Podagogy Research Technical Support

During the planning stages of the podagogy research project I anticipated the a moderate amount of technical support would be required to assist students install software, set up iPods, configure iTunes, and more. Surprisingly, I have had only one report of a problem with an iPod. As it turned out, the iPod wasn’t the problem at all. Rather, it was the student’s laptop had a minor configuration issue in its sound settings.
At the end of the first 3 weeks of the project there have been zero hardware support issues with the iPod Nanos.

Participating faculty members have received individual attention, but even that turned out to take less time than I anticipated. The faculty have already begun posting the personal podcasts to the SAU iTunes University course site, and they sound excellent.

In retrospect, one change I would consider making is the addition of a boundary microphone in the large lecture hall. Obviously, the professor’s voice is clearly recorded, but student interactions are difficult, if not impossible to hear. On the other hand, given the mobility of the professor in the large lecture hall, adding a boundary microphone might create some feedback issues depending where the professor stood at a given moment. Does anyone have experience using multiple microphones for classroom recordings?

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Podagogy Research In Full Swing

Faculty and student assistants have been trained, audio recordings are beginning to show up in the respective iTunes U courses, the iPod support site is being used, there are no reported problems with the iPods or iTunes U – I think we are well underway!

I do expect a second training session on podcast creation and publishing will be needed by both faculty, but other than that, they both seem to had quickly adjusted to wearing the wireless mic in the classroom.

Tomorrow I will consult with a colleague and see if Apple Remote Desktop can be set up on the Macbook in the large lecture hall. Because the course lectures in that class are 2+ hours long, there is a minor management issue related to beginning the upload and returning later to close things up. I have found it difficult to get back into the lecture hall without disturbing other classes using the hall. Perhaps Apple Remote Desktop will allow me to tidy up after a long upload without disturbing classes in session. I have used a product called Desktop Authority on WinTel PCs, and it works wonderfully. If Apple Remote Desktop provides that kind of functionality (and we can get it working) I’ll be all set.

One faculty colleague reported some of the students participating in the podcasting research are in a course he is teaching, and the students were very enthusiastic about the project. I’ll take that as good news.

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Second Podagogy Experimental Group Start-up

Last night the second of two experimental groups in the podagogy research was established. The second group is almost twice the size of group 1 – about 40 students. iPods were distributed to a delighted group, and I have already received emails from students interested in managing the course recordings during the semester.

The audio recording process for this research project is based on the University of Michigan School of Dentistry model (see http://www.dent.umich.edu/itunes/developers/).
Dr. Lynn Johnson, CIO of the UoM School of Dentistry has graciously provided encouragement and support of this project. We modified the automator scripts to work in our environment, and we now have a simple, in-classroom recording system for each of the experimental groups.

Training of student volunteers begins today. Once trained, the students will manage the day-to-day recording, tagging and posting responsibilities. I’ll be checking our iTunes U site to make sure lectures show up as expected, and provide support or troubleshooting if a problem arises.

Both faculty (Prof. Crater & Dr. MoJo) will be producing weekly podcasts connected to threaded discussion assignments. Podcast training has been provided for Prof. Crater, and Dr. MoJo will be trained tomorrow. And the beat goes on…

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