Part 2: Fall 2015 Labs

19 Adobe Captivate with Dan LaValley and Josh Harder — 10.06.2015

Josh-HarderDan-LaValleyIn the Active Teaching Lab on October 6, 2015, Dan LaValley and Josh Harder from DoIT Academic Technology shared tips and best practices in using Adobe Captivate to blend teaching. They take a look at this technology and other ways to engage students in deeper learning activities.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t make more work for yourself! Adobe Captivate is a complex and complicated tool. Do you need all its complexity, or would a simpler tool work better (e.g. if you’re just narrating PowerPoint slides or doing a screencast, look to simpler tools)?
  • Keep things as simple as you can, because updating simple files in the future to newer software is less complicated than updating complex files. If your goal is to simply put your lecture and slides online, consider simpler means to do so.
  • There is a very active online Captivate community, so you can get help via YouTube or in the Adobe Captivate forum (
  • Think about the way you want to quiz/assess your students. Captivate is great for having students check themselves, but you can also link to Learn@UW quizzes (but do not try to connect Captivate with D2L gradebook — currently too buggy)
  • When importing PowerPoint files, make sure they are in the most recent version of PPT before putting them into Captivate.
  • If you want to edit your slides in PowerPoint, right-click on the slide in Captivate and select Edit with Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Preview your slides often!

If you’re interested in learning more to get up and running with Adobe Captivate, watch the videos below and try stepping through the Captivate worksheet we created for the session! Also, check out Dan and Josh’s slides from the session.

The Active Teaching Lab, a Faculty Engagement program, provides a safe space for structured explorations of cool teaching tools and techniques that your colleagues are using to engage students and teach more effectively. During the academic year, labs are held weekly and will be listed on the Active Teaching Lab page.

Dan and Josh’s Adobe Captivate Story

Here are some other similar software. These may not currently be supported by campus, but they’re still work checking out.

Finally, we have compiled all the useful resources from the session here for you. Simply work your way through the following steps, and you will find yourself ready to use Adobe Captivate.

  1. Log in to the Campus Software Library.
  2. Click on “Adobe Site License”.
  3. Scroll down to “Adobe ETLA Captivate”.
  4. Download the installer for your operating system.
  5. Run the installer to install Captivate on your laptop.
  6. Bring your laptop with Captivate installed.
  7. Bring a three slide Powerpoint file to the session.

If you’d like a more advanced look at what Captivate can do, check out “Adobe Captivate Demo for Educators” (note there are 4 parts):

If you think Captivate might be the tool for you, has extensive online tutorials. If you’ve never logged into before, check out the instructions here. Once you’ve logged in, check out the following tutorials:


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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