Movie Maker and YouTube Tips

Movie Maker

Movie MakerMovie Maker is simple to use and contains useful features. I highlighted a few here.

  1. Under Home menu, you will see the Title, Caption, Credits buttons. This is where you can add the Title slide (at the beginning of the video) and the Credits slide (where you can wrap up the video).
  2. When you click on the clip you are editing, the Edit menu pops up. This is where you can trim the clips. You can trim the beginning and the end, as well as separate in the middle. You can trim and recombine them as you see fit.
  3. One cool feature that Movie Maker has is the transitional effects. It is under Animations. Just click on one and you will see the effect on screen. There are some fun ones to pick from.



Once you upload a video to YouTube, you will come to this screen. Here are a few things to check.

  1. At the top, you will see the Upload button. You can upload additional videos from there.
  2. You can create the Playlists to combine by topics, say Statistics or a course number. That way the videos will be grouped together and any additional video will show up in the same Playlist.
  3. To make searching for your videos easier for the students, I recommend including the tags. I use my course number.
  4. Including thumbnails will make the videos look more professional, when the students see the list of videos. I have one template that I use so that all my videos have a distinct look in the thumbnail mode.
  5. And once the video is published, you will get a link to your video at the left.

There is more to both Movie Maker and YouTube, but these highlights will get you going right away!

Shortening Web Links with

bitly pufferfish

Web link (URLs) shorteners are services that help take longer web addresses (such as…) and transform them into manageable links ( There seems to be a lot of debate on which service is the best and whether using shortners is useful. I use and do find it useful in teaching. Here is why.

  1. Shorter links are more memorable and shareable. I put all my notes in my Google Drive, but sharing a Google Drive link is messy (as seen above). With the shorter link, it’s much easier to post it in the course shell, send the link over email, or use it in a live lecture.
  2. I can keep track of the number of clicks. I can see the steady increase in the number of clicks as the quarter goes on, so I know that the students are using my materials.
  3. I can create my own custom links. This is the main reason I use Back when I was looking for the shortening service, was the only one offering the custom links. I have three links of my own:
    1. – my Google Drive
    2. – my YouTube channel
    3. – my blog
  4. can also bundle URLs by theme, automatically generates bitmarks for a personal blog and more.

I recommend that you learn about URL shortening services. There are a bunch of them (,,, snipurl, The only thing is once you start using the service, it is a pain to switch over to another, so I suggest you take the time to compare what you want to do to what the service offers.

Chrome’s Hidden Features


I think which browser(s) to use is a personal choice. I do not know which browser is the “best.”  I use both Google Chrome and occasionally Internet Explorer 11. I like Chrome because it’s customizable, has a boat load of (hidden) features, and it self updates (which is an annoyance to do manually).

Did you know that the address bar in Chrome is called the “omnibox”? It’s not called the address bar because it works as a search box, and it provides a lot of other useful information. Here is a list of features I found useful:

  1. Omnibox as a calculator — just type in basic calculations directly into the omnibox and the answer appears right underneath. It converts between units too.1+1
  2. Search by dragging — If you highlight a word or phrase from a web page and “drag and drop” it into the omnibox, Chrome automatically does the search.
  3. If you accidentally close a tab, you can easily reopen it. Right click on any open tab and choose “Reopen closed tab.” Or use the Control-Shift-T keyboard shortcut.
  4. Do you see the star in the omnibox (far right)? Click on it and you can easily add the current page to your bookmark. Once added, the star will be yellow.
  5. If you have multiple tabs open and want to move to a specific tab quickly, press the Control key and a number 1 through 9. Control+1 goes to the first open tab, Control+2 to the second tab, and so on.
  6. You can use Chrome as a quick image viewer. My favorite image viewer is IrfanView, but if you need a quick view of an image, just drag the file into the Chrome browser window and voilà!

There are many many other features built into Chrome. I suggest you explore (it will be worth your time) at the Chrome Help Center.