Multi-Media Technologies That Enhance Teaching and
Learning at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, The City
University of New York
Here are links that demonstrate the interactive video and audio
technologies we are using to improve learning at both the undergraduate
and graduate levels. There are examples from finance, accounting, and
The technologies include:
The first examples, Accounting 2101
1001, illustrate two different ways we've devised to
capture the essence of a lecture. Having lived all our lives immersed in
television, it was natural to think that the video standards of
television should apply here as well, but that implicit assumption, we
discovered, has a major disastrous implication: To achieve TV quality
would generally require such huge files that only those few students
with very high-speed broadband connections would be able to stream them
or download them in a reasonable amount of time. We didn't make any
serious headway until we realized that "we're not in the television
business, we're in the education business." What's important to
students is that they be able to easily hear what is said, read graphs
and charts on whiteboards and PowerPoint slides and not be distracted by
sound that is out of sync with the video.
- Highly compressed videos of professors'
lectures that are quite large by internet standards (320 x 240), yet
quite small in size in terms of file size.
- mp3 Lectures designed to be listened to while
students walk around campus or ride home on the subways. (They can also
be listened to on a desktop or laptop computer.)
- Multi-framed websites, which contain lecture videos in one
frame, and in a separate frame , there are either synchronized
PowerPoint slides or other explanatory information.
- SmartStreamed audio lectures. These are audio-only
files, each of which has a drop down menu containing the "table of
contents" of the audio. And because each of these files is streamed and
not progressively downloaded, a student can jump in a second or two
directly to that portion of the lecture that she needs to review.
- A revolutionary chat program, QTChat, that's cross platform and doesn't have the
incompatibility problems associated with AIM and MSN. And it's so small
it can be emailed to friends and co-workers. (Beta)
- Searchable captioned lectures. This feature has
until now only been available to well-heeled firms, such as CNN, who
were willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for specialized
captioning and search software. (Beta)
spots, embedded text links, java applets, and
NB We did all of this between 2001 and the end of 2003. Much has been done since then (for example, video lectures on iPods and phones) but on the downside, the beta technologies have been removed and made available elsewhere.
The techniques we developed during the taping and editing of the
Economics 1001 class gave us the ability to do something that everyone
thought was not possible: tape, edit, and put online--in a timely
fashion--an intensive MBA Accounting class which took place during our
most recent January intersession. This class met for thirteen sessions
and each session began at 5:30 pm and ended at 9:30. Except for one
class, we had the finished video online by the following afternoon.
We were able to accomplish this by compressing overnight the captured DV
footage on two extremely fast Apple G4 computers. The next day one
editor was able to edit all four hours and then another assistant put it
up on the web.
The next examples, Finance
9797 and Economics
9705, demonstrate multi-framed websites. The first is from an
options markets class given in our executive programs, while the second
is a macroeconomics class from our honors MBA program. In both, videos
of the lectures appear in the left frame, while in the finance class,
synchronized PowerPoint slides appear in the frame on the right.
2101 - Financial Accounting - Professor Christine Tan -
Spring 2003 |
| ||(The picture is sharper than
in Joyce's class (see below), but the cost is a somewhat larger file
size. For 9.5 minutes, the first one is 10.1 MB) |
| ||Economics 1001 - Microeconomics - Professor
Ted Joyce - Fall 2002 |
| ||(Each of the
movies that make up this lecture has a very low frame rate but not that
low that it interferes with the audio or the clarity of the overhead
images or PowerPoint slides. 320 x 240 is a large movie size by internet
standards, but the files are quite small because of the very powerful
compression technology employed and the aforementioned low frame
The second website was our 2001 prototype and it
illustrates the use of a number of additional technologies, but it also
illustrates how far we've come since then. In the video frame you see we
have captioned the professor's speech. Captioning is useful for those
with hearing difficulties and for foreign students whose first language
is not English. In addition, there are "hot spots" within the video.
These hidden triggers , which if selected, bring forth definitions of
important macro variables in the frame on the right, which is very
useful for students who have difficulties in dealing with how abstract
college economics can be. We also employ "text links," i.e., text
within the video, which if selected, will open in the frame on the
right, a calculus website. (Here a student confused, for example, by a
calculus derivation in the video, could be reminded how the calculus
rules employed by the professor work.) These text links could also take
the student to other additional resources found either on the web or on
a CD or to material captured by Mimio, the whiteboard capture tool.
Mimio can be used in any number of ways including adding important
class material which was inadvertently omitted, as is the case here.
