Computer Networking, and Scratch Programming 1 and 2. More courses are in the works.
Each course is divided into modules to break the learning into manageable chunks. Modules must be completed in sequence. Courses include quizzes after most modules, and students need to score 80% or higher to advance to the next module.
Courses are presented by different teachers, each with their own style. The courses seem to vary greatly in the amount of content and time required.
I reviewed three courses: Intro to Digital Videography, Microsoft Excel 1, and Adobe Premiere. The first two courses were brief. I was able to work through these two courses in one evening although I didn’t create a video for the final project for Intro to Digital Videography which would have taken much longer. Certainly, students would be better off going slowly through the courses and experimenting with what they are learning more extensively as they proceed. Nevertheless, these two courses were relatively brief. On the other hand, Adobe Premiere took much more time and had far more content.
A subscription gives you access to all of the courses, so you don’t have to weigh the relative value of different courses by their costs. You can subscribe by the month or by the year, and discounted rates are available for groups or siblings. A free parent or teacher account is included, which gives the parent or teacher fuller access and control.
Below are comments on the three courses I reviewed.
Intro to Digital Videography
Intro to Digital Videography has five modules (lessons). Each module runs less than ten minutes. Three modules are followed by a ten-question, multiple-choice quiz that must be passed to be able to move on to the next module. The final exam is to actually go shoot a video and upload it.
This course deals only with use of a dSLR camera with video capability. It does not cover lighting, mics, or other elements other than working with the visual aspects created by the camera itself. It’s good as far as it goes, but you’ll need more information from other courses or other sources to really get going on videography.
Microsoft Excel 1
Microsoft Excel 1 is a basic introduction to the features of the program presented in four modules titled The Basics, Shortcuts, Formulas, and Charts and Graphs. The last module includes instruction on how to integrate charts from Excel into PowerPoint. Modules are slightly longer than those for Intro to Digital Videography. One-question quizzes are inserted a few times within some module presentation, and there are quizzes at the end of each module as well. The presenter demonstrates as he talks.
This course lets you know about many of the Excel tools available to you, and goes into detail on some of them. It is not meant to teach you everything you need to know about Excel. That program is so complex that you really need to spend time exploring the features most useful to you rather than trying to master all of them at once.
Working through the course, students should try each of the skills themselves or at least explore the drop down menus and options for themselves. So much is presented in each module that while students can wait to try things after watching an entire module, they aren’t likely to recall what to do at that point. Alternatively, they might watch a bit, pause the video to try it out then continue the video. It might be most practical to watch the course on one screen and have Excel running on another.
You’ll definitely want to continue with the Microsoft Excel 2 course after completing this one.
If you want to learn how to create and edit videos using Adobe Premiere, this course is great. It is much longer than the other two I reviewed. It consists of seven modules that each run up to about 30 minutes.
The course first introduces students to the start screen and the four sub-sections which they will use. Then it walks them through the creation of a video using audio and video files already imported by the presenter. The project is complex, combining many different segments. Students learn how to edit the audio track for the voices as well as how to add a background music track. They also learn how to add titles and to “dissolve” titles as well as audio and video tracks.
Since the goal of the course is to first teach students how to use the video editing tools without the difficulty of creating source material, the course includes downloadable audio and video files. (These are large files that will probably take quite a while to download.) Students are encouraged to work with the files provided rather than try to start from scratch, but they can use their own files if they prefer.
I knew nothing about editing videos before taking this course. I know I’ll need to refresh myself on some aspects of it, but I definitely learned enough to get started working with Adobe Premiere. There’s lots more to learn, but this course is great for getting started. What I thought was going to be a huge learning curve has been reduced to something much more doable.