Thursday, January 26, 2006

iTunes U

Are you an educator that sees value in recording or taping your lectures or demonstrations and making them available to your students? Be it video or audio, you can now do it easily with Apple’s new service: iTunes U. It’s a no cost hosted service that allows educators to post their recorded media files and make them available over the Internet to their students. Students can listen or view the material directly on their computers, or if they have iPods, they can seamlessly download your media to their iPod using the Apple iTunes software. Note that only those lucky students with video iPod can view your video content on their portable device. From their iPod they can listen and/or view your material 24/7 anywhere they go! Now that scores big points for accessibility.

Some people reading this may note that any good LMS such as WebCT, D2L, or Sakai, can also host audio and video files, so what’s the advantage of using iTunes U if your educational institution has an LMS? The advantage is that the bandwidth requirement is displaced from your school’s LMS server to Apple’s server. That can make a big difference in server performance with large audio and video files. You can alleviate some of the bandwidth pressures on your local institution’s LMS server by displacing the bandwidth requirement to Apple’s server. Obviously, if your school doesn’t have an LMS, iTunes U looks very attractive indeed!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why Skype is getting lots of Hype

It was my Dad's birthday this week; he's 62 years old. He and I don't live in the same city and we see each other only a hand full of times each year. I spoke to him to wish him happy birthday and he's doing well. I called him from my home, I have no land telephone line and my cell phone was dead. So instead, I used Skype. It's a piece of software that allows free voice transmission over the Internet and it’s from the makers of the infamous KaZaa! But don’t let that dissuade you from trying it. It's incredibly easy to use... anyone with a high-speed Internet connection and a headset can use it. The clarity is phenomenal and far outweighs the audio transmission possible over other popular instant messaging services such as MSN or ICQ.

So what does this topic have to do with e-education? Well, I think Skype can be used as a no-cost method of increasing student-to-student interaction at a distance so that they can work collaboratively as a team. For those students who enjoy a bit of synchronous interaction with their team members that extends above and beyond conventional text-based chat, this could work very well. In fact, a teleconference with multiple participants can be undertaken with the newest versions of Skype. Because it's so easy to use, has no cost associated with it, and has excellent audio quality, Skype is getting lots of hype! Try it. You might just like the impact it has on your long distance bill as well.

5000+ Hits!

It's a new record! The last 1,000 hits only took 10 weeks to achieve! It took 15 weeks to move from 2,000 to 3,000 hits and 14 weeks to move from 3,000 to 4,000 hits. Nice!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Instructional Design Practitioners - what should they do to stay successful?

I am a practitioner in the field of Instructional Design. Currently the field is fast changing and Instructional Designers are focussing on melding their systematic methods of course design with project management theory in an increasingly online format. As budgets become progressively tighter and expectations for course design in the online modality become increasingly higher, new and innovative approaches that combine multidisciplinary educational teams strongly rooted in a practical project management framework will emerge in the future. With this being said, what should Instructional Designers do today to stay successful in the Course Development business in the future? They should seek out opportunities to work in multidisciplinary teams, continuously challenge themselves to think outside the box and always engage in life-long learning to be prepared to adapt to the future needs in the field. In addition, possibly obtaining formal project management experience would be something to consider strongly. Armed with these skills and attitudes, Instructional Designers will be able to contribute positively to the development of online courses well in the future.

What do you think? Leave a comment by clicking below.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Corporate Training and e-Learning Blog - New Blog to the Blogroll

Corporate Training and e-Learning Blog by Jenna Sweeny President of CramerSweeney Instructional Design has been added to the Blogroll on the right hand side of this page..