Archive for September, 2012

First forays into distance education

I’ve long been intrigued by the potential of distance education on any levels.  From a sustainability standpoint, I see huge potential to reduce the single biggest impact on the campus carbon footprint: commuting.  Not to say that all courses should be delivered via the internet (I would sorely miss the personal interaction), but I can be persuaded that some portion of a degree program delivered digitally might have benefits.

For my own part, I’m taking the online course (see previous posts) in an effort to see what the student experience is like. So far, so good.
On the other side of the classroom, I’ve been experimenting with technology to help me deliver my in-person class this semester (Renewable Energy Systems).

Last week, I found I had a difficult conflict and was faced with the prospect of cancelling class. So, I recorded two lectures using the new desktop capture software that’s recently been made available to all Boise State faculty, Camtasia Relay.

The two lectures were done it two different styles. First, I just talked over power point slides:

Then, after reading the documentation a bit (RTFM!), I found that I could include a web cam inset, giving an interesting “talking head” view that goes along with the slides:

I found the results very interesting.  If you had asked me last week whether or not the web cam image added anything to the video, I would have rolled my eyes. “Of course not!”, the video image conveys no additional information.  However, two things were distinctly different. I found that when I did the narration, I felt more animated and engaged knowing that the image was going up at the same time. I was talking to the camera, not the computer monitor.  I would not have guessed I would have felt any different, but I did!

Second, the students said that they liked the talking head video better.  Not sure why.
What do you think?

September 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm 2 comments

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