Friday, October 06, 2006

BCCE chem screencasting Bradley talk

podcast

BCCE chem screencasting Bradley talk

JC Bradley: OK. So we only got about 10 minutes so I'll try to give you an idea what it is that we do in terms of screencasting and if you have any other questions I can certainly see you after the sessions are over.


As Mark said, we both use screencasting but we do it with different objectives and we use it in slightly different ways. Let me give you an idea of my entire course and of how it's put together and where exactly the screencasting fits in.


What I'd like to do if I can at all is to make my courses open, to have them shared with anyone who wants to have access to them and so I have moved from running my courses on a course management system like WEBCT to running them on wikis, which are just websites that are easy to change. Even students can actually change them pretty easily. And if you think about teaching you've got content, interaction and assessment. The only component that I'm currently doing on WEBCT right now is assessment, so, quizzes and tests. The students do testing under video surveillance, so the entire course could be done on-line.


The interaction I won't talk too much about here but it's basically you can do it through the blogs or email. The content is really what we are talking about. How do you generate content that is multimedia, that is available online in a simple way? And that's really where the screencasting comes in.


I'm the coordinator in the course of Arts and Sciences at Drexel, so it's my responsibility to help faculty who want to put their content online. A lot of them have the a preconceived notion that that's a very difficult and time-consuming thing to do, and it can be if you want to build something, like Flash, from scratch. But if you have very little time and if you want to leverage that time, screencasting is a really good way to do it, because as Keith showed us and Mark, if you start with a laptop, if you already teach with a laptop, you just continue teaching with a laptop, you just have to run software. We use Camtasia, which is very similar to the software that Keith is using. If you are using a chalkboard or overheads then what you need to do is to transfer over to a tablet PC, where you write on the screen and that's very, very similar to writing on a chalkboard or on an overhead. The difference is that you are going to be recording it. I'll try to end a little bit early so we can show you an example of the stuff that Mark and I were doing. The process is very simple, in fact I'm recording this right now, all I did was hit F9 and at the end I'll hit F10 and I'll save that as an avi file.


There are a number of things I can do with it. There are ways of, of - you can modularize it, so you can cut it in small pieces if you want, or you can do a podcast or vodcast. Again I haven't got time to go into details about it but I'll be happy to help anybody.


What is do my wikis look like? I have one wiki for each of my courses. I teach organic chemistry, CHEM 241, 242 and 243, and the addresses are just chem241.wikispaces.com, for example, and that's really the equivalent of what you get in WEBCT, the login page when the students first come in, so my login page just happens to be open to anyone who wants to have a look at it. And so this is based on my contents, there are all kinds of things there, connected here to the syllabus, the class blog. Let's take a look at some of these.


I use a blog to organize my screencasts and also to do a podcast, which is where you can go on iTunes, for example and download them all to your iPod. And it turns out that using a blog is a really convenient way of doing that. What it looks like is really it looks like this: This is a post from March 13. I usually write a little bit what it is that we have covered in the class, and then I link to the.mp3 file, so that's just the audio, I link to the pdf, as I'm writing on the tablet PC that file is being saved as a pdf, and then I make it available in Flash format, which is very similar to what you saw in the last talk. And I also make it available in formats that are downloadable for video.


And when the students subscribe to this - again not that much time, but basically the button at the top of all my blogs, when the students click on it if they don't know anything about RSS or blogs or anything like that it will take them through the process of subscription. Bloglines is one of the readers that I use that is pretty convenient.


The way it shows up for the students is like this: when ever there is a new post it'll show up in bold, so you can subscribe to several RSS feeds as Mark was talking about and you can know when there has been an update by using a reader, such as Bloglines.


To subscribe to the podcasts, which is either the audio or the video or the files there is a very simple way to do it. There is a button that the students can click that is at the top of my blog and what will happen is a window will pop up and there is a description of the class. Here are all of the enclosures, the files that the students are getting, and this can be when they don't have icons or audio mp3's, the ones that have a little book or pdfs, you can also do, well mp3 and pdfs can be podcasts. You can also podcast the video in the format of an m4d file, and that will show up in iTunes, or if you sync it to your video iPod - I actually brought my video iPod if any of you are curious to see - you can actually see the molecules pretty well when you're drawing the mechanism.


Students can also do blogs; I have students doing blog assignments. The advantage of that is that they can share what they are finding with other students and other students can comment on it, and students from around the world. Just a quick note: when that happens Mark and I have different results. What he observed is that he has no drop in attendance; when I do the class, you know I record the entire lecture, which is different from what Mark is doing. And I gave the students the option of coming to class and not coming to class. And the times I do that the same thing happens: attendance starts off reasonably high and then decreases to about 10 or 20 % by the time the last lecture comes up. So, now, looking at the population of students that were coming to class every time and looking at the population that did at least part of them online the averages are within one %.


So that told me, hey, maybe this is not the best way to spend my time, so since that time I have stopped doing lectures, I now assign the recorded lectures and I do workshops instead during the class time.


So we do a number of things. I'll be giving another talk on Wednesday on using games in Organic Chemistry, and so I can show you some of that. But just two points before I go here. You know these are very open and I think it's really important that we make these available if at all possible. There may be copyright issues and you can't really do it but if you have no copyright issues then, if you can make your lectures available, you'll be surprised who is interested in it.


Here is an example of a subscription to my class podcast. This is the first time I taught it, this is the second time, and actually I didn't even teach it this term. What I did is I put it on iTunes and what happened is I got 600 people that are looking at this class that is not even currently being used. So I think you'd be very, very surprised as to what kind of people are watching it, and if you look at the logs.


Everything that I talked about here can be done for free, even the tracking software and everything. The people really come from everywhere around the world, you'll really be surprised. Your students will actually be the minority contribution on your sites.


So I give you the time, maybe one minute or two to maybe show you a quick recording.


Yes. There are questions, I know. Talk to you.


So here is my CHEM241.wikispaces.


And here is the class blog. This is one of the ways. There are many ways of accessing the recorded lectures, and so, basically, if we scroll down here, right here is "Alkenes 1." This is also Flash. It's streaming so that means while it's downloading the students can watch. The connection can be a little slower but that will still be OK.


So what you can see it's very similar to what we saw earlier. So I guess I may still have time for a question or two.


Yes.

Woman: [xx] I was using a tablet PC [xx] I'm not a technophile but what happens was that [xx] had two projectors, one to show everything that [xx] and one for PowerPoint. [xx] that was kind of how I broadcast because [xx] what happened was that I got a tablet PC that I could write on and then my graduate student showed me how to play the file. And so I'm talking and it's going on at the same time. Attendance didn't drop, partly because [xx] a combination with the [xx]. This made the class more interactive [xx] and they get points for the [xx]. Then most of them are willing to come to class for [xx], whether they complete the lectures [xx], as opposed to [xx] class.



Transcription by CastingWords

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