Last summer I was asked to develop a more interactive version of an existing tutorial. The Miami Academic Integrity Training project is a training that will be shown to all first and second year students. It is was designed to promote academic integrity, while at the same time, introducing students to writing and research resources they have at their disposal.
Although the training introduces sound practices for writing and research, the content itself was dry and static. The client asked me to create a more interactive, fun and intriguing tutorial. The client mentioned that the first two passes didn’t go over well with student focus groups.
To combat the static nature of the content, and reduce the time it took to get through the training, I decided to go with an interactive ‘paperworks’ style training video I’d seen on YouTube recently (thank you commoncraft.com for the inspiration). The animated video provides information and is occasionally paused by a Flash based activity requiring the student to interact. At the end of each section is a multiple choice test (this one isn’t boring) embedded in the video. Flash is awesome!
We’ve had a few changes along the way. We know we’ll have to make more changes. But, we’ve come up with a first pass that seems like it might work well. But let me know what you think. For best player results, install the latest Adobe Flash Player.
See the Academic Integrity Video
The Impromptu Widget allows Intro to Speech students the chance to practice giving an unprepared speech.
Students in Miami’s “Public Expression and Critical Inquiry” course needed a way to rehearse the steps necessary for giving an unprepared speech. As an exercise in class, the students are given a choice between a quote, or a current event. They have three minutes to prepare an argument that supports their point of view. Then, they have to present that point of view for five minutes.
To help the students perfect this technique, I was asked to build a program that would pick a random topic from a list of either quotes or current events. We decided to up the ante and actually record the video/audio of the practices to let the student watch their own progress over time. The videos are private (not even faculty see the practice videos) and the student can make as many as they need to perfect their technique.
Students enter their credentials, then are prompted between using a quote or a random current event pulled from one of several approved RSS feeds. Once they choose, they are given the random topic and have three minutes to plan the speech. At the end of three minutes, student’s web cams or microphones record their impromptu speech for a total of five minutes or until they stop the recording.
We chose to build application in Flex and use Flash Media Server to actually record the speeches. Since the Impromptu Widget could be used at other times in the course and in other departments at Miami (Foreign Languages, Theatre, Video/Television Production), Flex and FMS seemed to be the appropriate environment.