Make sure campus technology is accessible to everyone who needs it before you adopt it. That’s one of the takeaways from a video set to premiere today at the annual Educause higher-education technology conference.
The 15-minute video, “IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say,” features university leaders and campus-technology staff members speaking about the importance of using technology to make college campuses more accessible. The AccessComputing project, run by the department of computer science and engineering and the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology Center at the University of Washington, produced the video with funds from the National Science Foundation.
The idea to create the video stemmed from panel discussions on technology accessibility at the Educause conference last year, said Terrill Thompson, a technology-accessibility…
YouTube’s continuing effort to put more original videos online has expanded beyond high-profile celebrities and news outlets to include a university television station. In exchange for a $300,000 grant to the station to produce original videos, YouTube will try to recoup its investment using the oldest money-making tool in television: advertising.
The University of California system’s television station, UCTV, received the grant from YouTube to produce original videos, according to Lynn Burnstan, the station’s managing director. The agreement, which gave birth to an online channel called UCTV Prime, is the first of its kind between YouTube and a university.
The new channel came online March 1 and produces 15 minutes of fresh videos each week. UCTV Prime, like YouTube’s other original channels, features ads on its pages and in its videos.
The nonprofit group called TED, known for streaming 18-minute video lectures about big ideas, today opened a new YouTube channel designed for teachers and professors, with videos that are even shorter.
The new channel, called TED-Ed, was announced a year ago, but its leaders are only now unveiling the project’s first videos. There are only 11 as of today, but the goal is to add new ones regularly. Within three months from now, a new video could appear each day, said Chris Anderson, TED’s curator, in a conference call with reporters late last week.
To produce the new videos, the group is connecting content experts with professional animators to create highly illustrated productions. The average length of these videos is about five minutes, and Mr. Anderson said he envisions a teacher playing one in class at the start of a lesson “to ignite excitement” about the topic.
Atlanta — Higher education’s spin on the Silicon Valley garage. That was the vision laid out in September, when the Georgia Institute of Technology announced a new lab for disruptive ideas, the Center for 21st Century Universities. During a visit to Atlanta last week, I checked in to see how things were going, sitting down with Richard A. DeMillo, the center’s director and Georgia Tech’s former dean of computing, and Paul M.A. Baker, the center’s associate director. We talked about challenges and opportunities facing colleges at a time of economic pain and technological change—among them the chance that many universities might follow Borders Bookstores into oblivion.
Q. You recently wrote that universities are “bystanders” at the revolution happening around them, even as they think they’re at the center of it. How so?
Could you distill your entire field into an hourlong presentation?
Some leading scholars are taking up that challenge in a for-profit educational video venture that debuts next month.
It’s called the Floating University. The project’s first production is a course called “Great Big Ideas: An Entire Undergraduate Education While Standing on One Foot.” The survey course features 14 video lectures from scholars like Yale’s Paul Bloom (psychology); CUNY’s Michio Kaku (physics); Berkeley’s Deborah Nolan (statistics); Bard’s Leon Botstein (art); and Harvard’s Steven Pinker (linguistics). There’s also material on biomedicine, classics, sociology, economics, and politics. Three institutions—Harvard, Yale, and Bard—are offering the survey course for credit to incoming freshmen this fall, with the videos and related readings serving as prompts for in-class discussions.
Incoming students of Syracuse University's Newhouse School received personalized videos from prominent alumni welcoming them to the fall semester.
Incoming freshmen at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications received a different kind of message welcoming them to the fall semester—personalized videos from two prominent alumni.
On Friday, freshmen received e-mails with links to 30 second-long videos from Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare, and Contessa Brewer, an MSNBC anchor.
Officials describe the videos as “hyperpersonalized.” Each video begins with Ms. Brewer or Mr. Crowley saying the first name of the recipient, followed by a brief general message. Recording a personal intro for each of the more than 300 students took some practice, pronunciation keys, and a few…
The lecture-capture system Tegrity Campus has long been integrated into the Blackboard course-management system. But it used to take hands-on work from the college IT staff to get the two programs talking, and sometimes students who wanted to watch professors’ talks would be delayed for a day.
Now Blackboard and Tegrity have figured out a better way to shake hands, with a module that makes lecture-viewing a one-stop shop for students, and saves time and hassle for college technology staff. “I used to have to tweak things from time to time,” says Steve Clark, coordinator of learning systems at Athens State University. “Now it’s completely hands-off.”
For the technologists, the fix is an interface called a Blackboard Building Block designed to let Tegrity Campus users plug right in.
From the students’ perspective, they log into their Blackboard account, click on the Tegrity button…
More and more students carry cellphones or laptops with video cameras built in, and many instructors are asking students to use them to turn in video homework assignments for courses covering highly visual material. New software developed at Purdue University seeks to make such experimental assignments easier to manage.
The system, called DoubleTake, lets students and professors shoot, share, and critique videos using a smartphone or a computer. One of the first classes to use it is one on sign language.
“There’s no way possible to do a written assignment in American sign language,” says Kyle D. Bowen, the university’s director of informatics.
It’s also being used in a criminal forensics course, where students capture themselves processing evidence as they would in a crime lab and then assess the performances as though they were defense attorneys.
Kembrew McLeod’s youthful interest in 1980s hip-hop became a life-long scholarly pursuit when some of the groups he’d listened to as a teenager were sued in the early 1990s for using samples of previously recorded music.
“The issue—how the law affects sampling—is the entire reason I’m a professor,” says Mr. McLeod, an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa.
It’s the subject of his second documentary film, Copyright Criminals, co-directed by Ben Franzen, which ran last year as part of PBS’s Independent Lens series and will be released on DVD in March. It is also available at Hulu.com.
As part of its Community Classroom program, PBS has released a curriculum centered on excerpts from the film that accompanies teaching materials for the classroom.
The materials are designed to apply to a wide variety of subjects, Mr. McLeod …
A handful of textbooks reigns supreme over art-history survey courses. To Beth Harris, who teaches the subject online for the Fashion Institute of Technology, these expensive, static tomes don’t do a great job of engaging students. They lack a sense of what it’s like to see paintings where they hang. And, Ms. Harris argues, they present a consensus view that doesn’t convey the messiness, passion, and disagreement of scholarship.
Ms. Harris is trying to change all that. With a colleague, Steven Zucker of the Pratt Institute, she created a “Web book” that takes advantage of multimedia technology to reimagine the art-history textbook online. The free, nonprofit project, called Smarthistory, is winning honors and gaining traction at colleges. Its model could offer a template for similar open textbooks in other disciplines.
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