Picture of Elmer Masters
My Classcaster experience
by Elmer Masters - Friday, 30 December 2005, 1:57 PM
Use this topic to share your Classcaster experience with the community.  Let us know what you did with Classcaster and how it turned out for you.  We are ihnterested in hearing the good and the bad, so please share.

Use the 'Reply' link below to add to this topic.
Picture of Carole Buckner
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Carole Buckner - Thursday, 12 January 2006, 1:40 PM
I wanted to highly recommend to others the tutorials by Peter Martin.  As a novice, I found these very helpful. I do think I was able to create a much higher quality recording given the editing capability, which he covers very clearly and succinctly in the tutorial.  I used the free  Audacity software he recommended, but I'm not sure whether he mentioned that it requires a plug in to be downloaded in order to convert the Audacity recording to MP3.  Also, I found another recommendation for a headphone microphone that connects with my USB port, which supposedly produces higher quality sound.  I got the Plantronics Multimedia Multitaskers Headset, which worked nicely and cost about the same as the Labtech and Logitec headset recommended.
Picture of Diane Murley
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Diane Murley - Friday, 13 January 2006, 10:26 AM
I tried to access Peter Martin's tutorials but I was asked for an "enrolment key," even after I logged in with my CALI credentials.  How do I get the key?

Diane Murley
Picture of John Mayer
Re: My Classcaster experience
by John Mayer - Friday, 13 January 2006, 11:45 AM
Hi Diane,

Just tried it out myself. I am not sure where you are being asked for an enrolment key.  Here are the steps I took that worked...

1.  goto codec.cali.org
2. Click on 'Distance Education' under Courses (left-bottom on my screen)
3. Click on 'Preparing Course Presentations for Online or Disk Delivery'
4. Click on 'The audio presentation for this topic (duration 14 minutes) under Topic Outline 2.
5. Click on 'To Begin=>Audio' to start playing the audio. 

What step is asking for a an enrolment key?

Picture of Diane Murley
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Diane Murley - Friday, 13 January 2006, 1:14 PM
When I click on "Preparing Course Presentations ..." (step 3), I get this screen.  I am logged in and cookies are enabled.

Picture of Elmer Masters
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Elmer Masters - Friday, 13 January 2006, 2:51 PM
You need to start the tutorial at LII by clicking here.  Once you finish the first section you get the key.  The announcement about this has drifted off the homepage, so I added the info to the course description.
Picture of Debra Cohen
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Debra Cohen - Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 5:33 AM

I thought I would add a post on my first Classcaster Experience.

First, thanks for the recorder.  I found it very easy to use.  The only thing I wish is that it had a plug in alternative or rechargable battery (like my cell phone or computer), but that probably would make it too expensive.  I know I am going to appreciate John's reminders about batteries. 

I have committed to doing weekly summaries in my first year contracts class.  I chose that class because we just did a curriculum revision and reduced contracts from 2 semesters 6 credits to 1 semester 4 credits.  On top of that, it was scheduled twice a week in 2 hour sessions.  I thought summaries would give me an alternative opportunity to summarize and review material -- something I usually do during class hours (at the beginning and end of each session), but did not think I would have time for this semester.

I found it very difficult to do my first summary.  I could not seem to just speak my summary extemporaneously into  the machine, and I really wanted to give informal reviews/summaries.  I realized I needed some students in the room to respond -- either head nods or questions.  So, I decided to offer review/summary sessions.  I told my students (a class of 67) that the session were voluntary, and that people who did not attend could listen to it on the blog. 

I held the first session and created two summaries (about 20 minutes each) which are now posted.  The first is an oveview of the course -- a general course outline with some general course expectations.  I want students to have this general outline available so that they when they get bogged down in the trees they can back up and remember the forest.  The second is a review of some of the material from my first 4 classes (some highlights from offer, acceptance and options).

Over 20 students came to the first session.  One student asked if she should take notes.  I suggested she could just listen as it would be available to take notes from later.  For a great deal of it the students did that, though a couple did start taking notes at various parts.  I found it interesting that most of the students held their questions until after I turned of the recorder.   At the end, they said they found it helpful.  Being able to record my review/summary instead of just speaking it into the machine worked much better for me.  The real test, of course, will be how many students come to the next session.

