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:
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 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.