Active Learning With Echo360

Echo360 is an active learning platform designed for use in higher education. It has many applications for digital learning, including:

  • Lecture Capture: Learning is optimized with lecture capture and webcast capabilities. Echo360 features 1080 pixel, high definition capture with the ability to schedule recordings in advance and publish automatically. These features make the system well-suited for remote teaching. Instructors can record course presentations on Mac or PC from their home or office, or they can capture lessons right in the classroom.

 

  • Instructional Content Management: Echo360 provides a Learning Library that streamlines the content management process, storing all materials in one place. Instructors can search and filter through their content. Materials are easily shared through the university’s learning management system.

 

  • Student Engagement: Echo360 allows instructors to cater to different learning styles. Students are able to follow videos, notes, and discussions at their own pace. With discussion threads and an active learning platform, students can ask questions and engage in course discussion in real time. Instructors can also build polls and quizzes directly into their presentation.   

 

  • Analytics: Instructors can access an analysis of course performance and individual progress. Further, instructors can establish what success metrics are most important to them, and prioritize the metrics they want to focus on.

 
Digital learning through Echo360 creates a unique opportunity for multi-media student engagement, bringing material beyond the traditional classroom.

O’SNAP on the ND Mobile App

osnap

As a college student, studies and meetings can require late night treks across campus. It is comforting to know that I can call O’SNAP when I do not want to walk alone at night. O’SNAP is Notre Dame’s Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol Initiative, run by members of Notre Dame Security Police. It is the newest extension of the campus SafeWalk program, which provides escorts for students who are walking through campus after dark. O’SNAP uses electric carts that help to make the program more efficient and easily accessible. Students are able to call and receive escorts to their destinations free of charge.

 
OIT is working to release a module for the ND mobile app to make it even easier to request a ride from O’SNAP. The user will input their name, where they are looking to go, how many people there are, and their location. An O’SNAP vehicle will be dispatched to the location, and a specific pick up point will be established through the module. The O’SNAP program has been increasingly successful at Notre Dame, and the addition of the module will help to increase the ease of use on campus. The module is expected to be released on the ND mobile app in the coming weeks.

Paperless Grading in Sakai

The Drop Box tool in Sakai allows instructors to connect with students’ homework using the iAnnotate PDF app on a tablet. Instructors can mark feedback and corrections directly on the document. By utilizing this tool, assignments can be graded and returned digitally.

 

How Does it Work?

  • To use the system, the professor needs to have an iPad or Android tablet available.
  • Students need to submit work through the Drop Box portion of Sakai.
  • The WebDAV protocol is used to connect the file with the iAnnotate PDF app.
  • On the iPad, WebDAV URL and authentication can be entered directly in the app. For Android, a WebDAV app must be downloaded.
  • Once the assignment is loaded in iAnnotate PDF, it can be directly marked, highlighted, commented on, and saved.

 

What are the Benefits?

  • Paperless grading is more cost effective, uses less resources, and requires less paper storage than traditional grading.
  • Students receive feedback more quickly than waiting for a paper copy to be returned in class.
  • Class presentations can be graded as they happen by marking a blank rubric and saving it directly to the student folder in Drop Box.
  • By more efficiently grading papers, the instructor has more time to work with students or focus on research.

 

iAnnotate is used by a large number of higher education institutions around the world. However, this application of the app in conjunction with Sakai has not been seen beyond Notre Dame. The method is currently available to Notre Dame faculty. If you are interested in learning more about paperless grading, contact Kevin Abbott at 574-631-8707 (kabbott@nd.edu) or Chris Clark at 574-631-7434 (clark.96@nd.edu) to set up a meeting.

 

For more about Dropbox, visit:

http://ltlatnd.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/using-the-sakai-drop-box-tool/

To learn more about Sakai, visit:

http://ndedtech.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/sakai/

Piazza Has the Answer

Students often have similar questions about course material making it is inefficient for instructors to respond to multiple emails, especially in large lecture classes. Piazza provides a solution using an answering board system to minimize repeat inquiries.

