Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oh the Audacity!

So I look a little silly, but the headphone-microphone combination isn't a fashion statement, it is a way to breathe new life into your online course. I have spent some time examining audio commentary in the online course and this blog is a quick update on an audio teaching tool. I am playing with a brand new, FREE, feature that might help many who instruct online or who enhance their courses with Blackboard or other course management systems (CMS). It is Audacity. Click, download, and use. Very simple and it can provide a great way to connect with students. All you need is a microphone. Many of us have one built in to our computer, but I have a the fancy headphone/mic combo from a technology grant and this is a great way to use it. Others can buy a basic mic for as low as $10. Combine that small amount of hardware to this free software to offer a dynamic change to your online course. This recording/editing software allows professors (or students) to record responses, directions, questions, ANY type of content and then post that information right into the CMS. I just did a trial run and it was incredibly easy. My students now see a little sound bar (see middle of screen shot) and click play to hear me encourage and direct them toward the next assignment. I will use this feature to guide my students through both written and verbal directions from this point forward in the course. I just added a little audio overview to our course module and added some audio clarification to a discussion board (yes, all of this was simply done to play with my new tech tool, but the students ALREADY emailed me to tell me the love the audio additions!). This little tool should improve instructor immediacy and hopefully help students respond and engage in the online course.

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