Friday, May 11, 2007

Outline of FSI session.

Next Tuesday I'm leading a hands-on session at FSI entitled ---
Online Hybrids: Using Respondus for Presentation Qua Assessment Parts I & II
Below is an outline for the session
Word Version of the Content Below (for Printing)

* * * * *

1. Introductions -

2. Making sure everyone can log into their computer, can launch Respondus and a Browser, and has found the Respondus Projects folder.

3. Take the demo lecture alternative to get a sense of what this is about.
a. If the demo is not already in the Respondus Projects folder (it is called FSI_Demo) then get it, click the checkbox and select download as zip. Then open the Zip and drag the FSI_Demo folder into the Respondus Projects folder.
b. Make sure the Current Personality in Respondus is set to WebCT 6/Vista 4. Then open the FSI_Demo project.
c. That should take you to the Edit tab and will give you a sense of how to author in Respondus. So far there are four questions in this assessment. Select any question and after the popup window appears click the Modify button. Search around the question a bit. See if you can figure out how things work on your own. (If your cursor is in one part of the question, clicking the PowerEdit button brings up a bigger window to display that content.) At this point don’t actually change the content that is there.
d. Go to the Preview and Publish Tab. Click the Preview button. Then make the Preview window big enough that you can see both the full question and the feedback. Read through that and then do likewise for the other questions in the assessment.
e. Go back to the Edit Tab. You are now going to write a concluding question for this assessment. If there is a question showing click the Clear Form Tab. Then choose the question type. Select the Enable Feedback checkbox and start authoring. You can learn the other functionality in Respondus as you author. When you’re satisfied with your question, preview it, make any mods based on that, and then add the question to the end of the list.

4. This is a change gears part. We’re going to find some interesting multimedia content that you can use in your own lecture alternative.
a. You can skip this step for now if you’re uncomfortable making an account on a commercial service site. For those continuing with this step go to If you don’t have an account, register for one. Then login. If you do have an account login.
b. Go to this page that has links to some well known online repositories. Choose one of the links and then search the site for content suitable for the course you teach. Feel free to search other sites that might have print content or picture content. But for now do stick with Free sites that don’t require a paid subscription.
c. When you have found some content that is promising, bookmark that site. (Click the post link, add your own annotation, and give it the tag sources_for_content.) This way we can share the content that the group found.
d. Now pretend to be a student (and cheat!!) Don’t view the content. Ultimately you need to do that, of course, but that can be done after our session is over. You want to make the most of the time we have.

5. Now you are ready to author your own online alternative with Respondus. At this point it’s probably good to make a quick sketch of how you want to proceed. You might use the external content to introduce the issues and then move to your own analysis. You might want to go to the external content after a bit of setup. This is for you to think through and try different approaches.
a. Most textbooks start with the principle and then go to the example to illustrate the principle. A tip is to start with the example and try to choose examples that are interesting in their own right irrespective of your course. Then go from the example to the principle.
b. Because Respondus is Modular you don’t have to know a full layout in advance. Questions can be re-ordered quite easily. Ultimately your ordering should satisfy the test that the subsequent question in some way flows from what preceded it. If the questions are disjoint, you miss the dialogic aspect.
c. But when an idea for a particular question occurs to you, author it then and there before you lose the thought. You can come back to it later to try to build in the connection.

6. There will be a Webcam for recording mini lectures and for you to get the experience of doing that. We’ll take turns so everyone can get a chance to do this. (Note to Mac users with an embedded iSight Camera. iMovie doesn’t recognize the embedded camera. If you have an external camera, this can work fine. Otherwise, you need a different software application to capture the video. Then you can bring the capture video into iMovie to compress it and do other processing.) There is the issue of what to do with the Video Content afterwards.
a. The Webcam produces video in .wmv content. That content can embed in a browser, but experience suggests that there may be problems playing the video in browsers other than Internet Explorer. One alternative is to provide a link to the content that will launch the player in a different window.
b. Converting the Video to Flash may be the best way to assure cross platform. Quicktime is another choice. If you upload your video to Google Video, it will do the conversion (to Flash in a 320 x 240 resolution) automatically, that’s what was used for the demo.
c. If you don’t want to host the video on a commercial server like Google, you should consider the possibility of getting the video files to the students separately and then having them access it off their own computer so they don’t face lags in download or streaming while they are doing the assessment.

7. When you’ve produced some content and your neighbor has done likewise swap computers with your neighbor so you can take each others assessment and then provide a peer critique. Ultimately for this stuff to be effective in use it should be tested with students for their reaction. Back on your campus, if you can get peers to develop along with you then you can serve as each other’s editor. That should make the development a lot easier than doing it all yourself.

8. Assigning the making of these as course projects for the students. If you do this, make sure they are due early enough in the semester that you can administer the submissions to other students in the class. This is a way to get peer review of student work.

Other reading:


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