 

Piazza is an online platform that allows professors and students to efficiently collaborate in a single space. To use the system, students post questions on the Piazza site. Instructors, TA’s, and other students can respond, providing feedback much more quickly than professors could on their own. Answers serve as a collaborative space, as students can continually contribute to and develop an answer. Posts needing immediate attention are highlighted, so the professor can get to them quickly, and updates are shown in real time. Pizza also benefits the instructors, allowing them to see when in the term the most questions are being asked, and how student discussion aligns with class lecture.
The Piazza system is easy to set up and free for instructors. It has been used at Notre Dame since 2011, and is very successful.  As of fall 2014, there were about 64 Notre Dame classes using Piazza, and this number is expected to grow.  If you are interested in learning more about Piazza, contact Kevin Abbott (kabbott@nd.edu) at 631-8707.

Mobile Lecture Capture Cart

About a year ago, we featured a story on our blog about our efforts to evaluate two competing lecture capture systems.  As a result of this evaluation, the Echo360 lecture capture system was selected and deployed to a few classrooms on campus. The Office of Information Technologies has recorded lectures for many years, but the number of lecture requests has been growing rapidly. This requires additional manpower, time, and resources, as videographers move around campus and record in different locations. Recording a one hour class requires the time needed for scheduling, staffing, going to and from class with equipment, set up, filming, and editing. This can become quite a time consuming process!

 

Our colleagues wondered whether a standard Echo360 capture device could be used to create a mobile lecture capture cart to simplify and automate part of the recording process. Academic Technologies explored this and created a prototype cart. It is rolled into the classroom, turned on, and the microphones and cameras on the cart record the contents of the lecture. With the cart, there is a minimal setup and a videographer does not need to remain in the classroom for the duration of the class. The content is uploaded to the server automatically and is ready to be viewed by the class within a few hours.

 

The prototype cart was created at the beginning of the semester to pilot the new technology. The Echo360 system also provides detailed analytics which allows faculty to see who watches the content, and what parts are watched multiple times. Professors can use this data to determine what content may need to be focused on in later lectures. The cart has been successful, and is currently being utilized by a graduate level theology class that has 30-35 students viewing remotely. With the success of the prototype cart, new equipment has been ordered and a production ready cart should be available soon. This new cart will allow filming to take place in more locations, expanding the Mobile Lecture Capture program on campus.

Navigating Campus with Leap Motion

Leap Motion controller device is being used for virtual tours of Notre Dame.

Leap Motion controller device is being used for virtual tours of Notre Dame.

On my first class day of freshman year, I eagerly grabbed my backpack and headed to DeBartolo Hall. Looking at my campus map, I navigated my way to the DeBartolo building I had circled in red, but the walk started to feel a lot longer than it had when practiced my schedule a few days prior! The building was beautiful on the inside, but why did it look so different than I remembered? Confused, I swallowed my pride and asked for help. Imagine my surprise when I was told that I was at the wrong DeBartolo. With both a DeBartolo Hall and a Debartolo Performing Arts Center, Notre Dame’s campus seemed impossible to figure out!

Having spent a few years here, it’s easy to forget how confusing campus once seemed. Luckily, the Academic Technologies department hasn’t forgotten. At Freshman Orientation this year, they debuted a virtual tour, allowing users to navigate their way across campus simply by using their hands and the Leap Motion device.

 

 

Waleed Johnson developed this virtual tour by linking the Leap Motion device with Google Maps and Maps.nd.edu. Leap Motion is able to track the natural movement of the hand, providing 8 cubic feet of three dimensional, interactive space. Take a look at the technology in action:

 

 

As Waleed demonstrates, there are two options for navigation. The street view map combines Leap Motion technology with Google Maps street view. This allows users to look at a three dimensional version of campus, navigating as if they are actually walking across the quad. The second is a satellite view, linking Leap Motion to maps.nd.edu. While not as realistic, this option has labels for campus buildings. When the user hovers over a label, information about that building opens up. The virtual tour provides visitors and new students with an interactive experience in learning their way around Notre Dame’s campus.

 

Go to the Board, Wirelessly

Apple TVs in Jordan Hall 105

Apple TVs in Jordan Hall 105

We all remember the feeling: hiding in the back of the classroom hoping the teacher will not call on you to write your solution on the chalkboard. I know that for me, it was scary to display my work for everyone to see. However, it caused me to be more engaged in class, taking care to ensure I was working through problems correctly. While some may consider chalkboards to be a thing of the past, promoting student engagement during lectures is not. Classrooms in Notre Dame are exploring new applications of the Apple TV for this purpose.

