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Contact: Mark McGowan, NIU Office of Public Affairs
January 16, 2008
DeKalb — A new software tool called Articulate has inspired and enabled Northern Illinois University’s Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center to create short online tutorials on effective teaching that seamlessly match PowerPoint slides with recorded narration and video.
The goal, Director Mural Krishnamurthi said, is to offer important facts on timely teaching issues in five or six minutes with no appointment or seminar necessary. The ideas are practical and ready for immediate application.
“Our approach is to deliver needed information quickly to our audience, whether it’s faculty, staff or students,” Krishnamurthi said. “The simple fact is that not everyone can attend workshops. It’s difficult to get all the faculty into one room. It’s nearly impossible.”
Users can watch “Quick Tips” online or via download, podcast, text transcript and even YouTube, which ensures that Google’s video search engine will index the presentations. No special plug-ins or players are necessary, and the transcripts make the tutorials accessible to people with disabilities.
“For new mobile media player devices, such as the iPod and iPhone that have built-in integration with YouTube, users will have one-click access to viewing the presentations on a YouTube-enabled mobile device, either via a Wi-Fi connection or the data connection provided by their smart phones,” said Jason Rhode, assistant director of Faculty Development.
“Users who find the presentations on YouTube can leave comments, link to them or e-mail them others as well as embed them in their own Web sites or blogs.”
The first “Quick Tips,” hosted by Micky Sharma of NIU’s Counseling and Student Development Center, teaches faculty how to recognize and help students in emotional distress.
The second gives faculty tips on the “clicker” system that allows students to communicate electronically with professors during class. Others are planned on syllabus design and podcasting; all will remain in easily accessed archives.
“Although Micky’s particular tutorial is very important, it’s just the beginning of a series of tutorials we’re going to be providing,” said Dan Cabrera, the center’s multimedia coordinator. “The concept behind the whole ‘Quick Tips’ project is that it’s effective instruction. It needs to be brief – five minutes – and it focuses on an important topic.”
“These are meant to be practical, immediate-application types of resources,” Rhode added. “As new technologies come out, and as new methods come out, we can introduce them to faculty with these presentations. If they want to learn more, a lot of these will be things we offer in face-to-face and online workshops.”
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