Berkeley course video in the news

November 6, 2006

Nice article in today’s SF Chronicle about Rich Muller’s Physics for Future Presidents course available on Google Video.

Here’s another interesting tidbit: the first lecture of his course has 175 ratings.

There’s an earlier article about Muller’s online course in the UC Berkeley news with lots more great letters from around the world.

It’s nice to finally have an article focus on the positive aspect of open access online video for worldwide teaching.

More about the media captioning idea

November 2, 2006

OK, poetry’s outta my system for a bit. Back to software. (May they inspire each other)…

When I last threw out some ideas about online media captioning there was a lot of interest. Must be onto something.

I owe the dotSUB folks a piece of video to get the ball rolling. I’m also happy that folks from two different schools (PSU, NC State) commented that they’d like to get in on this collaboratively and find some funding.

Meanwhile, I re-discovered the BBC’s Annotatable Audio project. Similar concept in terms of Wiki-style annotations to help others find segments. I wonder if this project ever got put into production. Either way, more food for thought.

The captioning idea could be succesful because it has a distinct annotation goal (transcript, captioning, translation) and interface pre-segments. Let’s keep this one going.

Oddrey Heartburn

November 2, 2006

Spoonful of noodles
spilled some.

Another old pome

November 2, 2006

Your made bed
must be slept in
so take my cake
I sing on tip top
for you matter
over my mind
Never Never
the tit milkĀ  for
tat tears spilt
over the honey
Land lunar our
steps even small
ones leap like a
kind man greater
when we’re whole
than apart some.

Eve of All Hallows’ Eve

October 31, 2006

The night before Halloween, eating the toasted seeds from this freshly carved jack-0′-lantern, washing it down with some Saviennieres. Addicted to Cash’s “American Recordings”. Backing up media, organizing the rolodex. Reflecting, looking ahead. Reminds me of a pome I wrote long ago:

Carving a pumpkin on newspaper

    Funnies. Obituaries.

“Disappearing Students” forum at Cal

October 26, 2006

There was a forum yesterday sparked by a faculty listserv discussion about low attendance. This has also been covered in the Contra Costa Times and Chronicle of Higher Ed.

Coursecasting was often the bugaboo. There was even confusion about whether or not the forum was about coursecasting.

There was also a lot of media there. So far, a video from KPIX news and a very good summation from The Daily Californian.

There is an MP3 of the event. This might explain why faculty attendance was low…

Update: 10/31/06 – “Send Webcast Back to the Stone Age” – Daily Cal editorial.

Blasting through the Fair Use barrier

October 16, 2006

The acquistion of YouTube by Google Video has a lot of people talking about the potential for copyright lawsuits. Discussions point to YouTube’s lax take-down policy fitting with Google’s bold stance around copyright (ex: Google Print). Meanwhile, Google and YouTube are making licensing deals with media companies.

This has me thinking about how this influences education’s dilemma with Fair Use policy, a top hurdle to making coursecasts available to the public.

Removing music and video from lecture videos is straightforward. Slide images are a bigger problem. Before posting lecture videos to Berkeley on Google Video we worked closely with faculty to scrub and/or replace slides, and secured permissions when possible.

This obviously doesn’t scale, and risks the pedagogical integrity of the lecture.

The strategy going forward is to educate faculty in copyright in the age of internet distribution. To work up front to find copyright alternatives. To have designers help to recreate copyrighted slides.

This a major reason why audio-only podcasting has been so successful: no images to scrub. Evidence the amount of material available through Berkeley on iTunes U.

Most schools simply avoid the problem by keeping the content behind a firewall for only enrolled students to access. For additional “security”, the content is streaming only.

Podcasting kicks this door down. It’s nature is downloading. It forces information to be free. Streams can be ripped — correction — streams are ripped. Obscured podcast feeds can be submitted to iTunes.

Now imagine daylighting archives. I visited our tape archive the other day, gazed at the racks and racks of tape dating back to 1-inch, and shook my head. Malcolm X speaks on campus. James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg, the list goes on for every subject. And the archives exist in every educational and cultural institution.

It’s time for a digital Free Speech Movement.

So what’s it going to take? Everyone is waiting for some precedent-setting move to open the floodgates.

It could be a single institution as a test case adopting a reactive take-down policy.

Or look for higher-ed partnerships with a media/tech company to negotiate deals with textbook publishers and media producers. A risk here is that these partnerships might entail some kind of exclusivity.

A blanket deal with rights holders as the BBC Creative Archive talks about hold promise. I doubt that a single higher-ed institution could accomplish similar, but perhaps a consortium of higher-eds in conjunction with an umbrella open content group.

I anticipate a breakthrough. Meanwhile, institutions need not wait to digitize their AV archives for long-term preservation and to ready them for online access. This was a driver for libraries and Google Print. Do this for video, and wait…

Once freed, there will instantly be much more content for use and re-use. This will dramatically speed up the promise of education online.

Freeform lecture today: any questions?

October 13, 2006

Today at 4pm I’ll be speaking to the Intro to Computing class, which is both webcasted and podcasted. Anything you’d like me to talk about?

The class is rather freeform, with instructor Americ Azevedo and his students passing the mic and interviewing guests. His class has been shaped by coursecasting where he now turns the class into a “show”.