One of the things I realized is that I felt self counscious taping te summary/review and was a bit more formal than I usually am.  I am a bit torn.  Because I am taping these summaries/reviews, I feel they should be more organized and formal; however I don't want to create black letter law recordings.  

I am going to continue to experiment.  I am going to work to make the sessions more interactive.  I am also going to try  giving out a sample problem or two and using  a summary/review to go over the answer -- both the substantive answer and exam tips. 

I'm interested in hearing about how other people are handling their summary/reviews.


Picture of Carole Buckner
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Carole Buckner - Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 11:47 AM

I also am not able to extemporaneously record my summary.  I find it easiest to record the summary after writing a script, which I find easiest to do after I have just taught the class.  This way, my delivery is smooth with less need for editing (I am using the Audacity software to record and edit before converting to MP3).  By waiting until after the class to do the script, I am able to focus in on what students may have found challenging/confusing and give clarifying examples beyond what we've gone over in the class itself, as necessary.

Students initially exhibited some reluctance to speak when I recorded the class; but listening to the recordings they realized its hard to hear any of the student comments on the recordings, so now they seem to be back to normal.

One reason I think the recorded summaries are important is that student comments don't get picked up by the recorder, at least not by the one I am using (iRiver T30) in a large classroom with 75 students.  I don't parrot every student answer for the recording, so some of the content is lost by simply recording the class sessions, and this can be picked back up in the reviews.

Finally, students are remarking to me that the recordings and summaries are very helpful - some said they are using them to tune up their notes; one said he's listening just to review the material again (time on task).  I am also doing these for a 3rd year course which students sometimes have to miss because they are participating in moot court competitions, or court appearances through the clinic.  It is nice to be able to tell them they can just listen and make up the class.

Picture of Jennifer Martin
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Jennifer Martin - Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 1:43 PM
I am recording my classes, rather than doing the summaries.  I've had a couple of lessons to learn myself.  First, turn the recorder OFF after using it or the batteries burn out!  Second, keep extra batteries in my desk in case I forget step 1!  In class, despite the recording element, my students have had no reluctance toward speaking during class sessions.  They certainly do not hold back. Instead, I worry that I am holding back, knowing that every bad joke that I tell is now recorded and probably not nearly as funny as I find them at the moment in time.  Overall, the project is going well, I've had almost no problems in getting the class recordings converted to MP3 files and uploaded to the blog.  At this point, I am not editing the files, I just record and post on the blog.  I am not sure yet how much use the students are making of the recordings, but that might come in time.  Jennifer Martin
Picture of Charles Shafer
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Charles Shafer - Monday, 30 January 2006, 12:19 PM
I am doing summaries for first year Torts students.  These are evening students who take TOrts second semester. I found this much more difficult than I anticipated.  First I discovered, as did  others, that the only way to make a summary that lasted only 15 minutes or so was to plan it out very carefully.  I couldn't just sit back and pontificate.
 I also felt that I had to do something that provided some added value and that required a little more thought.  But it may be good because I find that it forces me to take the time to review classes and think about what seemed to be the most difficult concepts for students.  In addition I suppose that having just a few minutes to review meant that I had to decide what was really the most important points I want to make.
So I have found the actually preparation of the summaries more challenging than the technical aspects.  However, I do find Audacity a little clunky to deal with.  I'd like to be able to listen to my completed session and mark spots along the way quickly so that I know where to go back to.  ITs probably doable but I haven't figured it out yet. Anyone conquered this yet?
Finally I would like to have some accompanying charts for students to look at while I am talking but I fear that will destroy the portability of the product. Any suggestions?

Charles Shafer
University of Baltimore
Picture of John N ann
Re: My Classcaster experience
by John N ann - Monday, 30 January 2006, 2:32 PM
You can have a fairly mobile product if you create a quicktime movie (at least the high end iPods can both hear and see the product).  I have some software that makes it easy (Camtasia ($), and I'm sure that there are many others -- cheaper ones too) to make an mp3 version and then add images to the sound and save it as a QuickTime movie.  Doesn't take too much more time and you can have both.

