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Posts from the ‘Web2.0’ Category

13
Jan

Bring Your PowerPoint Presentations to Life

I see a lot of online courses where the instructors have created lots of PowerPoint presentations that I’m sure they used successfully in their face to face classes, but those presentations in an online class are missing the most important element – the instructor. Stand alone PowerPoint presentations are just not as effective as a presentation done with slides, so instructors need to transform those slides into a nice presentation with voice included. We have to add the instruction back into the class.

There a many different ways to record your PowerPoint presentations. The most obvious is to use the built in tools in PowerPoint. But I’ve found that method to be overly complicated. The easy is to just record your presentation using a tool like Jing, but if your presentation is longer than 5 minutes or you need to edit the video, you’re out of luck. So unless you buy and use Camtasia Studio, Jing’s big sister, then you’re out of luck. But for this post, let’s go for a free web tool to help us.

knovio1Knovio is the tool of choice for this post. Of course it’s in beta. It’s a web 2.0 tool and it’s free.

Knovio™ is an innovative tool for turning PowerPoint® slides into rich video presentations with just a web browser and webcam. With Knovio, you can take static PowerPoint slides to a new level with video and audio presentations that can be accessed anytime on-demand and shared with others through email and social media.

Read moreRead more

11
Jan

Let Robots Read Your Blog Posts To You With Podcastomatic

As an online instructor, I’m always trying to find ways to reduce the amount of reading my online students do in my class. I’m not trying to eliminate reading, but I do feel as if some online classes are all about reading and writing, and there isn’t much media to break that up. It also doesn’t take into consideration the different learning styles. Some students are accustomed to learning from listening or watching an instructor. So I mix it up by providing a weekly podcast and lots of video lessons.

While reading my RSS feeds this afternoon, I came across a post on the Free Technology for Teachers blog titled Podcastomatic Turns Your Blog Posts Into Podcasts. That sounded interesting, so I thought I’d try it out with my blog, and it works fine if you don’t mind listening to a robot for a few minutes.

Screen shot 2013-01-11 at 8.56.05 PM

I clicked the link that the site provided for subscribing to the podcast, and my iTunes opened on my computer and downloaded my podcast. Now once I post any new blog post, I presume Podcastomatic will pick it up and deliver it to my iTunes. We’ll see about that. You can see below that it brought in my last 10 posts into my iTunes Podcast list. Read moreRead more

7
Jan

Creating Closed Captions for Online Course Videos

If you’re teaching online and providing media for your students, you must provide closed captioning or alternative materials for students to be in compliance with accessibility requirements for schools.

Closed captioning provides access to videos by displaying auditory information in printed form on the screen, which gives students who are Deaf or hard of hearing equal access to your class. Closed captions also facilitate greater understanding of media content for people who speak English as a second language, as well as make it easier for the audio content of videos shown in large lecture halls to be understood.

YTCaptionsI’m just now getting around to providing the closed captioning, as I’ve been relying on providing alternative materials for students who have requested them in lieu of watching a video or listening to a podcast. Actually I haven’t had a request ever in my classes in over 10 years of teaching online. But this semester I will be prepared thanks to the services built into YouTube. Yes,  YouTube provides closed captioning on all videos. In fact, if you don’t provide the transcript, YT will attempt to transcribe it for you. Don’t get too excited, as it’s not very good at that job. At least not with my videos it wasn’t. I think I may talk too quickly and mumble too much for it to get all my words correct. That’s okay because at least it gives you something to start with, and some of what it transcribes is correct, saving you a little time.

Screen shot 2013-01-07 at 3.03.56 PMIt’s very easy to do. Read moreRead more

27
Feb

Follow Up Questions from Cloud Based Technology Webinar

Today I did a webinar for Academic Impressions: Using Cloud-Based Technology for Learning and Engagement. The webinar lasted an hour and forty-five minutes, which means I had to talk for that long. This isn’t generally a problem for me if I’m talking about and sharing about what I love to do: teaching and learning with technology, so the time flew by. I was really surprised that I was able to keep to my planned timeline. I got everything in but a few questions at the end, so I’m hear to address them now.

One of the tools I used in the presentation to help give every participant a voice was GoSoapBox. I blogged about it in my last post about what I’d do with a $300 grant. I was able to address the remaining questions in there, since participants had posted them in the webinar and in GoSoapBox. Below is a list of a few questions I answered for participants.

I had a great time talking about cloud based technologies, and I really hope it was helpful for others. And I hope they get out there and give it a try. Remember to start small and play around with it before you make it a major assignment for a course.

 

13
Jan

Podcasting By Phone with Gabcast & iPadio

I posted this on my podcasting blog almost 3 years ago. I’m doing a presentation tomorrow on enhancing courses with audio and thought I would revisit gabcast and take a look at iPadio. Check it out.