 

When Apple TV was first being tested in Notre Dame classrooms, a separate wireless network had to be installed for students and faculty to connect to the device. This was limiting, as too many wireless networks interfere with the existing Notre Dame networks, and provide additional hassle for students. To resolve this issue the Apple TV has new wireless connectivity capability. Students with an iPad 2 or an iPhone 4s and later can connect through bluetooth discovery. The device can find the Apple TV if it is in the proper range without extra hardware or installation. In this way the Apple TV becomes a portable wireless projection system for iOS.

 

The improved wireless capability is expanding the use of the Apple TV on campus. Professor David Hyde’s genetics class in Jordan Hall 105 uses three screens with Apple TVs. This is the first time that multiple devices are being utilized in the same classroom at Notre Dame. The class has about 90 students, each with an iPad they owned previously or leased from OIT. Professor Hyde can display his teaching material on the center screen, and utilize the two others for displaying class solutions to problem sets. The screen will mirror what the student worked through on their personal device. This technology increases student overall engagement because it is new, interesting, and interactive. Like the traditional chalkboard, the potential of having their work displayed on screen creates a sense of accountability and engagement among the class.

 

After seeing Professor Hyde’s use of the Apple TV, there was a request for the same set up in 101 Jordan Hall. This classroom also utilizes three Apple TVs. However, this room was already set up with its own wireless network, and thus connects under the old method. This allows for comparison of the two methods to determine which will be most beneficial to utilize in the expansion of the Apple TV program on campus. As professors continue to explore new ways to engage students, the Apple TV can provide an effective solution. In the future, there is the opportunity to create a system where a teacher could check out an Apple TV for use as needed.

 

Make Your Media More Interactive and Engaging

Have you ever wondered how to make your video accessible for people who have a hearing problem or speak a different native language? Have you ever wondered how your video can benefit visual learners who absorb and recall information best by reading as opposed to listening? Have you ever wondered how to give the audience the freedom to search across your video and jump to the exact keywords that interest them? You are not alone, we have been wondering about that for a while. Fortunately, we now have a solution … interactive transcript.

Interactive transcript provides the audience a new way to enjoy your media content. Similar to subtitles in many ways, interactive transcript is displayed next to the audio/video source. As the audience hears the words being spoken, they can also see matching words highlighted or underlined in the transcript. The entire transcript is clickable, users can click on any word and start to enjoy the audio/video from that exact point. They can also search the transcript and jump to the part that interests them. Interactive transcript provides users a much richer experience with media content.

1. Click on word "mammals", the video jumps to that point and starts to play from there.2. When "mammals" is spoken in the video, it's also highlighted in the transcript.3, Search "fish", all the parts that mention "fish" are highlighted in the transcript.

1. Click on word “mammals”, the video jumps to that point and starts to play from there.
2. When “mammals” is spoken in the video, it’s also highlighted in the transcript.
3, Search “fish”, all the parts that mention “fish” are highlighted in the transcript.

There are a nurmeous of interactive transcripts providers, of which 3PlayMedia and SpeakerText Captionbox are among the most popular. We ran a small pilot with 3Play Media’s service. We provided them audio/video files along with the transcripts, and they synchronized the text with the media using automated speech technology. The result has been very satisfying, except we find the price to be a bit high.

Can the price be a showstopper? If you are like me, a strong believer in OpenSource, you must be wondering if there is something like that available for free. Well, after some digging, voila! Pipwerks already published the API(s) for adding captions and interactive transcript for online videos. And it’s completely OpenSource. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and climb onto the shoulders of giants. Thanks to the EasyCaption and Kaltura API, I was able to help an Irish Studies professor build a repository (Irish Stories) to collect and share Irish Immigrants’ stories in a more interactive and engaging way. If you are interested, here is an example.  Please feel free to contact me at xiaojing.duan@nd.edu for any technical details.

IrishStory1IrishStory2

 

3D Printing Update

Check out Eric Morgan’s blog for an update on the fledgling 3D printing group at ND:

http://blogs.nd.edu/emorgan/2014/03/working-group/

Next meeting Friday, April 4, from noon to 1 pm.

Also please note that the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship will host a workshop, From Imagination to Realization, for anyone interested in 3D printing. The workshop will be held March 28, from 1 to 5 pm.