Sunday, January 17, 2010

Improving micro

Three of my group's videos are now featured on the IEEE RAM YouTube channel. That's marketing progress! I tried uploading the 2007 SECON video on Friday, so I can replace the audio with something legal. The upload failed, however, so I'll try again Tuesday.

One my my Micro students sings in a barbershop quarter. How neat! Here's the podcast:

Note: this slick player came from here.

One thing I've been thinking about is how to improve Micro. One suggestion by Mark Taylor involves placing all the lecture content in videos which students watch, then using class time to build problem solving skills. I like the idea, but there are several problems I need to work through to get there. My thoughts:

  • I typically include a lot of group work / discussion as I give the lecture. This gives me a chance to correct wrong impressions, etc. How can I incorporate this into a video lecture?
    • Just giving the correct answer after an exercise encourages not doing the problems: I know that I'd just watch the thing rather than work the exercises.
    • Not giving the correct answer might leave students confused when I tried to build on that concept later in the lecture.
  • How do I make the lecture interesting? I know that I'd be bored by lecturing to my PC for an hour.
    • Throw in video clips of me? If so, when and why?
    • Break the lecture up into 10 minute pieces, ending with an exercise due in class?
    • Throw in some background music? See it more like a radio program?
    • Perhaps use screencast advantages: show MPLAB doing something, pull up and highlight data sheets, refer to book pages.
  • Techincally, what's the best way to do this?
    • The simplest approach, probably a good place to start, is to narrate my PowerPoint slides.
    • It would be nice to splice in a screencast, etc. Perhaps make that a movie then embed in PowerPoint?
    • Adding some video (here's a motherboard, etc.) would definitely add some interest.
    • However, editing this might become a lot more painful.
    • I'd no longer have a simple set of slides to distribute, but a whole production. I'm not sure whether book adopters would like the multi-media version or not.
  • Tommy pointed out that this would be a great tool for a week when I was gone: record my lectures!
  • In the end, I'd like to just try it: record one lecture and see how it goes.

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