AcademiX - iTunes U: Case Study Panel

(March 26 I attended an Apple-sponsored AcademiX seminar at MIT. Or most of it--had to dash back to the office for a meeting in the afternoon and I didn't make it back for the end of the day. What I went to, however, was quite good.

Here are my notes, raw and uncorrected except for formatting, with occasional comments in brackets.)

iTunes U: Case Study Panel
Kate James, Open Course Ware, Production Mgr., Video Coordinator, MIT
Jim Marko, New Media Producer, NJIT

Kate James:
In 2000, questions abt how internet would impact education, what to do about it.

Faculty conclusion wasn’t about money, but because of nature of MIT education (collaboration, etc), they recommended putting materials online for free—because it isn’t degree-granting, representative of interactive classroom environment, no contact with faculty. (Occasionally compelling requests are passed to faculty, but not often.)

OCW is free, will continue to be perm at MIT.

Voluntary contribs from ~80% faculty.

Various stats abt OCW. Creative Commons non-com/attrib/share alike audience.
Permitted to mix math lectures with dance beats

Translations happening

60% of access is from outside North America

Every six months entire site burned to drive and shipped to places like Nigeria where bandwidth and connectivity are issues

Inspiring movement—250 institutions in OCW consortium

Production process

Recruiting faculty
diff ways—superstar faculty, durable content, core curriculum, MIT-unique, distinct pedagogy, more and more fac submitting info

wardrobe (no white or checked shirts), props and other things to focus on, third-party materials (can’t have NY-er cartoons), student privacy, not Hollywood (mistakes okay)

Sony HDR-SR11 10.2mp 60gig hi def hard drive handycam
Wireless mics

Scrub and review
every minute reviewed for IP and 3rd party stuff, student privacy etc.
look for actual start and end
create edit sheet if necessary

Edit & Compress
final cut, iMovie, MetaX (neurotic about metadata)
Sorenson media squeeze for compression

(can email KJ for notes)

Moving from (couldn’t catch name) to four different models,
iTunes U,
Loves that iTunes supports PDF notes downloads, but it doesn’t support captioning
YouTube enhanced channel with 893 videos 21,000 subscribers
Will put smaller pieces on YouTube, but not iTunes U
Internet Archive for “pesky Linux users”, old stuff, small stuff (files check in at IA, but don’t check out)
Also video

as much as they can
recent addition to process
human transcribes, student reviews
increases discoverability
popular with non-native English speakers
need to find way to bring cost down (lecture browser)

Example of finished course page:

Jim Marko:
NJIT has tons of legacy materials – started pilot podcasting project in 2005.

iTunes U at NJIT collaboration between Uni Web Services, Uni IS, ??

UWS goal: manage and establish a greater web presence for the university
redesign, embrace Web 2.0, etc.

How do you get from here to there?

Challenge of populating site with quality material? Convert preexisting content, faculty recording , student reporters

Web content writer helped create podcasts to complement stories

Prof on video talking about essay as sole way students report is antiquated. New ways (podcasting, etc.) help them sharpen thinking.

Technical challenges for faculty not such a big deal now.

iTunes compared to network TV, website as premium cable, YouTube as all of the above + public access tv.

iTunes U provided good exposure for early adopters

5 year faculty plan has inspired podcasting.

Take-away tips:
Be a collector, not a curator—you never know what will appeal
Curate for quality and accuracy, but not interest.
Fences make good neighbors—one dept should have keys rather than profs uploading

Convince a professor of podcasting value- that person will get three more profs involved

Things to think about:
• Who will assume ownership
• Technical resources are required to establish a private face
• Getting faculty and university buy-in
(some profs will still think iTunes is only for Mac-using students!)

KJ: value of iTunes U is album unit creation. In YouTube, most lectures are found by other means than the channel—frequent comments from ppl wondering where other material is. YouTube announcing education channels maybe tomorrow.


Johnny B April 8, 2009 at 10:15:00 AM EDT  

Regarding those "pesky linux users," this is always a problem with media and technology. Any time you're locking someone into one format or piece of software they can use to access your piece, there's going to be someone who is left out.

If you're going to make a conscious effort to include as many as possible, then the openness or market penetration of the format is a concern. While we haven't had that problem at STU with iTunes U, we have with student exams. Since we don't have a laptop requirement, we have students with Macs who can't use Examsoft on their laptops. I think we've finally come up with a policy on that, to the satisfaction of no one.

We have had other problems with iTunes U, though, which comes with the territory of using a free service attached to a service that a company uses to make money. It's nice to have it available for the budget-minded, but as with most things, you get what you pay for and I would prefer a different system, even if it means a budget line.

This looks like it was an interesting panel. I would like to have seen it.

Meg Kribble April 9, 2009 at 5:18:00 PM EDT  

If you're going to make a conscious effort to include as many as possible, then the openness or market penetration of the format is a concern.

Agree! We had that problem with Macs at NSU for awhile, and as a dedicated Mac user, it really annoyed me. Must be even worse to be a PLU. :)

I would prefer a different system, even if it means a budget line.

I'd love to see programs like this at conferences--how people replicated their own versions of such services. It must be happening somewhere. Of course then the problem is how to get people to buy-in to your version of it.

I'm pretty sure they said that all the Academix panel videos would be put online at some point, but I'm not sure where.

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