podcast (mp3)streaming Flash screencastvideo iPod format (m4v)Powerpoint slides
JC Bradley: OK, it's really a pleasure to be here today, and I look forward to spending a lot of time with you. Basically, what I'm going to do today is very similar to the way that I teach my classes with the blogs and the Wikis. What I normally do is assign the students my recorded lectures, so you can kind of consider this to be the recorded lecture, although you're certainly welcome to ask me questions. And then, in the afternoon, we'll do workshops, where we can reconsolidate a lot of the stuff we're going to see in this presentation here.
JC Bradley: OK. Let's get this started. All right, so, I looked at the blog where many of you have actually put up your own experiences with the web and education, and I see that there's a great variance in what you know. Some of you now Web CT, some of you are very familiar with blogs and Wikis and most of you aren't. But basically as we go through this, I'm hoping that you'll be able to see things in a slightly different angle if you do currently use these technologies, and I would really like it if you shared with me some of your experiences as we go through this. So again, feel free to interrupt me, and if I can learn something from this, I will also be very happy.
JC Bradley: OK. So, the first thing, as I pointed out, there are a few terms that we are going to be using, so if you're not familiar with these terms, it could sound like jargon. But actually, these terms are very useful to be able to talk about what we're able to do with technology and education. The terms that we're going to come across are terms like podcasting, screencasting, vodcasting, RSS. How many of you are familiar with the term RSS? OK, so about a quarter maybe? You're definitely going to know what that is by the time we're done here. Atom, of course blogs, Wikis, and then a few services like BlogLines, Blogger and Feedburner, and a few others. What I'd like you to do as I go through this, and I'm going to be repeating these concepts in different ways. At one point I'm actually going to be giving you formal definitions, but I don't think definitions are a really good way to learn things. Usually, if you see examples, it's actually better. I will give you some definitions of these things. And as you learn what these things can do, what I'd like you to do is jot down things that you think are interesting and true like for example, this symbol right here how many of you have seen this? OK, maybe a third of you. So, you will learn that that means an RSS feed. So if you can list some things that are true, other things such as Wikis are addictive it's fine if it's something that's more objective, that would be great. The reason for this is that if you're going to come to gaming workshop in the afternoon, I'll show you how to take those comments and we'll turn them into a game, that after we're all done, everyone will have access to. And we'll be able to teach other people a lot this technology. The game is a game because you know what's true from what's false, so if you could come up with things that are false, that are not that intuitive. For example, a lot of people think that podcasting requires and iPod. And I wanted to dispel that myth because actually, that has nothing to do with the iPod. You can use the iPod but actually, most people don't. So, things like that that you're surprised by, put them in there as false statements.
JC Bradley: All right so let me give you a framework for all the things I'm going to be talking about. I use a Wiki-centric open courseware model. So that's the first thing. I'm big into open courseware, big into being able to share my class with anybody in the world who actually wants to have access to it, and so a lot of the things that we'll be talking about are not meant for controlling. I will give you a few ways that you can password protect your things, but in general, I will be giving you solutions where you can share your stuff openly. Generally, that's called open courseware, and a Wiki is actually a great way to do that, and I'll show that to you. The reason it's called Wiki-centric is that the Wiki is really the starting place for where the students go. That's a little different than normally, if you're using a course management system, a CMS like WebCT or Blackboard, generally the students will start at that position, and you'll have all your content there. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, it's just that those systems are designed to keep people out, so they're not great for open courseware. Whereas if you use something like the Wiki and blogs, these tend to get indexed very quickly by search engines such as Google, so people can actually find your stuff. And I'll show you how you can tell how people have actually found your websites and your class information.
JC Bradley: So just to orient you here a little bit, we have three components not just in online education but in education in general, I think. If you're going to be teaching someone something, you're going to need content. You've got to have something to say, and that can be either text, images, if it's a live presentation like this our content right now is live, it could be games. I'll show that to you at the very end, and of course there's the workshop. And it can also be multimedia, which I'll be spending a little bit more time on. In multimedia, I'll be particularly focusing on lecture recording, and then delivering that content through podcasts and vodcasts. That's the first thing you need to have. The second thing is you need to be able to interact with your students. I'm interacting with you by speaking to you in real time, but if you're 100 percent online, you can't do that obviously, so email is one mode of communication. We'll see how you can use a blog to communicate with your students, and then we'll add workshops. So what I'm doing here is very different from what I'll be doing with you in the workshop, because right now I have very little feedback as to what you understand. Even if I did, not all of you are at the same level, so it's very difficult for me to be able to give you a customized experience. That's one of the advantages of the workshop and why I no longer give lectures. I assign my recorded lectures and I do workshops with students so I can spend as much time as I can one on one, working with each one. Yes?
Audience member: How is this different from WebCT?
JC Bradley: The question is, "How is this different from WebCT?" Well first of all, the Wiki is open, it's indexed in Google so anyone can access it. WebCT you need to have a username and password to get in. Another useful thing about the Wiki is your students can actually update your course content for you if you want to. In a Wiki, you can set it up so that anyone can modify. In fact, that's the default setting. Anyone in the world can modify your page. I'll show you why that's actually not dangerous. It turns out that if somebody does come in and does something that you don't want them to, you can revert to a prior version of the Wiki, so it's really not that big of a deal. That's why Wikis tend to work because there's more good people than bad people that have the patience to keep destroying what you're trying to create. And I've frankly never had anyone actually do anything nefarious to my Wiki. Ok, so that's the interaction part. The third part is the assessment. In order to know that I have taught something, I have to be able to assess it, and typically we do this using tests. Assessment, though, can also mean surveys, and WebCT has a great survey tool that I've actually used as I was developing the recorded lecture format. I could do that, and then right after, I could give my students a survey, and they could give me feedback as to what they liked, what they didn't like. So, it's not that I'm saying don't use a course management system but what I find it to be good for is mainly assessment, because there you in fact have the security. You can validate that it is that student coming in, and there are various ways that you can do that. And the other thing is with assessments is that I don't have to count. One of the things that I use in WebCT is quizzes on chapters that I don't actually grade. The students can come in and they can keep taking it over and over again, and it doesn't actually matter. In fact, on my evaluation students said, "Well, I wish you would force me to take the quizzes by having it worth something 5-10%," And I did that, and it did not affect the number of students who did the quizzes. It just caused me a big headache to go through 150 quizzes, one per chapter. Having quizzes that don't count is a really useful way to help your students assess themselves.
