Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

A place to share learning material: written tutorials, videos, etc.
User avatar
Joel_graff
Posts: 1653
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:23 pm
Contact:

Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

Postby Joel_graff » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:00 pm

So I recently stumbled across Synfig, which is a GPL3 animation studio.

Anyway, they produced an official beginner's course for Synfig. It's really interesting because the original author was Russian and spoke in Russian, so they decided to re-use the material, but dub in other languages. They also developed a small profit-sharing model, and have distributed the course on Udemy. I was really impressed by the clean, professional style of the first video (linked below) and thought it would be an excellent model for us to emulate here. They also keep the video lengths down - under ten minutes - which makes watching one more attractive, especially to the uninitiated.

I think the primary challenge to creating solid, comprehensive training materials is that the responsibility always lies solely on the time and expertise of one person. It's really a lot to ask, given the complexity of FreeCAD and the fact that, frankly, none of us (patreon account-holders aside ;) ) are paid to do this.

So it seems to me that to really crack this nut, we need to explore a community-driven approach. For example, I would love to provide vocal talent, and maybe video editing skills, but I really lack the expertise for providing in-depth, comprehensive content in FreeCAD as I'm not a typical parametric CAD user.

Anyway, I really think this could be something we could manage ourselves as a community, but it would require commitment from a cadre of users, devoted to specific tasks. We'd need native (or near-native) speakers for several languages, which is something that could likely be worked out as time goes on as well as people who can articulate just what makes a good training video and how to manage complex or difficult topics well and in manageable segments.


Synfig complete training course on gumroad:
https://gumroad.com/l/synfig-course-v3-en

Udemy link:
https://www.udemy.com/course/synfig-stu ... ation-en/



Youtube "making-of" presentation at LibreGraphics 2014
phpBB [video]


First video of course on youtube:
phpBB [video]


pinging yorik and kunda...
yorik wrote:ping
kunda1 wrote:ping
FreeCAD Trails workbench for transportation engineering: https://www.github.com/joelgraff/freecad.trails

pivy_trackers 2D coin3D library: https://www.github.com/joelgraff/pivy_trackers
User avatar
yorik
Site Admin
Posts: 11686
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:16 pm
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Contact:

Re: Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

Postby yorik » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:33 pm

This is really good material indeed...

I think some sort of crowdfunding campaign would be totally doable for such a project (ex. every time XXX $ is reached, a new episode gets produced). The difficulty is probably much more to assemble a team of dedicated people to do it...
User avatar
Joel_graff
Posts: 1653
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:23 pm
Contact:

Re: Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

Postby Joel_graff » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:53 pm

yorik wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:33 pm
The difficulty is probably much more to assemble a team of dedicated people to do it...
Right. And I think if we were able to more clearly delineate the tasks at hand, it might be easier to create such a team.

In my head, I've broken it down into a few specific pieces:

1. Create a course abstract / syllabus identifying and detailing the key elements to be taught
2. Script and record screen casts for various elements
3. Overdub video with language-specific narratives
4. Post produce videos / audio
5. Deploy to various platforms

It's not easy, to be sure. The most challenging aspect (in my mind) is developing a syllabus / scope for the course and scripting the videos, detailing the content. Without a firm, clear picture of exactly what the course ought to include, it's hard to expect anyone to show up to help. :)

It's also important to consider that we probably would want a series (6 - 12) of single-topic videos that are ten minutes (give or take) in length. Making shorter, single-topic videos really helps control scope creep and keep things manageable. As I learned in public speaking... if you can't effectively communicate your idea in three minutes, you probably can't do it in thirty. :)
FreeCAD Trails workbench for transportation engineering: https://www.github.com/joelgraff/freecad.trails

pivy_trackers 2D coin3D library: https://www.github.com/joelgraff/pivy_trackers
openBrain
Posts: 3351
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

Postby openBrain » Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:36 pm

Related, @rockn has developed a MOOC workbench => https://framagit.org/freecad-france/mooc-workbench
IMO I find it a very valuable way of learning.
User avatar
hacharts
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

