Archive for September, 2011

How to use the LRC Room Coed 434 Teacher Computer

  1. Teacher podium
    1. Even though the teacher computer may have 2 screens, log in as normal: Follow the instructions on the screen (press CTRL-ALT-DEL and enter your credentials).   CIMG0015
    2. Also check our instructions for using the dual screen on the teacher computer.
  2. Connected computer to the right of the podium
    1. If you see this “Computer has been Locked” message, try and get hold of the person whose account name appears as the last logged in user when you press CTRL-ALT-DEL, to unlock the computer. If you cannot get hold off the person, or of somebody with an administrator account, you have to restart (power cycle) that computer.
    2. If the screens are black and do not come on when you move the mouse and type on the keyboard, turn that computer on using the Power button in front.
    3. If you want to use a CD, DVD, thumb drive, insert it into that computer. 
  3. If you get this message when closing the Sanako Study1200, say “no”. CIMG0011

How teachers can grade student recordings done with the LRC Sanako Study-1200 in their Office

  1. Teacher on their office PC (MAC users talk to can press windows-key+e, and in the window, that opens,
  2. browse to the student mp3 recordings with date and time in the folder name on s:\coas\lcs\labs\lrctest\sanako\student (no S: drive on office PC? talk to, but in the meantime, try windows-key+r, paste = \\DATASERV1\DVOL1\coas\lcs\labs\lrctest\sanako\student”, click “OK”),
  3. open the student recording file, either by double-clicking to, presumably, open it in Windows Media Player, or, preferably, by selecting multiple files, right-clicking and choosing “Open with” to open them for comparative grading (read some tips) in Audacity.

Speaking/Listening Assessments and Oral Exams: A comparison what the LRC has to offer

  1. Moodle:
    1. I proposed for installing one of the free audio recorder plug-ins into our Moodle, but we are not there yet.
    2. However, we do have a new video recording assignment (which is based on Kaltura).
      1. Format: free form, according to your written instructions in the assignment. Students can review and repeat the recording as often as they wish.
      2. The video overhead is minimal since it is streamed, and video is better for authentic language assessments – unless you specifically prepare your students for phone interviews: then just have students step out of the viewing angle of the webcam).
      3. thanks to Moodle, the familiar interface and the underlying LMS support infrastructure, it is easy
        1. for the teacher
          1. to create and assign a video-assignment
          2. to grade it from the gradebook
        2. for the students to take it and submit it.
      4. LRC Support:
      1. Since our PCs have no built-in or added webcam (proposed), we can currently only use our 5 iMacs for Moodle video assignments. Since the MACs do not have headsets (but built-in microphones), the audio quality is not as good as on the PCs. Since 5 seats are not sufficient for class-size activities/exams, it is best to use this as a homework assignment  
      2. I list all necessary steps for a video assignment
        1. here for teachers
        2. here for students.
        3. all my Kaltura posts
      3. Additional support is available through the campus Moodle support team.
  2. Sanako
    1. Sources
      1. Dual-track comparative recorder:

        1. the teacher can prepare an input track (or provide one live. Preparing is easy, and worth your while, since easily reusable. I can help you)).
        2. the students records on her own track
      2. Pair  and group recording:

        1. Sanako makes it easy to pair or form groups of students and to record free-form conversations.
        2. These recordings can be either controlled remotely by the teacher or locally by the user
    2. Control
      1. Remote-controlled recording under exam conditions,
        1. responding to a listening cue within a preset (or live) pause in the teacher track
          1. model&imitation:  for phonetics and pronunciation exercises,
          2. question&response for a wide variety of activities as commonly used in SLA textbooks and classroom, including practicing grammar structures or vocabulary recently
          3. question&response&model response: the teacher can also include after the pause in the teacher track a model answer for the students to compare their own output to.
        2. automatically saved with student names to be accessed from the teacher office desktop
        3. easy comparative grading using Audacity (see below)
    3. User-controlled recording is also possible, using the student recorder in manual operation mode
      1. which has more language learner features (bookmarks, voice graph, dual band recording), and  a simpler  interface than a full blown audio editor like Audacity (see below).
      2. The task how to save and sent the assignment to the teacher is here left to the user.
    4. LRC support:
    1. I can help you
      1. creating an audio recording with your content and speaking cues and pauses – using Audacity (see below)
      2. conducting the remote-controlled exam
    2. Up to 20 seats can take an oral exam simultaneously, until we get more Sanako licenses. However, we  found a way to split classes into 2 halves and have consecutive exams (we can play audio on the other students’ headsets to provide for exam conditions). The LRC main classroom is equipped with 30 seats for 2 consecutive exams with Sanako headsets.
  3. Voicethread is a popular online recorder, especially  for educational institutions that have no onsite support.
    1. Visual and audio cues can be provided by the teacher.
    2. Pairing of students has been attempted via sharing and responding/commenting to the partner’s submission. This is not a realistic conversation.
    3. Recordings are stored in the cloud.
    4. There is no integration with the SIS (accounts – getting students set up with accounts that can communicate back with the teacher is a challenge) and LMS (the Moodle integration is superficial). 
    5. Voicethread is not free. The ELTI, however, has a subscription. LCS does not.
    6. LRC Support:
      1. We support Voicethread exercises with new and improved headsets.
      2. Help is available through the vendor.
  4. Audacity:
    1. for teachers and LRC staff and other language professionals:
      1. best free audio editor, also good for comparative grading. I routinely make my audio exam recordings with Audacity.
      2. LRC support: I have tips and tricks how you can use it in your teaching preparation and grading.
    2. for language learners: not the recommended option, since Audacity has not a feature set geared towards language learning nor support for language assessment workflows:  
      1. Language learners do no need an audio editor for speaking exercises, they need a recorder. If you are a language learner, it is not pedagogical to be able to technically edit and refine your audio recording. Rather rehearse, reflect on and repeat your audio recording, until you are happy with your language output.
      2. Audacity is too technical: It involves too many steps, options and settings for the students to record, save, export and name the audio and to get it to the teacher, and (if it is not uploaded into a Moodle assignment, which could then be a Kaltura  assignment anyway, see above), too tedious for the teacher to manage and grade files.
      3. LRC Support:

        1. If your students are technically inclined, we do have Audacity installed in the LRC.
        2. Your students should not find it difficult to read the documentation. Here are my posts on Audacity.

Exchange 2010 and Live@edu: How to use resource calendar publishing to implement a help desk timetable and signup sheet

2011/09/22 1 comment
  1. Calendar sharing with students that have only cloud accounts in  live@edu requires them to be mail-enabled users in on-premise AD and only works if a users privileged to share shares with individuals through the GUI (in our circumstances: no groups, no PowerShell access).
  2. Workaround to share resource calendar information is: publish calendars to the internet. This needs careful consideration of privacy issues, but Exchange 2010 provides you with a number of helpful options, including “availability only”.
  3. calendar-publish-permissions
  4. If you publish, you can easily generate the links from the resource mailbox name, and manage large sets of calendars e.g. in an MS-Excel Web app.
  5. As you can see in the below LRCTutor12 calendar subscribed to in either OWA or Windows Live, the Exchange 2010 ICS does not seem to provide the calendar name, users have to update it manually (maybe use the resource mailbox account name from the calendar URL).
    1. student-internet-calendar-in-owa-error_thumb[2]student-internet-calendar-in-windows-live-works_thumb[2] 
    2. If you “hack” resource calendars to be a help desk timetable (support personnel, like lab assistants/tutors, one calendar per language, sharing the support role), and have personnel update their availability with late-breaking changes through their Outlook calendars (“cancel this occurrence”) and automatically get these changes pushed out to all users over the internet.
    3. You can also “hack” a signup sheet “on steroids”:
      1. enforce a MaximumDurationInMinutes suitable for a sign-up appointment duration)
      2. set the AutomateProcessing option to AutoUpdate,
      3. accept the meeting requests of lab assistants/tutors at term start, so that they appear as solid blocks in the calendar, and advise clients trying to sign-up that only 1 client can sign-up during any given solid block with the office.
      4. Then ignore meeting requests of clients during the term (but communicate the rule to clients: only one client can sign up for support from the “office” during any given time slot. There is in my knowledge no way to set a number in Exchange 2010. Neither MaximumConflictInstances nor ResourceCapacity are applicable). The client meeting requests will remain tentative and appear hatched in the calendar for any other client to see.
      5. It is advisable to publish the calendar not with “Availability” only, but with “Limited Detail”, so that additional information (office hours dedicated to specific support topics/clinics, specific requests by clients) can be passed back and forth between support personnel and clients (and anything is better than “Free/Busy” which is especially misleading for such office calendars). Note that even if OrganizerInfo is included on-premise, it seems not included on calendars published to the internet (option “public”; “restricted” has not been tested), which makes Limited Detail possible in our environment.