JC Bradley: Another way to look at e-learning is not just that we have these three components, but that there's more than one way that you can connect them together. I just talked to you about using a course management system like WebCT or Blackboard, and that's your default probably now at most of your institutions. Well, you will for example use the discussion feature in WebCT, for example. We already talked about using quizzes to test, and you can deliver your content there. You can put content directly inside a WebCT so that your students can access it but nobody else can. That's great if you want to have a closed environment. But we'll see that you can also have other platform blogs or Wikis, and you can have other platform games. Throughout my talk you'll be seeing how these little signs that talk about the platform and the channel and whether I'm using interaction content or assessment, so all of those are pretty redundant. It turns out that games are very good for some types of students, for some type for learning, and some type of teachers. That also matters. The idea is that you give students the ability to choose the channel that they want to use to learn. That's why I'm using a 3D model here, which is that I think the real power in technology is that it gives the choice to the student. That's why you see those little tags.
JC Bradley: So, what is this all about? I saw some of you really don't have a clue as to what we're talking about when we talk about blogs, Wikis and all this new technology. And I was trying to think of a way to summarize really what's so different about it, and why people you know, why Beth's excited and why she's talking to people about it. It's really because it's a new way to communicate ideas, to share ideas with other people. In the model that we're all used to, we have somebody that wants to send you information, and they'll use, for example, email or the phone. And they will push that on to you, and you have little choice in taking it. Now, you can decide what to do, you can create filters, and, for example, try to figure out if something is spam or not. But still, you have to do the work for that, and it's not perfect. You have to do a lot of work. And the phone I still get calls five or six times a day from telemarketers on my cell phone, and I've called the phone company up to see if they can block that number, and they told me they can't on a cell phone. That's ridiculous. I mean, that makes it very unpleasant for people to use these types of technologies. So this works if the sender and the receiver are on the same page, if they are looking for the same thing, if they're trying to achieve the same thing, but it does have a problem that people can spam you. They can force you to take in information you don't want. So that's a push model. The new model that I'm going to be discussing is more of a pull model, where the receiver is going out and subscribing to sources of information. There are sources of information. A typical one is a blog. If I have a blog, the only way that you're actually going to read it is if you subscribe to it. You have to make the effort once to subscribe to it, and if you ever don't want my information, you unsubscribe to me, and there's no way for me to force you to take it. All right, so basically, this is a very different model. A podcast is exactly the same thing, it's the same model. Wikis there is a way to use Wikis, especially the ones that I will be showing you Wikispaces where you can create a feed and we updated the Wiki this morning. If you were subscribed to that, you would've gotten our word that said there's new information, and then this is what the new information is. But again, you have to make an effort to pull the information.
JC Bradley: Now, this whole pull concept is based on this technology called RSS. What that stands for there's a few things that it stands for, most of the time people say that it means "Really Simple Syndication." And you have the concept here with the syndication of the subscription model, where you have to subscribe to an information source. And again, just to reiterate, it puts the receiver, not the sender, in control. Of course you have to have the sender create the feed, to create the information source, but that will not do anything unless you are looking for that information. There are lots of ways that you can actually find that. If you know that you want the information from my blog, for example, and if you know my blog address, you can go and look for it specifically. But let's say you get really interested in RSS, for example. You don't just want to know what I have to say about, you want to know what anyone has to say about it. What you can do is use, for example, MSN. There's an RSS feature in it where you can search for RSS and then click on a button and it will create a feed for you, so that if RSS shows up anywhere in a blog or on a web page you will know about it. Those are the things that I can show you also at the workshop. So if you do come to the games workshop, if you have other things that you want to look at, I'd be very happy to sit down with you and show you how to do this, so write this down as I'm going through the things you'd like to learn ore about. So, RSS another thing is that it connects the right sender and the right receiver, so everybody's happy in that model. Nobody's doing things that they don't want to do, they're not getting things that they don't want. The good thing about that is that you can't be spammed.
JC Bradley: OK, so what does this look like? So now, with this new model of showing information, what we have are all happy people. You have people it's really a network. If you're not part and I like to talk about the RSS divide where the people who are using RSS are communicating with each other at a speed that is based on hours. Like, when something happens, it propagates using RSS very, very quickly, and then the rest of the world finds out about it and it usually takes months to go to print, or by the time a TV station knows about it, and by that time the information is so diluted it's kind of hard to figure out what it was originally. It's always interesting because we really do have this divide, and it's not because people have technology and other people don't, it's a knowledge issue. It's because you don't know first if it's available, and secondly how easy it is to do it. By the end of the day you will know and you will have the choice to join that.
JC Bradley: OK, so what are the things that we are communicating? Well, in blogs and Wikis the major thing is text. And in podcasting, the major thing is audio, not always, but usually it's audio files. When we talk about a vodcast, we're talking about video and the video iPod is being passed around with that recording. So that was an example of a vodcast. If you subscribe to the vodcast that was set up yesterday, you will get that on your video iPod in the same way. And a screencast is also a video, although it's not necessarily done through RSS. And again, that will become clearer as we go through.
