Digital Week Wrap Up

Notre Dame Digital Week wrapped up on Thursday, October 9th. The week was an opportunity to explore emerging technology, and engage in lecture and discussion around the ever changing digital world, and the role of technology in education. In case you missed any of the week’s exciting events, here is a brief recap:

  • The week kicked off on October 3rd, with a lecture by Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, an online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT. Agarwal’s talk explored the place of digital learning in reinventing education.

 

Anant Agarwal’s lecture during Digital Week. A participant was able to watch the presentation remotely using the Beam device!

Anant Agarwal’s lecture during Digital Week. A participant was able to watch the presentation remotely using the Beam device!

 

  • Other lectures and discussion took place throughout the week, alongside weeklong events, such as a Digital Scavenger Hunt and 3D printing contest.
  • There was an opportunity to explore the Beam robots and Lightboard technology.

 

Tweet from @ND Digital Week showing the light board and Beam devices in action.

Tweet from @ND Digital Week showing the light board and Beam devices in action.

 

  • The Students as Developers event was geared towards parents, showcasing the growing interest among Notre Dame students in developing software.
  • There were demonstrations of Notre Dame’s Digital Visualization Theater, which allows viewers to be emerged in high-resolution images projected on a 50 foot diameter dome in Jordan Hall.
  • Professor Elliott Visconsi discussed “Online Learning and the Future of Higher Education”.

 

 Professor Elliott Visconsi using the Beam during ND Digital Week


Professor Elliott Visconsi using the Beam during ND Digital Week

  • A workshop using Pixon helped participants learn to create their own digital comics.
  • The final event of the week was a roundtable discussion on Going Digital to Improve the World. Participants explored how academics are utilizing digital technology in education to improve our world.

 

We hope that you enjoyed Digital Week, and that you continue with us in exploring emerging technologies and their place at Notre Dame.

Making it easy to create video

There’s a growing need for faculty to create video content quickly and easily. There are a lot of potential use cases.

  • Flipping your class by having students watch a video before coming class
  • Answering student questions in a visual medium to enhance understanding
  • Creating content for distance education
  • Making training videos

Unfortunately right now this is a pretty complex process. It requires studio space, a videographer, complex editing tools, specialized lighting, etc. Additionally the turn around times can be lengthy. Right now there’s no good solution and no good system in place to help us provide this service to faculty. So we built our beta lightboard back in March with the hopes that people would see it and get excited about it. We Love Bright Ideas! It had the desired effect. The College of Science was all over it. We’re in the process of helping them build a full scale version and we hope to have it operational by July 1. Unfortunately that may not meet the needs of everyone. It’s also not currently the most user friendly setup and will require some handholding for users.

Enter the Penn State One Button Studio!

  • You plug in a flash drive and the system turns on.
  • You hit a button and the system starts recording.
  • You give your presentation.
  • You hit the button when you’re done.
  • The file is automatically saved to the flash drive as an mp4 which you can upload to Sakai, YouTube, Kaltura, etc.

We’re starting to take a look at this now because we feel it meets most of the requirements for video creation. It’s one of those 98% solutions. It may not be perfect for everyone but if it’s good for you, it’s really easy and really good. Look for more later this summer! http://onebutton.psu.edu/

We love bright ideas!

We love it even more when someone else has one and lets us use it.

Often times you want to make a video to illustrate a point. Ideally it would feel like a discussion. You’re facing the viewer and explaining something to them. You’re not facing a chalkboard or a whiteboard and turning your back to them. It feels natural.

lb640

Let’s state right off the bat that this is not our idea. It’s called the light board and it came from Michael Peshkin at Northwestern University. The Lightboard Home Page is really incredible and gives you all the details you need to make your own copy. Parts list with numbers and links, diagrams, technical details, etc. It’s open source hardware so he encourages you to make your own, experiment, etc. Just share what you’ve done.

We’re kind of space constrained and there’s very little available space on campus. While we think this is a great idea, we’re going to need to be able to show people how this works in order to get the funding and square footage required to make it a reality. Instead of making a 4×8 board, we made one that was 3×4. Still big enough to be useful but small enough we can find a place to demonstrate it. It’s also cheaper than a full size unit.

Ordering the glass is pretty easy due to the well detailed specifications. To build the frame we worked out a design and ordered a bunch of 80/20 aluminum. Assembly took a couple hours.

2014-03-13 09.57.31 copy

The box actually said it was an erector set for adults.

We were too excited to worry about the crappy lighting!

We were too excited to worry about the lousy lighting!

There are LED lights underneath the edge of the glass that cause the text to really pop out of the glass. Since it was a 16 foot roll, I had about 12 feet extra. Part of the challenge in this project is to illuminate the presenter and not add glare. I took the extra 12 feet and stuck it on the glass.

2014-03-14 14.35.56

I’d say it does a great job of illuminating the instructor.

I also took a few accent lights we had laying around and used them as a key light.

2014-03-14 14.36.24

Obviously we need to work on the ambient light…

Not bad for a beta test!

Not bad for a beta test!

Overall, we’re thrilled with the effect. It’s really much more pronounced than it appears here. We still have a lot of tweaking and testing to do but I think we’ve established the feasibility of the system.

Now we start showing this thing off and we’ll see if we can get a 12×15 room to really do this right!

Thanks to the following people:

  • Michael Peshkin at Northwestern University. Obviously!
  • Our colleague David Seidl for bringing it to our attention. He’s really interested in that whole maker-space culture thing. Apparently he saw it as a post on Hack A Day.
  • Tim Cichos in Notre Dame Learning Spaces who helped us engineer the frame.