Rod McCrohan, Team leader, Media Production, Academic Development Group, Business
The emphasis of this project was the evaluation of any requirements or barriers to the design, production and distribution of learning objects for reuse across discipline areas and study levels. The learning objects will be video casestudy/interviews. This project was an E-Learning initiative to improve the student learning experience both in Australia and with overseas partner institutions.
Reuse of Learning Objects
Industry video case studies/interviews
The emphasis of this project was the evaluation of any requirements or barriers to the design, production and distribution of learning objects for reuse across discipline areas and study levels. The learning objects will be video casestudy/interviews.
This project was an E-Learning initiative to improve the student learning experience both in Australia and with overseas partner institutions. The learning experience was improved by providing access to casestudy/interviews with local and international industry leaders across curriculum areas.
What is in the repository
The learning objects are responses to interview questions or segments of information extracted from presentations by industry leaders. There is a mix of industry leaders from the Management and Information Technology areas.
When you visit the repository, you will see video of industry leaders such as:
- The CEO and section heads of Jones Lang LaSalle in Beijing
- Managing Director of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hong Kong
- Christine Nixon, Chief Police Commissioner of Victoria
- Janine Plazer, founder of Boost Juice
There are approximately 200 learning objects in the repository
Elements of the interface
The interface design has evolved with the following considerations of:
- Ability to have the text accompany the video
- The player is a standard plugin for web browsers
- The minimum bandwidth required is 256Kbits/sec
The audio transcript area was added to the interface following feedback from students with English as a second language (see results of Hong Kong student evaluation) as well as meeting the needs of those with audio impediments.
There is a description of the video clip, duration of the clip and a web link for inclusion in Blackboard.
How to use the repository
Once the user has logged in to the site, they use the scroll bar on the left to look at the broad category of objects that are available.
For example, the diagram above titled “Elements of Interface” shows a resource in the menu on the topic of “Vision” featuring David Hand.
When the user selects the clip, a synopsis of the resource is available. In the example above, the description is “David Hand describes how he sells the vision and mission to staff and other stakeholders. Uses the 'arrow' and 'arrow head' metaphor.
The user can copy the link from this page and place the link into the Blackboard for the course. When students access the link from the Blackboard they will see only that page.
How the project proceeded
The project looks at two methods of production for reusable casestudy/interview learning objects.
The first is where pre production planning is implemented.
The second is where there is no pre production planning and the material is captured on an exploratory basis.
First: Preproduction casestudy/interview learning objects
In the case of a preplanned RLO, the methodology was to produce a set of draft questions. The project cites two different methodologies as examples of producing these questions. The first was for the academic to draft the questions and send them for comment to fellow staff. The second was for the academic to give fellow staff and students the information about the availability of a speaker and the fact that it was happening and have the students input to the draft of the questions.
Preproduction example of learning object by academic.
Professor Ross Smith, PhD is Director - Teaching and Learning and Professor of Information Systems. As program coordinator, Ross produced his own set of interview questions.
You can view an example from the repository of a question from Professor Smith about “requirements discovery” When prompted, use "test" and "podcast" to view the media.
Preproduction example of learning object by fellow staff and students, Professor Margaret Jackson
Professor Margaret Jackson, Professor of Computer Law & Discipline Director, Law. As Discipline Director, Margaret employed a collaborative approach across a range of groups that included the program advisory board, law staff and their students. The approach for this method was to ask the students what areas of the course they think would be beneficial for industry case study/video interviews and what questions to ask also.
Second: Exploratory basis casestudy/interview learning objects
In this second category, it is simply the video of guest lecturers where there is no accompanying set of questions and the entire presentation is shot as raw material. Usually, the guest lecturer or presenter is given broad parameters within which to speak. The project cites the use of two exploratory methodologies. The first is where the academic or sub editor review the content of what the guest presenter has presented and extract the key elements in chunks of about two to four minutes. The second is where the entire presentation and subsequent question and answer session is made available.
Post production review by academic or sub editor
An example of this method is a video recording taken of a guest lecturer who came and spoke to the Entrepreneurship students. Her name is Janine Blazer and she is the founder of Boost juice. As we know, Boost juice is a very successful company with as many as 100 stores in Melbourne, primarily in the central business district, that grew from a turnover of $1 million per annum to $1 million a day in a very short space of time.
A study of the presentation given by Janine in post production at the edit suite presents the opportunity to extract segments of the video for use in the creation of learning objects. The repository has examples of Janine speaking about how it is important to employ the right people for the culture of the company, some of her company staffing ideas and her view of how attitude is everything in a business environment.
An example of this method is a lecture we video taped for the MBA group. The methodology for this example was to give copies of the DVD to the coordinator of the lecture. The coordinator then distributed the DVD to his staff for preview and to log the “in-point” and “out-point” of the video. The timecode of the recording was captured on the video so that the academic could log the in-point and the out-point on the edit sheet for editing in post production.
Recommendation for exploratory video case studies
The exploratory method for production of casestudy/interview video objects has merit. In the example of the academic or sub editor extracting clips in post production the method is able to provide a resource that is targeted to a single learning concept. The clips are in time intervals of two to three minutes which are more suitable for online viewing.
The entire presentation
The entire presentation method is less likely to be effective and is not recommended. There is no real owner of the material and watching video for more than 30 minutes on the web is generally regarded as not practical.
The repository versus the Learning Content Management System (LCMS)
The original project proposal for the examination of reusable learning objects was based on a University wide implemented Learning Content Management System (LCMS). A makeshift repository has been created that does not pretend to copy a Learning Content Management System.
Much of the planned evaluation of the project in the original proposal has been revised. For example, originally the LCMS was to be used to measure the number of reuse times an object might have. This type of tracking is not possible in the current repository.
Another example of inadequacy of the repository is the lack of a search function. At present, the procedure to locate a learning object is to use the scroll bar on the menu and hope to get a clue from a brief description in the menu. An example of such a heading is “Vision” Once you have selected a clip in this category there is a synopsis of the response for the clip. This synopsis has been designed to have words that will enable the clip to be found in a search when the clips are in a fully functional LCMS.
Authentication of the user accessing the material outside of the Blackboard environment is also a problem. When visiting the repository from outside Blackboard, there is server side authentication that consists of a generic user name and password. There is clearly an argument to suggest that this arrangement provides an inadequate level of security of the intellectual property rights of the objects. From within Blackboard, the user is authenticated via their NDS login to Blackboard.
On a more positive aspect, all of the learning objects have been built to Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) standards. These standards will facilitate simple transfer from the existing repository to the LCMS when that system is implemented.
The repository contains approximately 200 learning objects that are ready to be transferred to SCORM packages for inclusion in the University wide LCMS due for release at a time to be advised.
The project found the design and production of the learning objects to be a straightforward process. There was a large degree of cooperation from staff and students. This cooperation seemed to be centred on the notion that the project was a very good idea and that the outcomes of video interviews would be beneficial to the learning experience. There were numerous offers from people with whom the project engaged for contacts in industry to participate in the interviews.
The project found the absence of an LCMS and the use of a repository to be a barrier to the distribution of the learning objects.