Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Smartpen "Pencast" Demo: Podcast Concept Map

I have been testing the Pulse Smartpen by Livescribe for several weeks now. This amazing device is a computer in a pen that also records audio while you take notes on special "dot paper". What a great way to document notes in a meeting (don't forget to ask permission to record audio) or take notes during a lecture. You can immediately play back the audio by tapping on your hand written notes -- listen using the built-in pen speaker or included ear buds. These special ear buds also have built-in binaural microphones so you can record stereo while you appear to just be listening to music! The pen even has an OLED display that can be used to display the results of calculations you tap out on a printed dot-paper calculator.

Impressive, but there is more. Back at your desk, you dock the pen to recharge and simultaneously sync your hand scribbles and audio to the Livescribe Desktop application on your PC or Mac. The desktop application organizes all your notes and even allows you to search your hand writing to locate a particular passage. Of course, you can play back your audio recordings by clicking your mouse anywhere on the images of your hand written notes.

As an extra bonus, you can share notes and audio with specific individuals or the public by uploading your recording sessions to the Livescribe Online Community site. Students can now take notes during class while recording the audio and share the "pencast" with their classmates -- a student note-taking service for the 21st Century!

To illustrate how this all works, I scribbled a concept map on how podcasting works. Of course it also illustrates a new way to teach and learn. The Pulse Smartpen is a great way for faculty to illustrate and animate concepts they used to draw on a blackboard and make it available to students with audio narration. See for yourself...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Learn How Villanova Uses Class Capture to Generate Revenue (captured by Mediasite)

I'd like to illustrate two points with one presentation...

Here is a link to a presentation by Dr. Seán O'Donnell, Director of Distance Education, College of Engineering at Villanova University. The real title of the presentation is "Recession Proof Lecture Capture: Using Mediasite to Turn Your Classroom into Cash." He discusses outcomes, both financial (ROI) and educational.

"Not long ago Villanova University’s College of Engineering faced mounting expenses, stagnant enrollment and the changing tide to offer degrees online. Sean O’Donnell, Director of Distance Education, saw an opportunity to use course capture to transform what was originally a small, regional graduate program into a national online success.

By launching an online lecture program via Mediasite, the College increased graduate enrollment by 50 percent and expanded their offerings to 4 fully online Master’s degrees with students in 35 states and four countries. The program that started with a $3,000 grant is now transformed into educational system that generates over $1 million in gross tuition, all without a single tuition or fee increase."

Of course, his presentation was capture with Mediasite, so it is a good example of the kind of high quality lecture capture with video that we'll be able to accomplish soon at USP (stay tuned).

Friday, June 5, 2009

Angel Overview Class (captured by Mediasite)

We were very fortunate to have Phyllis Blumberg arrange for Jeff Swain of Penn State University to deliver the Angel faculty training session this January. We captured the morning session using Mediasite and made this high quality video, audio and screen capture file available here:

The Devil's in the Details of Angel - Morning Plenary: ANGEL Overview

Mediasite is one of several class capture technologies that I have been evaluating for Mayes College. The link above is hosted at Mediasite. We hope to have our own Mediasite class capture technology available at USP soon.

I am a proponent of system wide class capture to improve student retention, satisfaction and recruitment through greater student academic achievement, and to extend the reach of on-ground classes to create new programs and markets.

Investing in Academic Technology

The administration of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia has recently committed to investing in e-learning by creating a new Department of Academic Technology. I am honored to serve as the department's new executive director. Besides pulling together a new department, one of my first goals is to help consolidate support services for desktop PCs, academic applications, classroom technology and the learning management system (Angel). We plan to have a new help website established in time for the fall semester featuring live 24/7 help via phone and chat, a new frequently asked questions (FAQ) database and other self-help resources.

Other goals include building a more robust e-learning platform offering more online options that will allow students to learn, study and interact with fellow students and faculty, at any time and any place. Significant new training opportunities will also be made available to help faculty and staff take advantage of new web-based collaboration and teaching tools.

Stay tuned to this space for academic technology news and tips about making the most of the University's online teaching and learning resources.

Rodney B. Murray, Ph.D.
Executive Director of Academic Technology