John Nann
Picture of Carole Buckner
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Carole Buckner - Monday, 30 January 2006, 4:18 PM
I haven't done either of the tasks you mention yet, but I recall that both were covered on the tutorial.  I know it explains how to mark sections.  As I recall, you cannot link documents to an MP3.
Picture of Norman Garland
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Norman Garland - Monday, 30 January 2006, 1:54 PM

I have recorded 6 classes so far and it has been an easy, good experience.  To my surprise, the Olympus recorder, with the lapel mic attached, picks up most of the students' reponses and questions, even from far back in the large classroom.  Elmer thinks it is because I changed the settings on the recorder to highest quality. 

This weekend, I used the recorder during a practice round for a moot court team I am coaching.  The students were quite excited about the prospect of having their practice sessions available as podcasts. 

The entire process of recording and uploading takes so little time and effort--it is surprising.  There are a few technical steps necessary, but through regular repetition, I am getting better at it. 

I thank John and Elmer for making this available to us.  My students are very happy about it.

Picture of Danne Johnson
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Danne Johnson - Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 10:04 PM

Things are going well.  The recorder is easy to use I have found that using the recorder without the mic to be the best quality recording.  It has taken me 6 classes to really be good at the recording part.  I think that it will take me another 6 before I remember to mention the slide number that I am discussing.

This is fun.  Thanks for the support.

Picture of Debra Cohen
Week 5 of my Classcaster experience
by Debra Cohen - Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 10:57 PM

FIve weeks into my semester I thought I would post an update

Preparing an outline of my summary in advance to taping has definitely made for a smoother presentation. I think my  summaries are getting better, though depending on the subject matter, some go as long as 25 minutes. 

I am still taping in front of a live audience.  I have not yet resorted to cue cards for laughter or applause, but I might... ;)   In all honesty, I have to do it live becuase I can't seem to master just speaking into the recorder.  When I try I think it sounds lifeless.  I am just more animated in front of a live audience.  Also, I like the realtime feedback -- I can wathc the faces and that helps me figure out what needs reinforcement.  I also take questions at the end of each summary. 

Another advantages of doing a live summary is that, I can encourage those students that attend the sessions to listen and think instead of trying to write it all down.  I am getting an attendance of about 1/4 to 1/3 or my students at each summary session.

I have asked my students for feedback -- so far, it has been limited, but positive. 

I will note that I don't think the majority of students are using the podcasts.  My blog has only had about 175 hits to date.  Maybe as the midterm approaches in a week an half, usage will increase -- we will see.  

In addition to posting Contracts summaries, I have been taping my lectures to make them available (on a password basis) to students who missed class for a valid reason.  I'm contemplating whether to make taped lectures available to everyone.  I have mixed feelings... I would be interested in feedback from those posting lectures -- have you found any difference in your classes?  Is anyone doing both -- posting lectures and summaries for the same class?

Finally, I have also been taping my night class and making it available to all the students.  I decided to do this because our class is scheduled from 8-10pm this semester and I watch their concentration flounder,  particularly in the second hour.  I'm hoping they will use the tape to fill in what they missed. 

I look forward to reading insights from others ...

Picture of Lee Peoples
Incorporating Visual Media Into Podcasts
by Lee Peoples - Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 8:35 AM

Yesterday I went to a training session conducted by Apple on Podcasting and Education http://web.mac.com/ipodcentral/iWeb  They demonstrated how to create podcasts using the Apple software Garage Band.  Instead of just hearing my voice you can easily add background music, photos and hyperlinks to websites that will be displayed along with the audio.  Another piece of software discussed was Prof Cast which allows you to show PowerPoint slides along with your voice.  You can insert cues in the program to move through a series of slides.  I am anxious to try this type of podcasting as it is especially well suited to my advanced research courses.  In these types of courses students learn by seeing and doing as much as they learn by hearing or reading.  I imagine that many of the other faculty participating in the CALI Podcasting Project are also technically inclined and are using PowerPoint slides in class.  The value and impact of these slides are essentially lost to the podcast audience unless they are incorporated somehow.


Is anyone using Garage Band, Prof Cast or something similar to incorporate PowerPoint slides or other visual media into their podcasts?

