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

Adobe 2012 Educator’s Choice Awards

Educator’s Choice Higher Ed Grand Prize Winner ‘Type Faces’ by Micheal Cole

I had the great opportunity to serve as one of the judges for the 2012 Educator’s Choice Awards sponsored by Adobe.  The contest celebrates the best projects, lesson plans, and curricula used to teach Adobe tools and technologies in innovative, creative and inspiring ways. There were several hundred entries. Many were fascinating.

The judges picked the finalists, then opened the judging up for the public to vote. Adobe announced the winners this morning! Congrats to all of the finalists and winners. A job well done!

Visit the Adobe Education Exchange and view the winning entries.

Nude Pose Series for Art Institutes

After some consulting for Art Institutes Game Art and Design program, I was asked to create a series of nude pose tools for their figure drawing course.

In a few meetings, it had come up that students taking these courses had difficulty getting models to pose for their nude sketch assignments. In a traditional face to face class, nude models often sit in front of a course and pose for a standard amount of time while students make their sketches. In an online environment, there are a few logistics which complicate this issue: rarely can all of the students “meet” online at a specific time while a model is “streamed” to the sketching audience. Students take online courses for convenience of their schedule. So it’s rare that an entire class can meet at the same time. In addition, most students learning at home can’t afford their own private nude model. And of those that can afford it, few models are willing to have their photo taken digitally so that an artist can “use” it for comparison later.

So I was asked to create a tool that would make this assignment much more doable by students working, and sketching from home. The request called for short and long pose assignments, and an evaluation tool  for each that would help faculty assess the sketches.

For the Short Pose activity, students get 30 random poses for a time limit specified by the faculty, say 1minute. Each pose is proceeded by a pose number which is recorded by the student in the corner of the sketch. The associated pose is shown for exactly one minute, then on to the next pose.

The Long Pose activity lets the students take as much time as they need to sketch a pose. In addition, the activity lets the student choose the model they wish to draw. The viewing angle can be set by the student by rotating the model in 360 degrees.  And finally, adjust the light to deepen shadows on the model. The faculty can then recall either short or long pose numbers to show what the student was viewing while making their sketch.

As usual, I designed the activity to be reusable by any class, by simply swapping out media assets (example: nude pose for still-life) making the activity useful in almost any Art Institute course where drawing or sketching is called for.

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

RACproducts.com E-commerce Store

We took our first step into the e-commerce world helping RACproducts.com deliver parts, support and training to its customers. From keyboard trays to car-wash parts, the site features everything needed to keep a rental-car operation running. The mobile ready site allows agency staff to place orders, on location, directly from the facility. And the site provides bonuses like video tutorials for servicing or installing equipment, video support and mobile ready. In lieu of a service call, smartphone video chats can be used to inspect onsite equipment and provide guidance to an agency’s staff. Advanced Authoring will be joining RACprocuts.com in Las Vegas in March to help advertise and promote the site. See RACproducts.com

Mobile Web for Post Bone Marrow Transplant Patients

We worked with Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital to create a mobile web site that delivers information designed to help patients better manage symptoms that usually occur during bone marrow transplant recovery. The site provides helpful advice from former patients and is designed to be available truly anytime, anywhere help is needed. In addition the application tracks patients’ use of the app, which provides valuable research data for doctors and nursing staff to improve treatments.

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.

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.!