Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World
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  1. Joshua Joshua
    December 16, 2008    

    Hi there, I noticed you mentioned a failed attempt or two at transfering your large files. Why not try 2large2email (http://www.2large2email.com/)? They’ve got a free plan that allows transfering individual files of up to 100mb in size.

  2. December 18, 2008    

    Hi Terry,

    I have taken a different approach to grading papers and providing feedback. Compare this to what you are doing with Adobe Acrobat. Tell me what you think of the comparison.

    I use an IBM Tablet PC (ThinkPad, X61) and have my students submit files in .pdf format. I purchased an inexpensive program called PDF Annotator (http://ograhl.com/en/pdfannotator/) that allows me to annotate the .pdf document in ways that Adobe Acrobat does not provide.

    I mark up papers on the screen, much the same way I would when grading papers by hand. I save the marked up file as a .pdf file.

    I use TokBox (http://www.tokbox.com) to record a short video commentary about a student’s paper. TokBox hosts the video clip and gives me a URL link to the video message.

    I send an email to a student with the graded paper (marked up .pdf document) attached to the email. The .pdf file is relatively small and generally does not cause a file size problem.

    I include the hyperlink to the video message within the text of the email.

    When the email is received, the student prints the .pdf file. The student then clicks on the link to the video message. The video message displays in a flash player.

    The student reviews the graded document while I talk to the student through the video message about the paper. [NOTE: A TokBox message may last up to 15 minutes in length.]

    Both the audio message that you described and the TokBox video message are asynchronous. I think you may find that the video message provides a warmer way of communicating between you and your student.

    You indicated that you use a MAC computer. Does your computer run both the Apple and Windows operating systems? If yes, I think you should be able to run the programs that I use.

    Student feedback has been extremely positive to the approach that I described here. It is a very way to interact with a student. The method is easy to use.

    Tell me what you think.

    Rick Lillie (CalState San Bernardino)

    • Phil Ice Phil Ice
      December 28, 2008    

      Hi Rick,
      Just a couple of points. PDF Annotator is indeed a good tool and works well if one has Acrobat, but not Acrobat Pro. If you have the full version of Acrobat Pro all of the features in Annotator are present. You can also use a graphics tablet to duplicate the drawing and manual markup features if you have a desktop or non-tablet laptop.

      With respect to the video clip – I have been playing a bit with video and the results seem to offset each other to some extent. As you note, the video is indeed perceived as being warmer by the student. However, when I have drilled down into how students learn from audio feedback what I have found is that they frequently listen to the instructors comments while reading the section that is being commented on. When a video clip is provided they tend to view the feedback and then read what is being commented on. Whether or not they retain the comments better in either format is still a question I am working on – not a large enough data set to make that call yet. However, if you are working along the same lines I would love to talk with you about your research.

      Phil Ice

      • Rick Lillie Rick Lillie
        December 29, 2008    

        Hi Phil,

        Let’s write or talk soon. I would like to hear about your work.

        I use Adobe Acrobat Professional 7.0. I have tried using it with a graphics pad. However, the performance is not too good. I find PDF Annotator to be far more flexible than anything that Adobe Acrobat can do.

        I have offered feedback in both audio and video formats. Students seem to prefer video feedback. I think the preference for video has to do with instructor presence in the process. It may also have something to do with a student’s learning preference (i.e., visual versus aural).

        Student comments suggest that the combination of email + annotated .pdf document atttachment + video link provides a learning experience similar to what they would get when visiting with the instructor during office hours. While the technique that I use is asynchronous, it provides interaction similar to a synchronous experience that takes place during an office visit.

        Let’s talk sometime soon. I’ll be happy to share ideas with you.

        Happy New Year!

        Rick Lillie

  3. December 19, 2008    

    Terry, your post made me think of Russell Stannard’s work with screen capture programmes to give student feedback.

    Russell has done a lot of work with this, and the fact that the result is just one video file makes it a simple solution.

    You can check it out for yourself here: http://russellstannard.com/

  4. December 19, 2008    

    I’ve tried that sort of thing a few years ago with Captivate – which we have on Campus.
    It let me highlight parts of the document on screen (in this case, Word, but could have been anything) & comment. It then creates a .swf based file – which I sent the student. I could have added text annotations – but didn’t (she was dyslexic – hence trying this method) & could have added a rubric at the end (there wasn’t one for that particular exercise)

    She was most appreciative – and it was fairly straightforward for me. (though not particularly good at time saving, as my typing’s pretty fast)

    Other staff are experimenting at the moment using Wimba Voice tools to create audio files. ONe thing that’s come out is that because Wimba attaches it to an email & sends it to the student, the lecturer has had to mark each essay in turn, and then to send the students the *feedback*, but not the actual grade, as she doesn’t want to release them till they’ve all been marked.
    As a consequence, she said, the students are taking much more notice of the feedback, as they try to work out what grade they think they’ll be getting…

  5. December 19, 2008    

    I’m intrigued by the various ways that it is now possible to do this. One way that worked well for us in a international distance ed context was:

    1. use digital recorder or mp3 player. Record feedback as you’re working through the assignment. The recorders generally record small wav files, so conversions not usually necessary. We tried to keep them under 5 minutes, (as requested by students).
    2. save, plug recorder in to computer, itunes pops up.
    3. save files with clear identifier–name of student, assignment # etc.
    4. attach in the CMS (we used WebCT with the assignment tool, but could work with WebCT email as well) along with a rubric for the assignment.

    This worked well with distance students who were on slower connections, much to our surprise. We did a mini-study on it, reported here (http://www.editlib.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Reader.ViewAbstract&paper_id=21228) , in relation to transactional distance and teaching presence.

  6. December 21, 2008    

    Thanks for sharing your experience — and thanks to all those who commented before me! I have some new ideas to try when the next semester starts!

  7. Mark Crawford Mark Crawford
    January 7, 2009    

    Terry: THis posting and discussion are encouraging. I have never found this subject to be discouraging, in part because of cost and ease of administration. I hope to get a trial going early in the new year at the undergraduate level with volunteers in nursing, psychology, CLL, SALS and business.

    I think I remember Brian Stewart saying that Wimba can do the same thing as Adobe Pro, and that the WImba suite is actually less costly than the full Adobe suite (with communications, etc.) THis troubles me slightly, because I fear that students and tutors may balk at having to swallow WIMBA plus MOODLE, while Adobe Pro, merely gives them the option in most cases of either submitting word e-mail attachments or uploading to Moodle as the case may be. I think that the option of Adobe voice feedback could be picked up quite quickly–i.e. in 2009!

    I was just wondering what you think of WImba as an alternative or substitute for Adobe. I know it may bebetter for languages because of voicemail nad podcast features, but…I don;t want the use of voice feedback to be a hostage to all those other issues.

    cheers, and Happy New year,


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  1. WebTools For Teachers 01/01/2009 « WebTools For Learners on January 1, 2009 at 5:33 am

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