You will also notice that this movie has a large file size but the
quality of the video is not nearly as sharp as any of the others on this
page. Moreover, two of the embedded links are "dead," as content
providers have either moved materials or shut down entirely. This is
unfortunate since prior to the first link's death, at the appropriate
time a new website opened in the right frame and it contained a java
applet. Viewers could interact with it as the professor explained the
underlying principles that were "illustrated" by the applet. This
prototype site employed an older less flexible technology, one which
made it vulnerable to "location changes" such as this one. We now
employ a portable technology that isn't location dependent.
Our newest innovations are in the area of audio. We are
using two complementary approaches. The first involves America's
favorite music format, mp3. In surveys of our student body we discovered
that nearly 35% own mp3 players. Since we use the mp3 codec in creating
our lecture movies, it seemed that with a little work we could make
available to these students mp3 Lectures.
That is, audio only versions of the class lectures. So now when they
get tired of listening to music, they can listen to their accounting or
their economics teachers on their players. Initial reports indicate that
they have been extremely well received.
But it is our
SmartStreamed Audio Lectures that we are particularly excited
about. Each of these is an audio-only file, but here each has a drop
down menu containing essentially the "table of contents" of the audio.
And because this file is streamed and not progressively downloaded, a
student can jump in a second or two directly to that portion of the
lecture that she needs to review. In a downloaded version, she would
need to wait until the desired portion downloaded which could take over
an hour if she has a 56 K modem.
This approach also has the
advantage of having a very low data rate, which gives us the ability to
provide service to a formerly unserved group, namely those students who
either didn't have the patience to download video files or for whatever
reason couldn't: perhaps their parents don't want them tying up the
phone for hours at a time. Now this wasn't an easy feat to accomplish as
the audio is streamed using what's called "rtsp" -- real time streaming
protocol, but the menu can't be so streamed, so it is simultaneously
being streamed via "http"--hyper text transfer protocol.
2101 - Financial Accounting - mp3 audio Lecture -
Professor Christine Tan - Spring 2003 |
||(To listen to this file, select the link. To download the file and
play it on your mp3 player, right click and save it to your desktop.
The entire lecture is contained in one file, whose size is 26 MB. It
can be played on any mp3 music player or on a desktop computer that has
a mp3 application.) |
| ||Accounting 2101 - Financial Accounting - SmartStreamed
Lecture - Professor Christine Tan - Spring 2003
| ||(The data rate is so low it can easily be
handled by a 56 K modem. The random access feature combined with
"chapter list" provides for efficient targeted listening.)
Bookmark this site and visit us often. We are adding
technologies and applications almost on a daily basis. We are currently
building test movies with searchable captions and we are testing a
revolutionary new chat program, QTChat.
Beta versions of each of these programs are available here.
The chat program is remarkable in a number of
ways, besides those already mentioned in the introduction. It is so
flexible that there will be a separate chat room for each of the movies
that make up a typical lecture and the only way a student can enter a
particular chat room is by watching the movie that "owns" that
particular room. By chatting with each other about the content of a
movie, we expect students will become the teachers of their fellow
We are in the first week of tests of the chat program and we currently
have a chat room for each of the seven movies that make up the first Lecture of Week 5: Income Determination.
Select the link and with the usernames and passwords you recently
received, we invite you to participate in the discussion with the
students of Professor Weiss' Eco 1002 class.
We are also experimenting with adding a search
function to those videos that have been previously been
captioned. Obviously being able to search the text is a powerful
feature but since the text is linked to the movies, this search function
actually searches the movies. So, for example, if a student needs to
review the Black and Scholes model in a finance class, she would type
"Black" into the search function. This will find all the instances in
the movie where the professor discussed this famous model.
Those of us at the Zicklin School who are exploring the possibilities of
multimedia in teaching and learning welcome your comments, questions and
suggestions. To contact us, email Professor Jeffrey Weiss or his associate, Milena Djibankova, or call 646 312 3476. We look forward hearing from you.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT QUICKTIME, THE TECHNOLOGY YOU MUST
HAVE ON YOUR COMPUTER IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO HEAR AND SEE
We employ the widely used multimedia
architecture QuickTime in its latest incarnation. To get the most from
these sites, we have created a QuickTime check page and we ask that you
carefully read and follow its instructions. Doing so will make the
evaluation of whether you have the correct version of QuickTime on your
computer a snap. And if you don't, it carefully guides you through the
installation process. It will also check to see if you can receive
streaming content behind a firewall. Click here to
open the QuickTime check page.