Posts Tagged ‘audio’

So what’s the problem with lecture recordings?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

There has been some recent commentary about the value of recording lectures at university and elsewhere (see Mark Smithers’ blog and comments). To set up and automate such a system involve high infrastructure costs, and questions being asked about the return on investment with regard to use & reuse of recordings. Just how

At my university there is a significant usage of recorded lectures, and students demand access to them. Staff are stressed over whether the recordings have worked and are of good quality. Some staff even fear that they will receive bad student evaluations if the system fails and students complain over not having access to recorded lectures to supposedly review their study.


Photo credit: Ben McLeod

I don’t want to go into the pros and cons of recorded lectures or of the systems that support them. What I wanted to write about was the process we’ve just begun of reviewing our current lecture recording system. We undertook a logic mapping workshop with relevant stakeholders from across the university and spent some time working through strengths, problems, solutions and benefits (sort of like SWOT but different).

One of the outcomes of this process was to suggest that we may need to think differently about our idea of what a lecture is. The technology has been constraining the paradigm of what we understand the lecture to be. Originally developed to be able to record the delivery of an oration and maybe also capture a series of powerpoint slide or some video, the software was modelled on the idea of one teacher talking to an audience (of students). Blended and flexible learning paradigms are showing us that the traditional oration (while appropriate in some circumstances) needs to be adjusted to support new ways of teaching and learning.

I’ve been encouraged that we will be developing a proposal and framework that understands that we may need to record more than just a stand & deliver lecture. We’ll be seeking to be able to record interactive lectures, short ad-hoc talks & presentations (with or without video). The aim then, is to also be a catalyst to help teachers come to understand different models for getting a message across.

As Stephen Downes recently argued in a debate, ‘The Lecture Must Stand’, it just needs to be adapted appropriate to the need.


there’s more than one way to deliver a podcast

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

I recently attended an Apple Roadshow that was focussed on the introduction of iTunes U in Australia. I was interested in what they’d tell us about the ‘program’ and also to see what they could provide as support for ‘workflow’ (getting podcasts uploaded).

While a little cynical about our institution having to be locked to delivering podcasts through iTunes, I was pleasantly surprised to note that this wasn’t necessarily the case. We could link to a podcast (kept in iTunes U) directly from a unit section in our LMS. So, each object has the ability to be accessed via an individual url rather then through the iTunes feed.

The other thing they told us about was the ability of iTunes U to provide access to both public and private podcasts. This means that we would be able to tag some of our material as public and freely available (say more for marketing and communication purposes), while other material could be tagged as private and only available for registered or authenticated users.

They also have a nice feature in the iTunes U server software/application called Podcast Producer that tops and tails, and watermarks each podcast to provide a uni/faculty ‘livery’ to each object. This would save a lot of time in getting podcasts delivered to production, and at least give some consistent ‘look’ to what was made available.

I suppsoe iTunes U is a lot like Lectopia (the system we currently use to record lectures live) in regard to processing the recordings, but it doesn’t do the actual lecture theatre recordings – it’s more suited for individual desktop work. I did come away with a different view on what Apple were providing and can see there could be benefits for those involved in the program.

As our institution hasn’t yet signed up for this service, it would be useful for us to at least encourage our leadership to enagage in talks and examine the usefulness of such a service for our university, both for teaching and learning, and for marketing.

a/nother resource

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

I came across the TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) Conference a while ago now (would be fantastic to get to one sometime) and try to catch one of their talks regularly because I find them inspiring and enlightening. The normal presentation format is to give speakers 18 minutes to get their presentation across (if there’s a performance piece it’s usually shorter). You can either listen to an audio or watch the video and there’s a huge range of topics and categories to discover.

The tag line of TED is ideas worth spreading and if you check out their mission statement you’ll find some suggestions on how you can use their talks and presentations.

“If you’re a teacher, consider incorporating TEDTalks into your classes. They are distributed under a Creative Commons license, and are freely available for such use, so long as you credit the source and do not distort the speakers’ intended meaning.”

Just to get you started I’d recommend a couple of thought provoking examples for you check out; the talk by Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?, then there’s the presentation by Hans Rosling: Debunking third-world myths with the best stats you’ve ever seen and don’t miss Evelyn Glennie: How to listen to music with your whole body.

If you like what you see, why don’t you join the TED community…