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Friday, August 26, 2005

Migration from F2F to online lectures

It looks like Purdue is planning to offer lecture podcasts in the fall. (Thanks to Dan for the link).

The press release mentions that they don't expect students to stop attending lectures if podcasts are made available. I would be very interested to see data on this as more universities offer lectures onlines.

What I found from my podcasting/screencasting pilot started in February 2005 with an online optional organic chemistry class is that by the last week of lectures only 10-20% of students attended lectures.

In the spring of 2005 the pilot was used as a template to apply to a few more courses. I was able to perform a more thorough analysis by taking daily attendance and plotting vs. RSS data obtained from Feedburner for two of the classes. The data show that:

1) Students who are going to subscribe to the podcast or blog feed for the class using RSS are going to do so within a few days at the start of class or will not do so at all. Instead of using RSS, the rest of the class go directly to the blog to view the screecast or download the mp3 files.

2) Students did not unsubscribe from the class blog after the class was over.

3) Two months after the class was over, RSS subscriptions doubled for one of the classes. Clearly there is demand out there for open content lecture recordings.

Here is a talk where I discuss these results.

The following plots were taken from two online optional Spring Term Organic Chemistry classes at Drexel. The classes run from day 1 to day 69. The % attendance was obtained from sign-up sheets at each lecture. The % subscribed was obtained from FeedBurner statistics and assumes that all RSS subscribers were students in that class. The spike from day 110-140 in the second class likely represents subscribers not at Drexel.

Here are details about how the podcasts and screencasts were made.

next RSS club meeting

RSS Club Meeting Wednesday August 31rst, 2005 at 11:00 in 4020 Macalister

If you are thinking of recording lectures or presentations on a Tablet PC for the Fall Term, this would be a good meeting to attend.

Are you interested in learning or sharing your knowledge about RSS (Really Simple Syndication)?

This includes subscribing to or creating


-podcasts (automatic mp3 distribution)

-screencasts (distribution of video)

-Flickr (share pictures)

-Bloglines (subscribe to RSS feeds)

-Blogger (easily create blogs)


There are now some classes at Drexel providing podcast and screencast feeds of recorded lectures. If interested RSVP Jean-Claude.Bradley@drexel.edu

Sunday, August 21, 2005

SiteMeter Worldmap

I have previously posted about the usefulness of SiteMeter as a free tool to find out how people are finding your blog. They have recently added a feature that displays a map of where your visitors are located. It is free for the last 100 visitors.

This is a great way to demonstrate graphically that open course materials are accessed broadly. Here is a map for my CHEM 243 class. Putting the mouse pointer on top of the dots gives more detailed information.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Walk through my neighborhood

If you thought GoogleMaps was cool because you could see your house on the satellite view, check out A9.com Maps. It has street level pictures of several large cities. That means you can actually take a virtual walk down a particular street.
Not all streets are photographed but the Drexel University area is. Take a walk down the 3300 block of Chestnut street, where I work.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Blogger Word Interface

Blogger now has an interface through Microsoft Word.
It means that you have the full Word editing tools for your Blogger posts, including the spell checking as you type.
Here is some Gothic Font as a test.
I am testing it out with this post and it looks really good so far.

Friday, August 05, 2005

science blogs

Thanks to Jorge for alerting me to the New Scientist's article about science blogs.

I think it is important to distinguish between the different kinds of blogs with that label.

1) General Science updates. These basically report on news in science as it comes out in press releases and publication in major journals. Many of these are interchangeable. Useful to keep on top of major announcements but short on detail.

2) Personal science blogs. Usually anonymous. Reports on the daily grind of working in a lab. If you have ever worked in a lab you will appreciate these.

3) Scientific results. This is what I would like to see a lot more of. Experimental details. Links to literature. Basically scholarship. By definition these blogs should not be widely popular because the detail required to explain the concepts makes them accessible to those familiar with the field (a nice example of the long tail). These can be new experimental results or detailed reviews of the literature. This is what I am trying to achieve with the students working in my lab or taking my organic chemistry class. It is much more difficult to maintain the standard of scientific rigor with undergraduates but I think we are getting there.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

True Open Source Scholarship

I started a wiki for the EduFrag project earlier this week and that seems to be going well so far. I decided to write the first article about the project in the wiki as well. That means that the most current draft of the article can be found here. When we are done we'll send it to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, probably Innovate.

I am hoping that those involved in the educational gaming field will give us some feedback as the draft is being written. This way of publishing should have the advantage of absolute immediacy in communicating to the RSS fluent community while targeting the more traditional community at a later time through the peer-reviewed publication.

Of course, most journals will not publish articles that are "pre-printed" but some will and I will compile a list here.

This process should result in an even more rigorously scrutinized "peer-reviewed" document. I know that if my RSS feeds flag a wiki that lists examples of podcasting in higher education, I will add my organic chemistry classes as examples. I expect others to do the same in my wiki.

I'll report on how things develop in this blog.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

new blogging service for teachers

If you were hesitating to use Blogger for your classes, Edublogs.org might be a better solution. Apparently there is more teacher control here, like previewing student posts before they become public.

So far I have not had any problems that Blogger didn't let me solve but I'll keep this one in mind in case.

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