Postby hacharts » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:55 am

Hello everyone !
First of all I'd like to thank you for all the hard work you're doing to develop this software. It isn't an easy task, especially in an industry where everyday there's a new professional software with more capabilities in many fields.
I am Moussa HACHEMI, architect (graduated as an architect) and teacher, I am now teaching architectural drafting. The main problem when working in this field in my country is finding a good software to use to make architectural drawings (except stealing of course -the easiest way-). And when I say architectural drawings I mean BIM modeling, because it's always possible to do the different tasks on multiple softwares, but it's time consuming. From the time I discovered Freecad (~a year), I wanted to use it for the production of architectural drawings, but I discovered that it's still under development so I thought about starting a tutorial series to help finetune it's workflow, but I hadn't enough time because I work on freelance projects too.
So this opportunity will give me the possibility to do it within a team, which always gives extra motivation, and I hope I'll be able to dedicate a reasonable amount of time to it. I can speak in french and arabic, and I'm in favor of being part of a team that will work on this.

Sorry for the long paragraph, and thank you for your time.

Respect,
Moussa HACHEMI.
openBrain
Posts: 3351
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

Postby openBrain » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:52 am

hacharts wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:55 am
Hello everyone !
Hi Moussa, bienvenue. :)
In case you're interested in, @dimitar also started tutorials for architects.
User avatar
hacharts
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

Postby hacharts » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:08 pm

openBrain wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:52 am
hacharts wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:55 am
Hello everyone !
Hi Moussa, bienvenue. :)
In case you're interested in, @dimitar also started tutorials for architects.
Merci beaucoup @openBrain !
Yes I saw it's videos, it's a really good start. I hope I can help
BassMati
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:39 am

Re: Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

Postby BassMati » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:30 am

Hello everyone,

I am currently documenting my learning with Realthunder's Assembly 3 Preview.

When I first started with Freecad a frew months ago, videos provided little help, because I didn't have the necessary background, so many details were lost. I whished that there was a detailed step-by-step tutorial with screenshots which I could read at my own tempo. When done, the video could provide a nice round-up, and perhaps additional details.

Videos without speech are not exactly useless, but the learning effect is rather low. (Music does not help...).

Videos with subtitles are better, but reading distracts from the screen, so many details are lost.

Videos with speech are clearly the best, so I decided to try that route.

The following workflow works for me:

1. Read the documentation about some aspect/feature/workflow of the software.

2. Think about an (abstract) scenario that is simple enough to demonstrate the feature/workflow. Try it out in a Freecad project. Proof of concept, so to say.

3. When everything is clear, second run in Freecad. Fine-grained steps are written down in HTML, many screenshots are taken to provide detailed visual feedback for the reader. Logical units of work are packaged into sections, and copies of the project file are saved and the end of each section so that each section can be retried easily (for both author and reader).

4. Proofreading, corrections, rearrangements if necessary. With this step, the textual part of the tutorial is done.

5. The text is also the "script" for the video. Recording is divided into sections, like the text. Sometimes multiple takes of a section are necessary. Bad takes are discarded.

Only mouse clicks are recorded on the audio track - I cannot easily read instructions, operate freecad and talk about what I'm doing at the same time.

This step produces a video and a mouse click audio track in separate files.

6. Speech is recorded separately, currently in German and English into a separate audio tracks.

7. Speech and mouse click tracks are combined and polished in Audacity to create the language audio track.

8. Audio track is combined with video in Avidemux, which has the ability to copy the video stream instead of encoding it. So it is fast and time-saving.

9. Repeat steps 6 to 8 for every desired language.

10. If possible, provide translations of the HTML in other languages.

Used tools: Captura, Audacity, Avidemux.

Section videos are currently not combined, they are referenced indiviually in the HTML. But that could also be done with Avidemux.
BassMati
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:39 am

Re: Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

Postby BassMati » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:37 am

The current work is published on Github, which simplifies collaboration:

https://bassmatifreecad.github.io/Freec ... /index.htm

This page has already videos, but still without audio comments. I'm working on it...

https://bassmatifreecad.github.io/Freec ... 3/link.htm

So, if there is a way to join documentation, I would really like to participate. I could offer English and German.

Best Regards
BassMati
User avatar
Celica_Supra
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:18 pm
Contact:

Re: Developing an open online course for FreeCAD

Postby Celica_Supra » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:42 am

I'm down to help. I make videos like this:
youtube.com/c/jokoengineeringhelp