JC Bradley: So, what does it actually look like? I took some screenshots in case I wouldn't have access to the internet. That was almost the case, so I'm glad I did, but hopefully at the end, if we have time, I'll go through and take a look live at what these things look like. Basically, this is my Chem 242 class. This is an organic chemistry class. When students are either interested about my class or actually taking it, they will go to chem242.wikispaces.com, and the page they end up with is the starting page. Right away, I tell them what this is, that this in fact the starting place. If they forget where stuff is, this is where they need to come to. If they go into WebCT, all WebCT will do is say, "Here's a quiz and go to the Wiki." So this is really the place where I can link all the other things that are relevant to the class. I give usually one introductory lecture because a lot of the students are not familiar with the recorded lecture system. So basically, the first lecture is live, but it's also recorded, and then I basically put a link to it. All right, so this would be a link. If you click on it, it would basically show you the screencast. And after that point, we have the archives, which are available in a number of formats. OK, so just the simple stuff to get out of the way the syllabus, the FAQ, all those things that's entirely as to how you want to do it. If you wanted to, for example, have your FAQ as part of your syllabus, that's very simple to do. These links are just links that you create on the fly as you see the need for them. So this is not something that I sat down and thought, "How am I going to design this Wiki so that my students can learn best?" I basically just whenever I thought I needed something, I added it, and if I got feedback that it was confusing, I changed it, and that's the power of the Wiki. Theoretically, the students can come in and they can put their own notes, for example, and I'll show you how to do that. To actually look at the classes, in this particular instance I did put it through WebCT because some of this material has copyrighted stuff in it that I can't make public, so there's another way around that. But one of the things is you can always just put a link directly in WebCT so that it will record the lectures. This is also available as a podcast, so if you have your video iPod, you will actually see it on your as a video, the way that it's passing around.
JC Bradley: I give links to other resources. It turns out that right now, there's a tremendous amount of information that is available that's free, that's open. For organic chemistry, for example, there are a few text books we're talking about 1200 page text books that are every bit as good as the stuff that students are paying $150 for every term, and it's just completely freely available. If you weren't sure what was available, I can try to look with you to see if in your area some of that stuff is there, but it's just amazing what's happened, especially in the past year, in terms of really high quality information. We've got some other stuff we'll look at here when we go live.
JC Bradley: all right, so I'm going to revisit this concept of open courseware. I'm not necessarily trying to convince anybody that they should make their course open, but if it's something you were thinking about, there are tools that I'm going to give you that you can actually use. You might want to think about it for the following reason: a podcast is an audio recording of your lecture, so a podcast doesn't make a sound if it's behind a firewall. So if you have a podcast or an audio recording or even a video recording and it's in WebCT, and the only people who ever see it are your students, and then when your class is over no one ever sees it again, does it matter? Well, it mattered for the 50 students you had, but it doesn't matter for the student in Africa or in China who's looking for information on your class. It doesn't matter to them. So, what's happening right now, is that because technology is so simple and cheap that anyone can do it. Anyone in the world can do it. So, I'm teaching organic chemistry. There's lots of teachers around the world. Any one of them can do this, and a lot of this technology is completely free. If anyone can do it, then someone will do it. My reasoning is basically either be the first or be forgotten. After you finish your career, that's nice, you have all your recorded lectures that are behind a password, and nobody's going to care. But if you put them if you make them available, they're going to be on Google, student sand not just students, it's just amazing the people that email. For example, the most interesting case I had was a guy who wanted to follow my lectures because his fiance was in organic chemistry and he wanted to spend more time with her, so he wanted to learn a little bit more, which he did. It's just fascinating to see how people are using your courses, and you can't know that unless you actually take that step. This is what's happening right now. Five years ago, this wasn't the case, absolutely. But right now, we're talking about how quality open courseware will be inevitable. That means that if you want to know anything, all you basically need to do is go on Google and you will be able to have your pick. Right now, in organic chemistry we have Berkeley that has the full recorded videos, and Haverford I think is the other one. I'm talking here about full university recorded lectures. UNC level stuff. In the high schools, I don't know. I've been looking basically for university level, but I'm sure that it's out there. Question?
Audience member 2: Is it the whole university, or just a part of it, like Berkeley and Haverford?
JC Bradley: The question is "Is it all the university?" No, it's generally going to be course by course. Berkeley just happens to have a pretty good infrastructure for their video recordings. They actually do the video, but they do a good job with going to the board, or going to the projection, so it's actually pretty good. The screencast, you're not going to see my face on the screencast at all, it'll just be what's written on the screen, so it's usually cheaper and easier to do it that way. But no, you have to keep checking. If you wanted to go to Berkeley's site, they have it all listed very nicely. Some places don't have it centrally organized, like Drexel doesn't, so if you're looking for organic chemistry and just happen do find my recorded lecture, and if another professor is doing it, you'll just happen to find it by searching for him. It really depends on the university. Question?
Audience member 3: I couldn't imagine teaching chemistry in high school online. I just couldn't imagine it.
JC Bradley: The question is that she can't imagine teaching chemistry using a recorded lecture.
Audience member 3: Yeah, are you actually in the classroom doing that, or is this online period, like students don't even come to you?
JC Bradley: Yeah, so currently, the students can come to workshops.
Audience member 3: OK.
JC Bradley: But the actual lectures are recorded.
Audience member 3: Recorded. So if anyone wanted to get information?
JC Bradley: Yes.
Audience member 3: They have to go to your website, right?
JC Bradley: Right.
Audience member 3: Basically, and are you showing us what a lecture looks like?
JC Bradley: I will show you what a - yeah. I will show you all the stuff and I'll give you data as to how students behave and how it affects their performance, also. Yes, question?
Audience member 4: Do you have to host is the Wiki hosted somewhere, or....
