Art Institute’s Virtual Studio

The main screen of A.I’s Virtual Studio draws the student into an interactive panorama. Click to launch the site! Flash Player required.

Shortly after Craig Taylor and I spoke at Adobe MAX ’09 in L.A., Art Institute approached me about making a custom interaction for their photography program. They were looking for an interactive way to help students learn diagnosis procedures for photography studio lighting with the level of realism we delivered for the Miami University’s Theatre Lighting Crisis.

We designed a few custom components to be re-used by a sister (South) university’s nursing activity which is currently in the works. The logic and procedures will be very similar to the VS’s components. But, by inserting new imagery, a completely new look and feel can be achieved (stay tuned on that one).

The folks over at Education Management’s Corporation’s Instructional Design (Mike Link) and Photography offices at A.I. did a top-notch job on providing us with the best high-res digital assets to work with. This activity is so smooth and flowing, and the imagery is so clear, you actually feel like you are in the studio yourself. This immersive environment works the way it was supposed to.

Students of A.I. are taught the procedures of setting up the electrical components and diagnosing failure points in class before they actually do the online activity. Having that info already provided for them left us the ability to focus on the interaction and real-game play.

Here’s how it works…

You, the photographer, have 10 minutes to make sure the studio’s electrical components are functioning properly before the supermodel arrives for the shoot. You need to work in the correct order (as taught in class) to fix/connect things that are broken or loose. Make sure you check everything. Go!!

Try Art Institute’s Virtual Studio yourself.

This custom component includes error checking and order-of-operations logic that can be re-used by other Art Institute interactions, simply by swapping the image assets.

Users need to inspect and replace the bulbs with care

Looks like we’ll be doing more activities for A.I. and its sister university in the future!

© 2012 The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Online Division. Republished with permission from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Online Division. Unauthorized copying or use prohibited.

Miami University Faculty Remote Training

A slide explaining features of the Speech Recording System

Today I’ll be introducing Miami University Communication Faculty to a series of activities my team at ALT and I designed for them based around the Flash Platform. I’m in Chapel Hill, NC these days. They are in Oxford Ohio. So, I’ll be joining there meeting virtually to explain how these activities work.

I’ll be introducing them to four different types of activities, and also to a desktop system (deployed with AIR) that allows them to effortlessly capture students’ classroom speeches.

The Four Activities:

Communication Apprehension (2 separate activities) were designed to measure students’ level of apprehension with public speaking. The students do this activity at the beginning and end of the semester, and compare the results.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct. These two activities present cases of inappropriate activity in various academic settings. The activities are designed to help students recognize forms of misconduct that aren’t as obvious as copying someone’s homework. Students are asked to identify the problem, and then come up with a proper solution. After answering in the essay style, students are given the correct answers. Each question is followed by two Likert style questions: “Did you understand the case and it’s correct answer?” and “Do you agree with the correct answer?”.

Students rate how they felt about the activities:

Academic Misconduct Activity -Answers and Likert Scale to help measure student understanding.

The four activities are linked to the faculty’s “Activity Monitor” which allows them to see graphs of the entire classes level of understanding and agreement, allowing them to understand where the class is in it’s collective thinking, and identify areas of trouble or students with particular concerns. The faculty can also see individual scores, and by clicking the students name, can drill-down to see individual answers to help them immediately identify students that need extra attention.

The desktop speech recording software records students’ speeches as they deliver them in front of the class. The speeches are recorded, backed up to the faculty’s jump drive, then transferred to a Flash Media Server. We took a few months to build the interface and went through several iterations to get it just right. Most of the common errors that happen were fixed by automating features to make recording/streaming as easy as choosing the speech type, the student name, and hitting the “record” button. Here’s a peek at the interface:

The processes for recording, naming, backing up, uploading to a streaming server were streamlined to make capturing the speeches as error-free as it can be.

The central interface for the Evaluation system, currently under construction, allows the student to review and comment on their speeches after the fact, and eventually will allow for annotation (text, audio or video) and self-scoring.

The desktop application was built using the Flash platform and delivered via AIR. This allows Miami to do three things:

1) Create one version of the software and deploy on MAC/PC or Linux.

2) Adjust the interface to make it easier in the future (based on the analysis of support calls).

3) Allows us to publish and distribute new versions of the software automatically. As the faculty start the software, it automatically checks to see if a new version is available. If it is, the faculty can download and seamlessly install with the click of one (1) button.

Adobe Education Exchange – New!!

The Adobe Education Exchange promises to be an excellent source of Adobe curriculum written by and for teachers and for students from k-16. It also will allow its members (sign-up is free) to share ideas and build networks with other educators in the same disciplines or areas of interest. But resources on the exchange aren’t limited to curriculum centered around Adobe products. Ideas, activities and curriculum are categorized by members who share by age group, activity and area of study to make things easier to find.

After being online for a little over a month, it already has over 900 members.

Check it out here!

Transition to Consulting

Advanced Authoring

Friday, August 6 is my last day as an Instructional Designer and Technology Specialist, on campus, at Miami University.

I’ll be moving my family to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where I will be serving as a consultant and Creative Director/Founder for Advanced Authoring LLC. I started Advanced Authoring in 1996 to create websites and presentations. But, after the successes at Miami and several external requests for interactive learning activities, Advanced Authoring will move into the online and hybrid learning space. I’ll helping a number of universities and businesses fulfill their e-learning, mobile and educational game needs.
Some on the list include:

  • Art Institutes
  • South University
  • Argosy University
  • Southern Methodist University

In addition, I will continue support the faculty at Miami.

It’s been a great nine years at Miami. I’ve worked with some incredible faculty and made some great friends at Advanced Learning Technologies. I’ve also been blessed with a team of very talented student workers that help me create these learning activities.

Thankfully, my management always supported my ideas, efforts and creativity to make learning activities more meaningful and engaging to the learner. I also have to thank them for encouraging professional development. I’ve learned so much over the years. Thank you Gail, Carolyn and Robert.

Thank you Miami and A.L.T.!