I attended the TechEd ‘07 conference in Ontario last week and podcasting was all the rage. Most sessions were standing room only. I tried to squeeze in as many as I could get into in the three days I was there just so I could learn something new. Most of the presentation were good, but there wasn’t much new information offered up for the experienced podcaster. I was lucky enough however to wander into a presentation on the last day that introduced me to a great podcasting tool: Gabcast. The website below does a great job of describing Gabcast:

Gabcast Podcasting By Phone Or VoIP – VoIP Sol

If you’ve caught the bug for podcasting and can produce enough chatter to publish your own audio content online, Gabcast will host your files for you for free. Once you post audio content either using a regular phone or a VoIP service, you can access the audio files from your website or weblog (Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, and more). The Gabcast service can also be used to host conference calls (VoIP Sol).

I can think of many ways to use this service. The presenter set up a podcast for the attendees to call in and leave feedback from the presentation. She had one of us call in during the presentation to demonstrate how easy it is use. The called showed up immediately on her site. Example below:

iPadio is a similar service, but includes an app you can use on the iPhone and Android phones as well. Here is what it looks like.

10
Oct

Multimedia Infused Freshman Comp

Multimedia Infused Freshman Comp

From: soul4real

Presentation for the TYCA-West conference in Clarkdale, AZ. Using podcasting in freshman composition courses.

SlideShare Link

15
Aug

Tips for Students Using Utterli

I was fascinated with Utterli the moment I saw it. I just thought it was coolest thing to be able to send text, pictures, audio and video from your cellphone to a blog on the web. It’s a true example of mobile blogging. But what was most exciting to me was the way it lets people add multi-media to blog posts and invites a conversation or discussion around it. I have many ideas for how I want to use this in my classes, but for now I’m using it as a way to leave some valuable tips for students to help them be successful in my classes.

22
Jan

Students are Loving the Network

I’m trying out a social network in my ENG101 and ENG102 courses this spring. I’m trying to make English fun, but there are also some very useful features built into the Ning social network. So far I’m loving just about everything but the adds. I’m not ready to fork over cash to get rid of them, but if I can make a compelling enough argument, make my division chair might consider picking up the tab. We’ll see.

One thing that is really neat is that the students just naturally pick up on the fun things there are to do in there. I instructed that there were only two required parts: discussion forum and personal blog posts. Everything else they do is just for fun and up to you if you want to participate. Well, it didn’t take long for them to fill up the site slide show. It’s neat to see all their faces and their families too!Find more photos like this on Freshman Comp

I’ve been using it to post my weekly podcasts too. It has an embeddable player that I can add mp3s to. I can either upload to the site or upload via a web link. I like to upload my content on my own servers and then link to it. This will save me later with having to deal with bandwidth and file size. Here’s our podcast player from the network.

Find more music like this on Freshman Comp

In case you’re wondering, most of the content in our class network is private, so content that students create for the class and a grade is private – only members can see it. But adding photos and videos is optional, not class related, and acknowledged that it will be public because it shows up on the front page. I could make the whole site including the front page private, but then my announcements won’t have a RSS feed and I won’t be able to subscribe and feed them into Blackboard or offer email subscriptions. So I leave the front page public, and protect the rest.

I’ll post more about this experiment as we play with it more. So far we’re all loving it.

16
Apr

Using del.icio.us for Research in ENG102 Course

Yes, just this semester I tried implementing del.icio.us into my ENG102 (research) class to help students share their research with each other. I wouldn’t say it was a huge success, but I still believe it is a worthwhile assignment. The main problem was that many students are not familiar with social bookmarking and can’t see a need for it. Students tend to “live for the moment” meaning they search for something in Google, find what they need, use it for whatever purpose, and then they are on to something else. It’s hard to get them to think in terms of “saving” for later or even sharing it with someone else. I also had to teach students how to download the bookmark extensions for the browsers in class and how to use the extension. This is all time consuming.

The assignment was based around a unit theme for the course, personal freedoms. This was an exploration assignment to get ideas for topics that fit into the theme. We used the notes section to practice summary skills. They wrote 3-5 sentence summaries of what the web pages covered, and we used the tags section to come up with keywords related to the topics. They could later use those same keywords to do further searches for periodicals and books. A requirement was that one tag must be: personal+freedoms. By using this tag we created a repository of web pages on the topic of personal freedoms, which then becomes a starting point for students exploring a topic to research and argue. Here is a list of our collection: http://del.icio.us/tag/%22personal%2Bfreedoms%22
We needed to spend more time on the tagging and keywords. They did do very well there.

I then used the RSS feed to port the collection into Blackboard, explaining to students that they could view the collection right from there, and whenever anyone added more to it, it would automatically repopulate with all the new content.

The evaluation part came in later. We were only concerned with gathering and sharing ideas with that assignment. The next assignment was to choose a page from the collection and evaluate it. The lecture discussed how web sources are not always reliable and are not always the best for college papers. My guess was that many of the pages collected would not be great sources, so an evaluation would point out some major flaws. They were then asked to search and share again, armed with this new knowledge, but I’m not so sure the second batch of pages collected were any better than the first.

I hope that explains it. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask. I’m already think of better ways to do it next time.