JC Bradley: The question is how to host your Wiki. The solution that I'm giving you the reason I'm repeating the question is because the people that are going to watch the screencast will not hear the questions in the back, so I'm repeating them. The question is "Are Wikis hosted?" It depends on the service. The one that I'm recommending, which is Wikispaces, the one that we'll be using, that one is hosted for you, which is very nice. I think all of the solutions I'm giving you, you don't need to have a server. That's the other really exciting thing that's happening. It's not just that software is free, but the companies are actually hosting it for you for free. Things like Youtube. You can actually put your video they'll host it, they'll make sure the connection is great, it's high bandwidth, it's just incredible what is available right now completely for free. And that's changing how we can teach. Now if you wanted to run your own Wiki, like if you get Mediawiki, you can install it on your own server, you will have more control. But not everybody, me included, wants to run and host my own server. It's a pain because you're responsible for it. What are you going to do when it goes down, if it gets hacked, so I trust services, like Wikispaces is now owned by Google, so I trust that. That's probably not going to go down. And they have some very good backup features. You can actually export your whole Wiki into a website format and it's got all the files and everything in there, so it's safe from that standpoint. Question.
Audience member 5: How can college and university administrators feel about this kind of thing as opposed to WebCT where the college and university feel that they have some kind of ownership of the course?
JC Bradley: So the question is "How do the administrators feel?" I guess some aren't too happy, and that's going to depend on your institution. It's all going to depend on your institution, what kind of relationships you have, and remember that I'm just suggesting one way to do it. Your institution may in fact already be hosting Wikis. You have to ask. And if they are, that's great. You can go and you can use it. But what do you do when they don't host it? Drexel does not currently support blogs or Wikis officially, so in order to do it, I would have to use or host my own server, or I could use one of these solutions.
Audience member 5: How do they feel about you having your course on a Wiki?
JC Bradley: At my institution it's fine. There's not a problem. At my institution. That might vary, I'm sure. Anything else? Yeah?
Audience member 6: What was the software that you mentioned that you would have to have on your server to provide Wikispaces? Is it Mediawiki?
JC Bradley: Yeah, in order to host your own Wiki, Mediawiki is a pretty popular one, and I think that's the same one that Wikipedia runs on. Question? Yep?
Audience member 7: Where do the words Wiki and blog come from? Are they acronyms for something?
JC Bradley: Does anyone know where Wiki comes from?
Audience member 8: Hawaiian.
JC Bradley: Yeah, it's Hawaiian. It's actually supposed to be wiki-wiki. It means fast in Hawaiian, apparently. Blog is just weblog. It's a condensing of the terms. And by the way, all these questions, the best way to answer these is to go to Wikipedia wikipedia.org. And if you type in blog, it will tell you all that stuff and a lot more. It's a pretty good source for this kind of stuff, for finding out the origins of things.
Audience member 8: [inaudible]
JC Bradley: Wikipedia.
Audience member 8: Oh, Wikipedia.
JC Bradley: Yeah. OK. all right, so, I'm talking a lot here about open courseware, and there's a reason a lot of people don't do it, and I'm going to go through it, and you can decide if it's a factor for you. One of the issues is the time risk. Now that's actually not specific to open courseware, you'll actually have the exact same question if you're using WebCT. The issue is if you want to put part of your course online or your course completely online, how much time is this really going to take? A lot of faculty have been scared by horror stories of taking an entire summer to create one course, and I don't want to do that, and I think most of the faculty don't want to do that. The only solutions that I'll be talking to you about are solutions that take very little time to do that have a really high impact. Screencasting is one of those technologies. It's something that takes 10 minutes to learn how to do, and you don't really have to change the way that you're teaching, and it has a huge impact. Again, I'll show you data points I'll tell you about performance and things like that.
JC Bradley: The second point, the second problem is the failure risk. What if you get excited here today, you want to do this, you go out, what happens if you fail? What I suggest you do with these things is not to do an entire switch from one term to the next, but to take I'll show you another screen hereto take small steps where you would, for example, record probably your teaching you'd have an online component just start recording. Don't even tell your students necessarily that you're doing it, just start recording. Take a look at it. If you're happy with it, then make it available as just an additional bonus so you're not putting yourself in a position where if the technology fails and you've already promised students that you would have this. That's a pretty good way to do it. You do it term by term, you keep getting more aggressive with it, until finally, if you want to, you have a fully online course. So that's how you deal with that.
JC Bradley: The other issue is the intellectual property risk. Basically, all of my courses are using the creative commons license. They are available for use by anyone, as long as they attribute it to me, so if you want to use my specific lecture on cardiology, I welcome you to actually put a link to my course. You just have to tell me that you do. Now, if you don't like that idea, open courseware is probably not for you, because if you put the stuff out there and tell people that they can't use it, they probably will anyway, so you're just putting yourself in a situation that's not beneficial. If you wanted to look at this and say "I have this great course and I'm going to put it behind a firewall and charge money for it," you can try and do that. Right now, the environment is really pretty hostile to that. There was a university that was charging their students $5 for podcasts, and that went down really badly because podcasting has evolved from the open source people, evolved from the open source mentality. You can certainly do it. On Google Video, you can charge for content, but the problem is is that for education, it's a little bit difficult to do that because there's an expectation that it's free. What will happen is that again, if you're doing that, other teachers will be putting their stuff on there for free, and they will just be ignoring your stuff. If you want to consider that, it really comes down to what you value in terms of your teaching. If you think that you have something to offer, there are other ways of getting rewarded for it and it's probably not a very effective way to do it, but I don't know, maybe somebody will make a huge amount of money selling their lectures.
