Sunday, October 02, 2005

Jean-Claude Bradley

Generating Open Courseware using Podcasting, Screencasting, Blogs
and Games

Jean-Claude Bradley, Drexel University

Friday, September 30, 2005, 11:00-11:45 am
205 Eccles Conference Center

Here is the screencast mp3 podcast and Powerpoint.

Being able to share course content with anyone who wants to learn
can be a powerful benefi t of creating online educational material.
However, the migration of class content from an in-class to an online
environment is a daunting task for many faculty. There are two main
perceived risks associated with this transition. The fi rst is the time risk.
Faculty are hesitant to commit to producing online content when they
have little experience and face steep learning curves. The second is
the failure risk. There is a possibility that the online experiment will
not proceed as hoped or expected and the fear is that the student
learning experience will be compromised. These are both valid fears.
The generation of a fully online class can require considerable time,
skill and resources and can fall short of expectations. The use of
screen capture technology as part of a strategy to convert course
materials to an online format has proven to be effective to minimize
both time and failure risks. The time risk is minimized because screen
capture technology requires a very short learning curve and the
faculty need to change very little of their current lecturing style. If an
instructor usually gives lectures from PowerPoint then there is little
to change except perhaps using the mouse to point instead of a laser
pointer. For courses usually taught using an overhead projector or
chalkboard, the transition to a tablet PC can be made with very little
change in instruction method. The failure risk is minimized because
the screen capture can be initiated with minimal disruption to the
normal delivery of the lecture and the video can be initially provided
to students simply as a bonus resource on a selective basis. As long
as the instructor does not promise that this resource will be available,
there is a minimal risk of adversely affecting the learning experience.
As a next step, faculty may offer an online option for their class. In
this case students can opt to receive their instruction online only
when they are comfortable with the technology. This approach also
permits a convenient parallel channel to deliver content. The avi fi les
generated by the screen capture technology can be converted to mp3
audio fi les and distributed by podcasting. This option was actually
requested by a student who had diffi culty with the streaming video
due to low bandwidth at home. He reported that listening to the audio
and following along with the lecture notes was adequate for most of
the content. Other comments by students in class evaluations were
uniformly positive. Screencasting and podcasting lectures is proven to
be an effective, high impact and low cost approach to experiment with
online education with minimum time and failure risk to faculty with little
technical expertise. In addition, the use of blogs as a vehicle for the
distribution of podcasts and screencasts can be leveraged to manage
student assignments and to make them publicly available. Finally, some
examples of the use of online content within a 3D online multi-player
gaming environment will be demonstrated.


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