Americ was the first person at Cal to podcast his class. Around April ’05 I wanted to podcast a course but needed a willing instructor and thought of Americ. He’s always trying new things, and I believe he already had a personal podcast. Then he gave a call out of the blue. The rest is history. By early Fall ’05 his course podcast was being covered by NBC local news, and made the front page of the LA Times (story link).

Should be fun to look back with Americ and talk about webcast.berkeley, iTunes U, Google Video, and beyond.

Educause wrap-up

October 13, 2006

Arriving in Dallas for Educause 06, I felt a bit lost from the moment we touched down. This sense of diffusion was the theme for my stay in Dallas for this huge conference, alleviated only by the people that I met or reacquainted with.

Had a surreal experience the first night grabbing a bite in a downtown tex-mex spot. The table next to me had Brittany from America’s Next Top Model eating fajitas with none other than Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Well, it certainly made Dallas seem like a small town.

The next morning in a rainstorm I remained adrift when misdirected to the Convention Center, heading miles in the opposite direction and twice more given a bum steer. Along the way I did enjoy seeing an old donut shop or warehouse signaling some history among the glass towers and vacant lots. Finally I was steered the right way from a guy in the doorway of an old building. Turned out I was at the infamous Book Repository, which I realized when he tried to sell me a JFK conspiracy rag.

Once inside the sprawling Center I was greeted by escalators and throngs of folks with Educause namebadges trucking the 1/2-mile from one session to another. Even after getting situated I’d find myself walking to one end before realizing I’d gone the wrong way, or scratching my head as I plumbed new corridors to find obscure meeting rooms.

Got my badge then off to find something interesting. I’d spent some time online pinpointing sessions of interest, but was admittedly hard-pressed. Overall this event is about IT, and I’m more of a new media guy.

In the middle of it all, of course, were the vendors on the floor. Signs hung from the rafters heralding huge IT companies like SAP or HP. BlackBoard had a central position and it gave me the willies just walking by, like some kind of black hole, perhaps due to their recent patents on key components of a learning management system, and consequent lawsuit of a competitor.

This was not the kind of conference I’ve become used to — the small un-conferences like BloggerCon where the audience posts session ideas and drives presentations. The recent Podcast Expo is mid-sized yet felt like a small community. At Educause I did not feel vibrancy or passion. It seems like a dead conference model and was simply too diffuse to get a handle on. It felt like this is where university Assistant CIOs are sold PeopleSoft enterprise products.

Obviously Educause was much more, and I’m still checking the blogosphere to realize just what I missed. Focusing on what I knew, checked out sessions on Mississippii State’s podcasting system (uses the Barix Instreamer just like us!) and iTunes U.

The main thing I wish I’d caught was Kurzweil’s keynote. I hear that he noted UC Berkeley’s open video program a few times. Gotta find a recording of that!

I knew that people walking by were the exact folks that I’ve been wanting to meet or should be meeting, but there was no way to tell. The namebadges had a large first name, followed in smaller print their full name, followed by their title, and finally their institution. It should have been the other way around. Since I’m aware of interesting efforts on particular campuses that should be writ large. Then I can get closer and either see what they do, or at least ask if they know the person who does.

The main thing I enjoyed was socializing and networking. Saw old friends like Cec from MIT’s OCW and Victoria from Duke by way of Stanford. Caught up with the product team from iTunes U, and put faces to names from Apple marketing. At the evening Apple event where I showed-off Berkeley on iTunes U met heroes like Tracey Futhey, CIO behind the Duke Digital Initiative and Lynn Johnston from UMich’s School of Dentistry.

On the vendor floor I was happy to meet up with Lectopia at the Apple booth. I had a blast with their engineers and a couple of their Australian clients when they visited us after the last WWDC. I’ve been meaning to write them up since. Their automated lecture capture/delivery software comes out of the University of Western Australia. It’s now getting a hold here in the states beginning with Duke. There is a real affinity between their system and our’s at UC Berkeley. It’s like we both have been developing these systems in parallel universes. Their system, however, is on steroids compared to our’s. Their software and hardware architecture produces multiple recordings at an incredible scale. They integrated podcasting way back in March 2005, I believe. What’s more, they already have iTunes U integration. Are you other automated capture/delivery companies listening? Lectopia rocks. Equally impressive is the progressive attitude toward coursecasting in Australia. I hear they’re redefining the concept of attendance in the Charter.

Another company that’s getting it is Anystream’s Apreso Coursecaster. They showed me a cool little Linux settop box that captures to H.264. The box has a small footprint, and clever hardware design including integrated ethernet hub and VGA splitter. I was happy that Founder Geoff Allen knew me from writings, for example our work with the Barix InStreamer, and listens to what matters to higher-ed. Good sign.

Too bad Box Populi wasn’t there. This might be a symptom having a presence at an overpriced booth. Another problem with the current large conference model. Anyway, their open-source software plus low-cost turnkey box really rounds out the automated capture/delivery systems worth serious consideration.

Not sure if I’d return to Educause, but the community was nice. I think the New Media Consortium is more up my alley. It’s in San Antonio this Fall.

Here come the public iTunes U sites

October 11, 2006

Rapping to the iTunes U product managers tonight at Apple’s Educause event I learned about a few new public iTunes U sites.

Googling “Launch iTunes U” brought up a bunch in various stages of development. Below is a list of those I’ve found so far, though I won’t update this since it’s sure to grow quickly.


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