JC Bradley: The other issue is the institutional recognition. Currently, if you're shooting for tenure, it's probably not the best thing to put all your eggs in this basket because it's really widely accepted right now. If you spend all your time creating all those great open courseware or even if it's not open, if you're just converting your lecture sunless you're actually doing chemical education, it would probably be controversial. So, what is the institutional recognition? I don't know. That's going to depend on your institution. But right now, there isn't a lot for this. But I think that's actually going to change because one of the things that happens when you put your courses on like this, is that you get a lot of these students that weren't necessarily interested in Drexel, but now they happen to be listening to this course. And so if they are deciding where they want to go. Well I get emails where students asking, "Can I just take one course?" And yeah you can if you, you know if you want to get credit for it certainly, you're going to have to pay for it, to register at Drexel as a non matriculated student, and then you can do it that way.
JC Bradley: So I really view these as being a great recruitment took actually for your institution. And when you go on Google, and you, if you type "biology lecture" and I'm sure there's millions of hits, and you're in the top ten of that. That's pretty cheap advertising actually. Ok, so I think that once administrators start to see how, like the value of that. I think that there is going to be a shift, you know towards how it's assessed. But right now, you know, I wouldn't count on it. Ok, so for the approaches for open course where there's two major The first one is the top down approach, where the systems like, MERLOT. I don't know how many of you have heard of that. There's all kinds of different software packages that are out there, where they will actually host your course, and they make it open, and you know it's basically just, it's a course management system, but it just happens to be open. And some of them have of a formal peer review system so if you have a lecture, you submit it MERLOT works with a peer review. You submit it to MERLOT and they pass it around and they get evaluations from you know, trusted sources, and then it eventually ends up being on there. And it's got institutional oversight so it has the stamp of, you know, connections for example, Rice runs it, got the Rice name, that's backing it. That's not what I'm going to be showing you, because well there's a lot of problems with this, I mean basically you have to wait a long time. You have to do it exactly the way that they want you to do it. So if they're not doing screencast, for example, like a lot of them are doing HTML, so you have to have, like your course packaged in a certain way, I don't have any HTML to speak of, mine are recordings. So it doesn't really fit like that. So if you're looking at that, there is some advantage to it, and that you know it's probably more respectable. But if you use the bottom-up strategy, such as using blogs, Wikis, podcasts, and other RSS technologies, there's nothing stopping anyone in the world from creating it and it having the indexing in Google. And if your stuff is good, people will link to it, and if they link to it, it floats up when people do a Google search. So it automatically gets assessed whether you like it or not, so those are the two ways and you know as you can probably guess, I kind of favor the bottom one because it is so quick. And because you can do it exactly the way that you want to do it. I'm sure that what I'm doing here, you know you won't agree with everything, and that's great cause then you can configure it to the way that you want. If you don't like the video, for example, you certainly don't have to include it. Ok, check the time here. Yes?
Audience member: Quick question, what you said about the Google, the more somebody goes to a blog, higher it goes Google search it.
JC Bradley: The question is how Google determines the ranking pretty much? Well, no one really knows I think exactly how they do it, but I do know that if you have a blog, and you're really active and people linking to you and you're linking to people, you go, you float up really quickly. And I think they do look at activity, a lot, I think they look at how, you know when was your last post, for example. And they do look at who's linking, I can show you how to tell all that. You can tell how people are linking to you, and it'd be very surprising. Sometimes you just see some Japanese page and you know, your name shows up, it's pretty interesting how people are finding information. But, yeah, the thing with Google, a lot of people have found it, you know fix it, or to try to do things that will promote their site. Actually if you just do your job, you'll show up, if you just focus on what it is that you're trying to do and you're active you know you will float up there. Yes?
Audience member: Question, someone's on dial up, how far do you think they will blog float up... podcast, you have anybody in your class who's on a dial up connection?
JC Bradley: That's a great question, it has to do with the dial up, what happens when students have different bandwidths? Actually dial up is the reason why I got into podcasting because I was doing screen casting for all of my lectures and it was streaming with media all the time. And what happened is, the students said, "I can watch it easily when I'm on campus, but I have dial up at home and it takes forever you know to look at the screen casting." And they said, "Could you please make them available, can you just make the audio available so that I can look at class notes and follow along?" And I looked into it and you know, at that time, basically podcasting was starting to come up, and I looked into it and learned how to do it, and in fact that's how I got started. So the idea that I'm going through here is that I'm just giving you a whole bunch of channels. So one channel is screen casting, if you have high-speed connection, that's great. Another channel is podcasting, and now another channel is vodcasting, so the student is if they have a video iPod, they can come on campus, sync up their video iPod, and then go home or the beach or whatever they want to do and they don't need the internet at all to access. So it's all about choices, depending on the technology you have. Ok, so being able to tag, I was telling you about, if the platform is a blog for example where you want to put links for WebCT, and you're trying to communicate content. All right, one of the channels is screen casting, so I'm going to take a couple of minutes just to do some definitions. You can probably already guess what all these terms mean but let's just be really specific. So Screencasting, the way I define it is the delivery of audio and screen capture recordings via download or streaming media links. So in the term screencasting, it has in it that whatever is showing up on the screen is going to show up when the person is viewing it. But screencasting doesn't have the strong connection necessarily with downloading it or streaming, it could be either. Yes?
Audience member: What is streaming?
JC Bradley: Streaming is when you click on video link usually and it's not finished downloading but it already allows you to start watching it. So that's streaming. And with streaming you don't copy the file down onto your computer. Once you click away from the site, it's gone. Now podcasting, is the automatic distribution of audio files to computers or portable audio devices to a subscription system, so the key term here is automatic. People have been putting their mp3s on their websites for a long time, that's not particularly new. What makes it podcasting, and this is a real pet peeve to the people who got involved early in podcasting, is when she just called podcast just a link from a website, they get really annoyed cause it really misses the point, that it's through a subscription system it's when you click on the RSS feed, and you don't have to do anything else. From that point forward whenever there's a new recording it'll automatically get downloaded onto your computer. So that's fine, that's still podcasting. You don't have to have an iPod to see a podcast. And if you happen to have an iPod you can sink to it so it will copy, like iTunes is a good pod catcher. The point is it's a subscription. You don't have to keep going back to the website and remembering to download it. So that's really key. And vodcasting is the video analog of that. Again automatic distribution of video files to computers or portable audio devices through a subscription system. So again vodcasting, the streaming would not be considered by most people a vodcast. Question?
