Friday, November 24, 2006

iPods for Audio Commentary, Media Commons

With our support, Prof. Michael Reder is using digitized audio for providing feedback to students in his writing course.
I ran into Susan Sipple's work which seems similar.

Here is a link to another site on Susan's work.
In Michael's case, he is also providing for students to comment on each other's writings, and the use of iPods and iTunes seems to make the process easier than using a computer and sound-editing software.
I have to admit, frankly, that I did not initially think much of Michael's use, it seemed a bit "gimmicky". It just shows how I have to overcome innate prejudices as to what is a worthwhile use of technology. Part of of my initial feelings were due to the fact I did not fully understand his rationale to this approach, so I have to do a better job at inquiry and understanding. I did talk to one student in his class, informally, she told me the technology was easy to understand and use, and that no-one had any problems with it, beyond minor issues they were able to figure out.
She thought the student>student feedback using verbal vs. written communciation was better, and preferred it. Michael comments on every student's papers, I believe, and each student comments on a few peers. We'll obviously need a full and systematic "debriefing" at the end of the course, Susan has done a good job at this it seems, and we will be inspired by her work.

I had posted directions on how to implement the recording/compression in our wiki. However, I find it much more useful, if I want students to learn something, to make a personal presentation. In this case, it was with the iPod, mic, and laptop connected to an LCD projector. Diane and I went to the class, and in 15 minutes showed them how to record to the iPod, import the recording to iTunes, compress it to AAC, and drag the compressed copy to the desktop. I had also printed out the on-line instructions for each student. They expressed satisfaction when I handed them out.

Michael emails his comments to the students, and they email their own feedback to each other. I was concerned about email size limitations, but the comments are not much longer than 5 min. each, so only about 1 MB in size. Our backup plan was to create a shared network folder for the class, with drop folders for each student, however this has not yet been necessary.

making Media Commons is something I plan to investigate.

"MediaCommons is, or rather will be, a new kind of media studies press for the digital age -- a network in which academics, students, and other interested members of the public can forge critical pathways through a mediated world and publish dynamically in a mediated environment.

making MediaCommons is a planning site through which we'll develop the possible directions this might take."


Jean-Claude said...

Scott Warnock here at Drexel has done a similar thing using screencasts to give feedback to his English students. I'll forward the info to him.

Frank Fulchiero said...

Great, thanks. Michael Reder's course is:

It appears the use of the iPod, Belkin mic, and iTunes has made the feedback process very easy.

I'm sure that Michael Reder would not mind being contacted by Scott. Unfortunately, I have been a bit out of the loop regarding what is actually going on in class, being only in a tech support role thus far.

Each student was provided with an iPod and mic for free, as this was a pilot. As the student>student feedback (in addition to faculty>student) seems also important in this case, I'm not sure how well it would work if the iPods were not handed out.

I don't think we will ever be in the positon to give out iPods to every student.

Scott Warnock said...

Jean-Claude forwarded me the info. You can find a brief description of my use of this process at
Feel free to contact me,

Frank Fulchiero said...

Thanks Scott, will forward the info to Michael Reder, our faculty member using recorded verbal feedback, and look forward to reading your blog regarding your own experiences. Seems there are at least a few faculty successfully using different variations of this approach. I would like some type of systematic evaluation at the end of his course, regarding the usefulness, pros and cons, etc.. I hope to post the results if we go that route.