    4. Publishing the calendar to the internet with “Full details”  could be used for passing additional information, like special handling instructions to student workers,
      1. like this: CIMG0008(this is the publically viewable HTML – oddly)
      2. This notes passing does not work with cloud-accounts that are subscribed to the calendar ICS that are not mail-enabled in AD: no notes field gets through to them in OWA) 
      3. But the one-size-fits-all approach is unsatisfactory. If the group of student workers is small, it could (once mail-enabled in AD) be shared the calendar with instead.
      4. incidentally, what happens with the organizer field under “full details”
    5. Ìt appears that a calendar can not simultaneously be published "public" and "restricted" (need to know the obscure URL), let alone with different levels of information included.

How a Student takes a Moodle Video Assignment in the LRC

2011/09/22 2 comments
  1. On one of the LRC iMacs, in the Safari web browser (open new window with COMMAND-key+n),
  2. go to your Moodle course, (1) find the video Assignment, read the assignment instructions (what your teacher wants  you to record). Then click underneath the  (2) button: “Add video Assignment”, to open the (3) submission window:  moodle-add-video-submission
  3. Note that she will also have to allow the flash player to interact with her webcam first.
  4. kaltura_thumb1 If you see no web cam video window, only a black frame, read in.
  5. In the submission window, choose the tab “Webcam” (1), use the dropdown to select the camera hardware (2). moodle-kaltura-webcam-tab-camera-dropdown
  6. Check the headset microphone audio: The external headset microphone on the iMacs did not work., but now it does, provided you do this: control-click on Flash’s a video preview window (= the window where you see yourself like in a mirror) for the  web camera, and click on “settings”.
    • Click on the microphone icon :
    • CIMG0021
    • Make sure the USB PnP  device is selected.
    • CIMG0022
    • You can bring up the settings dialogue, make sure the USB PnP device is chosen for audio and CRANK up the microphone input sensitivity! Then, by tabbing (don’t speak yet) on the headset microphone, test the volume levels with the built-in volume meter (should  show lots of green bars when you tab). Unlike in the picture, do not choose “reduce echo ”.


  7. Start (3) the video recording.
  8. Afterwards, the student can review (4) her submission.
  9. If you don’t like your first recording, (3) “record” over it and review again with (4) “Play”. If you do this and the video appears frozen, drag the timeline cursor forward to get the re-recorded video to play. If this does not seem to work, you are likely still able to submit your 2nd attempt, just not review it again.  kaltura-timeline-drag-me1
  10. Click through all the “Next”etc. buttons:
    1.  pauline-moodle-kaltura-next3 pauline-moodle-kaltura-next4CIMG0070CIMG0071
    2. until you get to the feedback page for the student (caveat: in IE9, the video does not fit into the frame provided on the page). student-assignment-result
    3. Note, it warns you to be patient now: kaltura-teacher-upload-student-upload-combineda
  11. LRC support:
    1. Depending on your hardware (webcam), software and network support, you can record your language speaking video assignments on any device that has a webcam and a browser that supports flash – and even more devices, if you are willing to post process and upload the video clip.
    2. If you run into problems or want to use a tested setup, we recommend using the LRC. Since our PCs have no built-in or added webcam (proposed), we can currently only use our 5 8 iMacs (see LRC Layout, see Classroom Calendar and iMacs Calendar for availability). Our (limited) tests worked better in Safari than Firefox.

Protected: Exchange 2010 Resource Mailboxes: Running Log

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Printing Problems in the LRC

  1. One problem
    1. Printer printing garbage like this? CIMG0002 (2)
    2. To fix it, try power-cycling the printer
  2. Another problem
    1. Received this error, repeatedly with students trying from different LC computers.
    2. printer-problem
    3. Until I told her to save the document (I thought she was authoring it), log out and log in on a different computer. Then  miraculously she could print.
    4. Now I am left wondering:  Did she open the document, maybe from Moodle, in her web browser, and the MS-Word browser plugin is not set up to print too our printer. Would be not a solution, but a workaround for this situation.

How to allow students to reply to News Forum posts in Moodle

  1. E.g. with this: “I have seen this post. I have followed  the instructions. It worked for me.”Smile
  2. Answered here: 
  3. Does not work in our installation which is being investigated – maybe with good reason: I every study is forced to subscribe and can respond, their tend to be email floods which rather hide than surface important information.
  4. Workaround:
      1. Hide the news forum;
      2. create a regular Moodle Forum, where students can respond by default
      3. ask your users to read it and maybe monitor reading with tracking
      4. do not force them to subscribe = receive email
      5. lrc news forum 
      6. I also hid the “Latest News” block, in the hope that the “Recent Activity” block can replace it: lrc news forum replaced