Friday Session Reviews

VoiceThread: Perspectives on Small and Large-Scale Adoption

Michelle Pacansky-Brock and Matt Meyer

This fantastic session featured two perspectives on using VoiceThread.  The slides for this session can be found at tiny.cc/et4online.

Michelle started things off with how she uses VT in her online courses.   Primarily she uses VT to introduce documents and for formative assessments.   

She was very enthusiastic and is clearly an expert on incorporating VT into a course.  While her perspective is that of small, online, art history courses her ideas and expertise would benefit anyone thinking of adopting VT.  

Michelle has a blog teachingwithoutwalls.com where she discusses the use of emerging  technologies like VT.  Her blog received some rather effusive praise from some of those in attendance.    Michelle also hosts monthly webinars on teaching with VT at webinars.voicethread.com. If you find either of these useful, Michelle also has a forthcoming book Teaching With Emergent Technology.

The second part of the session was on implementing VT at the university wide scale.  This was probably more relevant to those in ISS than to grad students and faculty but was informative all the same.  Mark pointed to some excellent support sites for VT at Penn State and UNC: voicethread.unc.edu,  voicethread.psu.edu .

During the Q and A there were several questions about accessibility.  Voicethread Universal was pointed to as a tool for scree-reader compatible VT.  For the hearing impaired, there are not currently captioning abilities within VT.   Amanda, part of VT’s sales team, did say these capabilities are being worked on and may be rolled out in the Fall.  Michelle also noted a work-around: she cross-posts  her video comments to YouTube to take advantage of the cc abilities their.

‘Buns and Burners’: Open STEM Education in the UK

Viv Rolfe presented STEM resources and perspectives from the UK while facilitating discussion about open education.  

The main resource: Jorum.ac.uk — an OER repository in the UK.  It was compared to merlot.org in the session, but a better comparison is open.umich.edu .  The site is a hub for OER; the R, resources is more broadly defined  than MERLOT’s focus on applet-style learning objects.  Another starting point for the ongoing LO hunt. 

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