Tag Archives: Rich Media

Students ask for more video with their learning

A few years back we invested in the streaming video service – Films on Demand. The service integrates with our campus portal and the Lakeland Library to permit faculty the means of integrating educational video into their course materials. Compared with the former system of ordering individual media (VHS, DVD), this has proved to be a very good investment. Nevertheless, the level of adoption has been less than expected.

Fims on Demand - Collections

Films on Demand – Collections

In our recent survey of online learners, students reported that they would like to have more video content in their online courses. Streaming video is becoming an extremely popular way for students to view content as is evidenced by the rate of adoption of such services as iTunes U and Khan Academy.

According to a recent article in Inside Higher Ed reporting on thePearson Higher Ed Survey on Student Mobile usage

“Eight in ten (83%) college students regularly use a smartphone, up significantly from 72% in 2013.  Smartphones are now close to laptops (89%) as the mobile device students are most likely to use on a regular basis.”

Perhaps the increased use of smartphones by students helps to explain the demand for more video content. Although I enjoy reading journal articles and other text-based material on my iPad because of the size and orientation, I am not a big fan of reading text on my iPhone. That being said, the iPhone works great with streaming video – especially with WiFi available both at work and home.

iPhone CC-BY-NC-SA by Alex Bartok on Flickr

CC-BY-NC-SA by Alex Bartok on Flickr

Films on Demand is available to both faculty and students and although we have promoted its use primarily with the faculty – demonstrating how to search for relevant content from among the more than 15,000 titles and 200,000 plus segments – students also may access these materials and find value in searching through the collections themselves.

Are we speaking the same language?

With the emergence of new technologies that instantly translate languages, are we arriving at a time and place when we can have meaningful discussions without speaking the same language?

CC-BY-NC-SA by Manar Hussain on Flickr

CC-BY-NC-SA by Manar Hussain on Flickr

I am currently enrolled in a MOOC on research methodology through Coursera. The instructors are from the University of London and the participants are from all over the world. One of the challenges with this course is that people responding to one another in English possess varying degrees of fluency.

It seems to me we might be better off with people posting not in English, but in their own language. There has been real improvement in translation technology in the past couple of years and apps such as Google Translate do a pretty good job of translating across a number of languages. So when enrolling in a MOOC, rather than attempting to translate every discussion into English why not just post in your native language? I would post in English, but you would read my post and comment on it in Portuguese – a classmate reads your post in German and responds in German.

By reading and writing in the language we are most comfortable with, we are more likely to express our thoughts with greater clarity and depth (instead of being distracted with how I might translate my words for you). This puts the onus on the receiver for making meaning from what is said, and the reader can ask for clarification as needed.

Google Translate

Google Translate

The technologies of language translation are not limited to text.  Skype Translator will permit real-time language translation via web conferencing, adding the potential for yet another layer of interactivity for online and open course participants.

Apps like Word Lens by Quest Visual (recently purchased by Google) translate visual images in real-time to text using apps on your iPhone or Android smartphone.

How long before Word Lens and other translator apps are integrated into wearable technologies like smart glasses permitting travelers to walk about in foreign cities seeing the sights and signs translated instantly for them into their own language?

By using these tools in MOOCs where various languages are spoken in the same course, we have much greater potential to increase and improve the quality of our interactions and understandings across cultures and languages.

Interactive graphic filters “EDUCAUSE Top-Ten IT Issues” by institutional characteristics…

I like this interactive graphic permitting filtering by institutional characteristics. The  EDUCAUSE Top-Ten IT Issues for the community college differ significantly from the overall higher ed perspective.

How do you like me now? – Merlot II

Open Educational Resources (OERs), have been around for well over a decade, but the promise of thousands of ready-to-use, high quality learning materials, has yet to reach the level of adoption deserved. A frequent reason for not integrating OERs into courses includes the amount of time it takes to sort through it all – instructors just don’t have the time.

I have to say, the new Merlot II interface and navigation will help a great deal in responding to the old TL;nr argument.

Tablet-teaching with Video


A recent article entitled, Tablets have reached ‘critical mass’ in US, reports that one in four smartphone owners now use a tablet. Furthermore…

“More than half of tablet users watched video and/or TV on their devices in April, compared to 20 percent of the smartphone audience, comScore said.” – gadget box on msnbc.com

Several years ago I got my hands on an iPod Touch and then before long acquired my first smartphone. I remember thinking people are not going to want to watch video on these small screens. You could access Netflix or Hulu, and the pocket size is handy, but personally, for video I prefer a larger screen. Same thing for reading text – the smartphone is handy – but the screen is just a little too small for reading more than just a few sentences.

Not so for the tablet. I actually enjoy reading text on my iPad and the video is a very nice size for personalized viewing.

So methinks this may change how we approach developing educational content. I’ve never been a big fan of recorded lectures. It might just be me, but 45 minutes to an hour or more of a lecture can be even less enthralling than the live event (no offense). My thought is, students are less likely to watch lectures online – unless they are forced to – and even then…

However, I do very much like watching short videos that focus on a specific piece of content – 3 or 4 minutes is ideal (the average YouTube video); but in any case – 10 minutes tops. Consider the popularity and effectiveness of Khan Academy  with nearly 160 million 10-minute lessons viewed. Check out Khan Academy’s Art History topics!

How can we as educators make effective use of video with this emerging technology? You need not be a videographer or an actor to engage your students with video. You most likely already have the necessary tools at your disposal.

You’re going to need:

1) a camera – you can use a webcam with your computer, your cell phone, a point and click camera, or your iPad/other tablet with built-in camera.

2) something to present – a module of information that aligns with your course outcomes. You will also need a script. This is very important, write out the script. It will help with flow and you can use it for captioning to improve accessibility in the editing process.

3) editing software – most computers have this. I use iMovie on my Mac. When I had a PC I used Movie Maker. There are also some free online tools as well – even YouTube has a video editing feature.

4) a place to post and share or link to (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, iTunes U (eTech Ohio has a site), the campus streaming video system, etc.)

That’s about it. Here is my not-very-professional-but-hopefully-good-enough example.

More Adobe Connect session recordings

On 6/22 Corrie Bergeron, Instructional Designer and Blackboard Administrator, presented on the topic “Beyond Multiple Choice”, describing various question types available in Blackboard test, and how to teach and assess different kinds of knowledge and skills. The session recording can be found here…

On July 6, 2011 Bill Knapp, Dean of Learning Technologies presented on the topic, “What’s so Special about Blended Learning? The recording can be found here…