Improptu Widget


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.

This entry was posted in Interactive, learning activity, Video and tagged , , , by Britt Carr. Bookmark the permalink.

About Britt Carr

I am the founder and Creative Director for Advanced Authoring, a company dedicated to making learning more interactive and engaging, and sometimes even portable. I have spent the last 15 years consulting as an Instructional Designer and Technology Specialist for multiple universities' Learning Technologies units. I was responsible for helping faculty and teaching staff include learning objects into their courses. In this role I help faculty develop both personal and distance learning websites, interactive media, and advanced presentations technology. From my innovative work in the field, I have been recognized by Adobe Systems as a worldwide Higher Education Leader. Before assisting universities, I worked as an Internet Strategist for Macromedia, Inc. I created and managed Macromedia’s Innovation Award program which highlighted web developer’s talents and ground-breaking use of rich media in the education and e-Learning fields. I am a certified Macromedia Flash Designer and hold a B.S. in Broadcasting from Northern Arizona University and a M.Ed. in Educational Media and Computers from Arizona State University.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s