Audience member 9: I want to see if I have this right. If we search if we go on the internet and watched a site such as MSNBC and they're showing a video of something and has audio in it, is that screencasting?
JC Bradley: If it's just a video?
Audience member 9: No if it's both.
JC Bradley: If it has what's on the screen? I mean I don't think that the news stations ever do any screencasting.
Audience member 9: If you click on MSNBC you can actually see a news broadcast and hear it at the same time.
JC Bradley: So a news broadcast, that's something that would show up on the TV, right? But it's not something that would show up on your computer screen?
Audience member 9: No it shows on the computer screen too.
JC Bradley: Well generally a screencast would be what my computer's producing. So right now, this is the video.
Audience member 9: Oh, so because it's not producing on your computer but coming in from an outside source, it's not screencasting.
JC Bradley: Yeah, the word screen in the term screencasting refers to the one that's doing the recording. I mean if I were to actually play a video and recorded it, yeah I guess technically it would be. But normally a news feed would not be screencasting because it's a physical video. Sometimes you'll have screencasts where the person that's being videotaped will show up on the corner. That's still screencasting as long as whatever's showing up on the screen. Question?
Audience member 10: ok what I hear you saying is screencasting is the transmission of what's on your screen and your computer.
JC Bradley: Yeah.
Audience member 10: But ok I was under the impression it would be like any video you could theoretically download like news or whatever.
JC Bradley: No, vodcasting covers any video pretty much. And again, these terms wikipedia would be your reference because there are a lot of subtleties in it and people tend to get annoyed when you deviate from their definition. Yeah?
Audience member 11: This is more to podcasting, vodcasting, and the question about just going to a TV station or even a radio network site source and you can listen to a audio file story or you can bring up a news story like on CNN's website that is airing currently. You bring in the subscription here, that's what it's called a subscription. Anybody can go there and hear an audio file or a video file as a one time thing. This is more an ongoing relationship to continually get the stories?
JC Bradley: Yeah the question is can you access an audio file once?
Audience member 11: Educational learning materials.
JC Bradley: Well, basically it doesn't have to be educational. It can be anything, any kind of content. The term "subscription," the way that I'm referring to it here, you'll see that in the workshops actually. If you have iTunes, are you familiar with iTunes? If you have iTunes that does all RSS, that does all subscription. So like on NPR, for example, they do have podcasts. Once you're subscribed, that's it. It'll automatically download to your computer. You're going to have to unsubscribe if you don't want that to happen. So it's an ongoing relationship. Exactly. Exactly.
JC Bradley: All right, so let's move on here. I've already a lot about this here where if you're going to go from an offline model to a fully online model. The key reason I'm recommending screencasting, specifically, is that currently if you're teaching using either overheads or chalkboard or if you're using a laptop, basically it doesn't require a great deal of change in the way that you teach because what you would be doing with a Tablet PC is you would write on it, okay? So that's actually really convenient. I mean most teachers use either a chalkboard or an overhead or something like that. So having a Tablet PC and for my college I purchased a few tablet PCs that the faculty can sign out so that's a pretty convenient way to do it. And it's pretty cost effective. I mean they're about the same price as a normal laptop but they have that capability that you can write. And for something like chemistry, it's really difficult to do unless you have a Tablet PC. You have to be able to draw it and I'll be able to show that to you.
JC Bradley: The actual process of the recording, if you were watching me when I was starting this presentation, there was Camtasia, the little box was there and I started recording. Now this is currently recording everything that's showing up on the screen. It's also recording my audio. And when I'm done, I'm just going to click on F10 and it'll stop the recording and I'll save that as an AVI file. And then after that point, in order to distribute it, to do something with it, the AVI is not a great format to give it to people so generally you can convert it to flash, which will be streaming. So for you people who have slow connections that's important and you can do all kinds of things with that AVI file. One of the things you can do is you can chop it up into little pieces so if your lecture is an hour, you can actually divide up. You can record it in one full stretch, then you can chop it up, you can edit it, you can remove parts that you don't like or whatever you want to do. You can edit the audio. There's all kinds of things you can do. I happen to use Camtasia although there's other tools for that. And it's also from this AVI that you can create the podcast or the vodcast. I almost always create the podcast, the audio part of this from the AVI because I have the video and the audio. Most people who do podcasting just don't bother with the video at all. They would use a tool like Audacity to record only the audio and then convert that to an mp3. So it depends what you have available. What I'll be showing you have video and audio so you'd be doing it a little differently.
JC Bradley: All right, let me go through a few of these other examples. So in terms of having a platform as a blog, what does it actually look like? So I have also the stuff that I'm showing you here I already have recordings of how to do this. So I have an 18 minute recording that takes you from nothing to creating a blogger account, creating all these little buttons, these subscription buttons, creating a Feedburner account, and then actually creating a full podcast. So what you won't remember here, if you don't have time to do it, if you go to the Wiki there's a link and you can actually go to my tutorial and you can learn how to do that. So there are a lot of little things that you have to do but once you've done it once it's pretty simple. But all of my blogs look like this for that reason, that I use the same kind of template. So here are links, right? If the students, for example, don't use podcasting. They want a subscription, for example. They can still go and download the lectures. They can come into the blog and individually download every mp3 or individually download every PDF. If you want to you can do that, but I don't know why you'd want to do that when you can just go in iTunes and subscribe once to it. They definitely have that option.
