Virtual Audience 2.0

Photo by Nighthawk7

I’m creating a new version…

I’ve been receiving a LOT of emails recently, from teachers, students, musicians, Toastmaster members and even a few psychologists asking for the link to be able to download the Virtual Audience.

Unfortunately, the existing version of the Virtual Audience has been removed from he server and is no longer available for download. BUT, I’m creating a new, better version, using HD Video with more features. The new product will meet different kinds of user’s needs rather than just being a generic audience. During the creation process I’ll be inviting users in to help me test, and to provide feedback. If you are interested please email me:
britt_carr (at) advancedauthoring (dot) com

CED Annual Meeting Presentation

I was asked by Raleigh-Durham’s Center for Entrepreneurial Development to help prepare a slideshow for their 2012 Annual Meeting. CED needed a way to communicate the outcomes of a 20+ years of connecting investors with start-ups. Advanced Authoring was asked to help add some visual punch to the PowerPoint content and did so by creating some simple, but bold graphics that helped relay their message. The meeting and the presentation was a success. Turn out was so high, a second presentation was scheduled that evening so that all of CED’s members could have the chance to see it. View the presentation as a PDF. You can also read the narrative of the presentation.

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.

The Impact Award!

image courtesy of Motion Soup

Today I was shocked when I started getting congratulatory emails on my way to the final meeting for this year’s Summer Institute in San Jose.

I had been presented with the Adobe Impact Award. Unfortunately, due to my own time zone mistake, I was not present when this was announced. But, upon my arrival, I was asked on stage to receive it. I was pretty shocked, but pleasantly surprised.

The award is presented to two higher education professionals and two k-12 educators worldwide for “contributions to the educational community”. Its great feeling to join the ranks of some of the other Ed Leaders that have received this before me!

Thanks Adobe!

Presenting at Adobe’s Ed Leader’s Institute 2010

image courtesy of fellow AEL Joseph Labrecque

Today, I gave a presentation to my fellow Ed Leaders on working with students to optimize Flash for mobile applications at the AEL Summer Institute in San Jose. There’s been a lot of criticism against Adobe that states that Flash crashes browsers, or uses too many resources, or takes to long to download. I’ve never found this to be the case. However, I have seen instances where a development could be optimized to make the activity look/feel better for the end user.

The presentation’s initial proposal was written to show users how easy it was to export AIR applications and seamlessly turn them into iPhone apps. But in early April, the rules changed due to Apple’s stance on Flash, and the change in wording in their developer license. Since I had to change the focus of the presentation anyway, I figured it would be good to discuss best practices for optimizing Flash. These are good rules of thumb in general. But, when it comes to mobile delivery of Flash apps, special considerations apply since you have limited memory, processing and screen size.

The gist of the presentation boiled down a 92-page white-paper by Thibault Imbert and Paul Robertson (Optimizing Performance for the Adobe Flash Platform) as well as some practical tips by others in the industry.

The video of the presentation will be on Adobe TV soon. I’ll post a link as it becomes available.

The Adobe Ed Leader’s Institute

image courtesy of fellow AEL, Joseph Labrecque

The end of July marks the time when Adobe hosts the Ed Leader’s Summer Institute. This is a week packed full brainstorming, sharing of ideas, product insights, research results, and professional development. Not to mention meeting some amazing thinkers. The schedule starts at 9am (7:30 for those seeking certification) and runs usually until around 10pm throughout the week!

As Adobe invitees, AELs are given sneak peeks at the products in development, and sometimes given the opportunity to weigh-in on their usefulness and practicality. Due to the non-disclosure AELs are under, I can’t discuss what I have seen so far, except to say that more pleasant surprises await Adobe users in the future.

I’ll be presenting on optimizing Flash for mobile delivery. The video of the presentation should be available in a few weeks on the Adobe TV Ed Leaders Channel.