Lee Peoples


Oklahoma City University Law Library

Picture of Charles Shafer
Re: Incorporating Visual Media Into Podcasts
by Charles Shafer - Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 10:48 AM

Can I and students use this stuff w/o a Mac

Picture of Diane Murley
Re: Incorporating Visual Media Into Podcasts
by Diane Murley - Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 11:34 AM
John and Elmer, if it fits with what you have planned for the next CALI conference, I would love to see a program or two on the best applications for adding visual media to podcasts and how to get started. I have a list of programs I want to experiment with, but it would help my learning curve to have someone experienced demonstrate them.
Picture of Elmer Masters
Re: Incorporating Visual Media Into Podcasts
by Elmer Masters - Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 3:45 PM
What programs are you interested in experimenting with?  I agree that this sounds a fertile area for conference presentations.
Picture of Diane Murley
Re: Incorporating Visual Media Into Podcasts
by Diane Murley - Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 7:00 PM
I mostly teach legal research, so I am interested in something that allows students to follow along with whatever I am displaying on my screen - PowerPoint slides, websites, licensed legal research resources, PDFs of print resources ...

Camtasia, which John Nann recommended here recently, looks interesting. A simpler approach might be RealProducer, which Peter Martin used for his tutorials. SMIL, which Peter mentioned as an alternative, also sounded promising. I thought I would like Macromedia's Captivate, but I think it is too Flashy (sorry) for most courses.

Our students use both Windows and Macs, so it would have to be something that would work on both.

I'm sure there are other products out there. Any suggestions?
Picture of John Mayer
Re: Incorporating Visual Media Into Podcasts
by John Mayer - Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 7:35 PM
Camtasia from Techsmith is currently the best of the commercial screen recorders.  It's a bit pricey ($399 I think), but it spits out the best Flash, Quicktime or WMV and it has the most features for adding/editing the sound and annotations. 

There are many competitors like Adobe Captivate and free software like WInk, but it's currently a features/arms race. 

Output to Flash is postive thing because it can be played on Win/Mac and Liniux PCs and there is also the capability to play it on PocketPC, Palm and other small form factor devices. 

This screencast was done in Camtasia.  I recorded the audio with an Olympus QWS-100 and later played it back and recorded the screencast with Camtasia and then mixed to the two together. 

I think tools like Camtasia will only get better. 
Picture of Diane Murley
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Diane Murley - Friday, 17 February 2006, 2:37 PM

I have been posting class lectures for a weekly first-year legal-research class since mid-January.  I am also planning to post weekly summaries, but I am a bit behind on those.


A student was just talking to me about his iPod, and he started telling me about podcasting and how someday students would be able to download their professors' lectures.  (Although I have not made subscription to the blog or podcast mandatory, I have told them about it more than once both in class and via email.)


I reminded the student that he could already do that for our legal research class.  The bad news was that he was so surprised, but the good news was that he was so excited he could go to the class blog and download all the lectures! 


While I had his attention, I told him that you were working on upgrading the feeds so they could be registered with the iTunes store and asked if he thought that would be helpful.  His answer was enthusiastically in the affirmative.  (Actually, he said, "Hello!  Yes!)


So, thanks!  And keep up the good work

Picture of Elmer Masters
Re: My Classcaster experience
by Elmer Masters - Friday, 17 February 2006, 4:07 PM
Funny you should mention the iTunes Storebig grin  I just finished modifing the code that generates the Classcaster feeds to include the special iTunes tags so you can submit your podcast to the iTunes Store.  I'm testing by submitting the Classcaster News feed to the store.  Once I'm sure that it will work, I'l let everyone know how to add their podcasts to the iTunes Store.
Picture of Diane Murley
Re: My Classcaster experience - Don't let this happen to you
by Diane Murley - Thursday, 23 February 2006, 3:18 PM
This morning before class, I had trouble getting my Olympus recorder to record.  I changed the battery and moved the hold switch, which may or may not have been on hold.  Still it was slow to start recording, but finally did.

When class was over I discovered that the recorder had stopped about 1/3 of the way through class.  After I fiddled with it some more, it finally gave me a "FULL" message.  (The recorder was in my pocket, and I didn't hear any warning beeps, but I wouldn't have stopped class anyway.)

I have now read the "LCD Display Information" at the bottom of page 4 of the instructions, so I know how to check for remaining recording time, and I will pay more attention to which files I should delete. 

This tale is offered so you can learn from my mistakes.
Picture of John Mayer
by John Mayer - Monday, 6 March 2006, 4:12 PM
I forgot to remind everyone to CHANGE THE BATTERY in their digital recorder a couple of weeks ago, and sure enough, it shows up in the survey from several students. 

So, in the voice of Cheech and Chong's Sister Mary Elephant...





Thank You.