JC Bradley: How do they know, like if you have a class blog and you have a new post, how do people know that you've actually had something new? What you need is an RSS reader, or a feed reader, and the one that I recommend is BlogLines because, first of all, it's free, not all of them are. Second, it's online, it's 100% online. There's no software to download. That's nice because you're not dependent on one computer. You can go onto any computer and log into your BlogLines account, and it actually has some really nice features. It has good usability. One of the things that's nice is that I can put a "subscribe with BlogLines" button right on my blog. And the students don't have to know anything about RSS or blogs. They just have to click on that button and it will take them through creating an account. That's actually really useful.
JC Bradley: There are people who are saying that students are really tech savvy, and I can assure you that a lot of them are not. You really have to start with no assumptions at all, which is another reason that I do workshops, because I can spend that first week with them showing them how to do a lot of this stuff. It's really simple, but if they have never done it, they don't know, right? That's one reason I like BlogLines. The way it actually shows up is like this. These are all feeds, all right? So this Chem 241 is one of my classes, Chem 243 another one of my classes. JCB class is actually my FAQ, and whenever there's something new, it shows up in bold and tells you how many new items there are. For example, the JCB classes has one new item. That could either be because there's a new FAQ, or it could be that I modified an old entry, which is really convenient. Like a normal website, if you go in and modify something you did in the past, it's really hard to tell. But using RSS and using BlogLines and using blogs in general, if you modify anything it'll show up as a new item.
JC Bradley: The way it'll show up is like this, on the right. It's basically, this is Lecture 17. I usually write a very small blurb about what that particular lecture was about and then I put the links to the mp3, the PDF, and I have it streaming here. This little pink enclosure, this is your actual podcast. In BlogLines it will show up as an enclosure. BlogLines is not able to read the podcast automatically. For that you need something like iTunes. iTunes is by far the most popular podcatcher out there. So BlogLines will not download files, but iTunes will. This stuff here, I guess, Doug, you're going to do something with that? It's actually pretty simple when you go through it. You can make your feed compatible with iTunes. Yes?
Audience member: [inaudible]
JC Bradley: The question is, who has iTunes? Yes, it's the students who have iTunes, and what you would do, there's actually a button I'll show you here. I've put a button, iTunes Podcast, and again, they don't have to know anything. They just click on that button and this is what happens. My class comes up and there's a "subscribe button." They just click on that button and they're done, basically. I think if they don't have iTunes, I think it'll actually take them to iTunes.com and it will ask them to download it. It's actually. Yeah? OK. So here are the lectures. You'll see in iTunes little book icons. PDFs show up as little books. The video I threw up are little TVs, and the ones that don't have icons are the mp3s, the audio.
JC Bradley: Again, podcasting, you can podcast not just mp3s but also PDFs. Now, we were talking about password protection and I said I would tell about another way to view it. Some of the material I still unfortunately have a lot of publisher material in it, and I'm in the process of removing it. So for the stuff that I haven't removed it yet, what's nice with iTunes is that if you have a file that you put behind just a simple HTML password protection, iTunes will pop up the user name and password for you. That's pretty good, actually, because that's not very difficult to do but it does mean that you need to have a server with someone who knows how to do that, how to set up actual password protection. It's a little trickier to create the actual feed because, when you create the Feedburner feed, it will verify that those files exist but if you have a password-protected file, when it tries to check it, it will say there's no file there because it doesn't have the password. If you want to do password protection it's a lot more difficult, OK?
JC Bradley: To clear up another misconception, for the video iPods, it uses an mp4 or an m4v format, and that can give you also on your computer screen. Here's an example of, on iTunes, one of my lectures. In iTunes in the lower left, this is usually where the video plays. If you didn't know, if you click on it, it'll pop open a window and you can make that window larger if you want. If you try to view the files, the mp4 files, just using Quicktime, I don't think there's a way to make the screen bigger. Maybe there is but I don't know. In iTunes you can. The quality is not quite as good as the screencast, as the flash, like I don't know if you guys can see this, it's a little fuzzy. It's still quite readable but it's a little bit fuzzy. What you get is pretty good, though, for the amount. For a one-hour file, they usually come out at about 50 megs, which is quite reasonable to expect students to download. We have people that are doing podcasting where the files are as big as one gig and that's just not doable. If you're interested in it, this actually turns out, it looks really good on the video iPod. I can show you. If you're in chemistry, you want to see what does it look like when you draw the molecule, I can definitely go through that.
JC Bradley: How much time do I have left? OK. So, what does it look like when you do that experiment where you teach the class live and you also do the recording and you make that available to students? This is an example of that, where the students were free to come to class or not come to class, and this is what happens to the attendance. This really happened all the times that I did it. The attendance drops down to about 10 to 20% by the time of the last class. It's kind of interesting to find out why the students, like for example, why would the student almost at the end of the term all of the sudden drop out? Apparently these students never even looked at the screencast until they were sick one day or they had to miss class. Once they saw it, they figure, why am I coming to class because it's really the same thing. Everything you draw on the screen is going to show up on the screencast. That's what happens. Now, these other lines, these are the RSS subscription numbers. What happens here is, in the first couple of days of the class, students start subscribing through RSS, so the other students using either iTunes or some other podcatcher like that, or BlogLines, and it just levels out. What this is telling me is that the students who know about RSS or who are comfortable learning about it will either do it immediately or they will never do it through the class. That doesn't mean that they're not looking at the lectures. They still are, it's just that they're not using their iPod or they're not using a podcatcher. They're actually going into the blog and they're clicking on the links. So, this kind of information is handy. The other thing is, again if you have open-coursework, is to see what people are doing with it. This is an example of, again, an organic chemistry class where I taught it once and this was the number of subscribers, and then I taught it again with a larger class, and then I put it on iTunes and I didn't teach it. And what happens is that I got six hundred subscribers and I wasn't even teaching the class.
JC Bradley: So this is telling you that there is actually a great demand out there for this kind of stuff and people are going to be looking at it. And I'm limited on time right now so I can't show you how you can tell, for example, how people are finding your lectures but you can do that, again, using all free tools, free and hosted tools. You can also tell where they are coming from, so again if I look at one of my classes, the students are coming from all over the world, and I am getting emails from around the world.
JC Bradley: Yes, Question?
Audience member 12: At first I thought you said you where putting this online and doing other things in the classroom, but now what I am seeing is you are putting this online, plus you are doing the same delivery in the classroom.
JC Bradley: No, what I did, the first time I did an online optional where I taught the class, because I had to record it at some point.
Audience member 12: So it was only the first time you did a full class.
JC Bradley: Yes.
Audience member 12: And now you just do the audio online and in the classroom you are doing?
JC Bradley: Well it's not just audio online it is audio and video, its the full screen cast, I do workshops.
Audience member 12: Okay, like in the class?
JC Bradley: We do games, for example. There is about ten percent of the class that really like to do games, we do some of that. The other thing that we do is that I sit down with each student, one on one, and some students are in the back and they are actually watching the screen cast with their headphones, and when they run into a problem the come see me. Or they'll do quizzes. Or they'll bring the work they did the previous night and we will go through it and we can find out where they blocked.
Audience member 12: How has learning increased in your class, how is their final exam?
JC Bradley: Their performance is identical within one percent, of the students that came to class and those that didn't come to all the class. And that is a key point. The thing is we are seeing a lot of people that are passing their classes. A lot of people a very concerned about attendance and they do things to make sure that the students will be hurt if they don't come to class like, for example, they won't give the class notes. They will give the audio but won't give the class notes. If you do that then, yes, you are going to have a problem, but what I am talking about is giving them absolutely everything. They have the class notes the have the full screen cast, they have absolutely everything. ok so there is a difference between them.
JC Bradley: I think I have only one minute left so let me see is there is anything critical. You guys are using blogs for students to do their assignments? That has been very helpful. This is for the very, very highest level integration where you have students actually putting stuff together. They construct these kinds of projects. Aside from that, let me if there is anything critical here, the model I am talking about is very replicable, everything I am showing you here, pretty much can be done for free, without, necessarily having to have a server. Now I do use a server and there are reasons for that, but if you have brief recordings there are places you can upload your mp3's for example, and all of that, so this model is something that people, all of you can do. And if you are interested in the games, basically I will show you how to create some of these games. So if you were jotting down some of the concepts, some that are true and some that are false, I will show you how you can actually create a game using the free version of Unreal Tournament. This is actually something I use for races, I give away iPods for students who run through this race and my race, of course is organic chemistry, but your race Beth has done one in commas, write grammar you can do it in anything you want, and that is what I want to do with you in the workshop this afternoon.
JC Bradley: So I think that is pretty much it for my time, and this is also all available.
Audience member 13: What is your withdrawal rate, steady, up, down?
JC Bradley: The withdrawal?
Audience member 13: Yes, the withdrawal.
JC Bradley: I don't generally have hordes of students withdrawing from my classes, yes you get a few, but no it's the same. The withdrawal rate is the same.
Audience member 14: Where can we get access to this information?
JC Bradley: Yes, if you are really interested in the games, I've actually talked about that in other talks that are recorded. So I guess what I would say, because I have very little time, I guess what I would say is that if you are interested in any of this, or what I am currently doing, I record everything I am doing in my blog. So right after this workshop I will go and say what I have learned, and I will put up this recording and all of that stuff. So if you are interested in general in the stuff you may wish to go into my blog and read some of my past posts. I do a post mortem analysis also, so last term after I'm all done I'll go in and write what I found worked and what I found didn't work. So that might be useful. In the very back?
Audience member 15: If students are paying a thousand dollars for your course, and your sourcing your entire course online, that other people can access for free, how does the university feel about that? If it is all screen cast online then where does that go?
JC Bradley: The question is, "how does the university feel, how do other colleagues feel, if you are making you classes, your full recordings, online and students are paying?" Well that is not what the students are paying for. They are paying for someone to validate that they have learnt what they've learnt. And think about it this way, basically the students that come to my workshops get a very high level tutor, their personal tutor, as much as they want. I have had one student that has come to every single workshop and she has got much more than her money's worth. And I leave that up to the student. Not all students are going to want to do organic chemistry, and I have to be able to say that they have learned the following things, so that they can take the next course, or if they are premed they can do whatever. But it is really up to them if the want to take it to that next level. A lot of things we do in the workshops are, you know, we also talk about doing research and labs and that, so I haven't had that comment, necessarily, from students, mostly there are happy that they have so much access to me. And it hasn't actually reduced the amount of time I spend teaching. It's actually either the same or a little bit more because students do make use of the workshops. So I guess I put the ball in their court and say, "If you don't want to use the resource, that's your issue".
Audience member 16: What protects you in all this, what State or College or University takes public domain of this, because when you created this blog you were there, now it is really text in the air, if they fire you, those kids will still be getting that course online, and you are saying a one percent differential so you can't even fight to say you've made a difference?
JC Bradley: Okay, so I am going to make one comment. When I started recording my organic chemistry there we no other full screen casts, but last term Berkley has put their full screen recordings, and Harvard has also, and I predict next term a few more will. So it is kind of irrelevant what I do in the long run because it is available, it will be available. Organic chemistry will be available to anyone, and I think you have to wrap your mind around this concept. I have students in other universities that are following my courses, the students will find the courses and they will use them. I guess that is it.
Host: Thank you very much, Doctor Bradley, for that morning presentation.