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Archive for the ‘audience-is-language-learning-center-staff’ Category

Bad audio quality in Moodle Kaltura recordings on iMacs under ambient sound conditions. A running log (closed)

  1. Symptom: See title.
  2. Cause: While speakers of the 3.5 mm headset take over from the iMac speakers, when plugged in, the 3.5 mm headset micro does not disable the webcam micro. The webcam micro remains the recording source for Moodle Kaltura (mac os x.6, safari 6, flash 10).
  3. Possible solutions:
      1. 1st choice: is there a way for the admin to override this permanently?
      2. 2nd choice: is there a way for the end user to override this on a case-by-case basis?
      3. "The Califone 3066AV is compatible with both Windows and Mac audio outputs (but is not compatible with iMacs)." ("The Wow starts now!").. Do we have to tie up our boom and lavalier microphones for this?
      4. Try the flash settings by right clicking in the video window, selecting the microphone icon, then choosing the external (= non-webcam) microphone for input.
      5. kaltura flash microphone settings0kaltura flash microphone settings
      6. Fail. The real culprit is the iMacs line-in audio-in for which you need a preamp to get it to work with analog microphones. Preamps seem to start at $40, but for that I can get a PC webcam (Microphone included). 

Audio player error message involving “pluginfile.php” in Moodle quiz

  1. LRC assistants may get called by students with this error regarding pluginfile.php in a Moodle quiz, it appears in the audio player interface itself and looks like this:DSCF0248
    1. The error messages flashes only briefly, and afterwards the audio simply will not play.
    2. In a Respondus lockdown browser quiz, you can bring up the error message again by clicking “next” and then resuming the attempt. When the quiz page reloads, the error message will briefly flash again.
  2. LRC assistants cannot work around this error, they need to alert permanent staff. Usually it is related to a quiz author needing to update the audio file link, like so:
    1. Go into the quiz, on the left, click “edit the quiz”): image
    2. Find the audio file link, edit the link: image
      1. Can you actually load the link? If it says “file not found”, you have the root cause:
      2. image
      3. Does it say “draft” in there? Not good. Copy the unique identifier from the path: image
    3. Go to in Moodle course / Files section, locate the offending file (you can use the unique id you put in the clip board to search), i.e. make sure it actually exists: image
    4. Get the correct URL for the file, puit it int the clipboard: image
    5. Go back to editing the quiz, update the wrong URL with the correct one.
    6. Save the updated quiz.
  3. Now the student can reload the quiz, if in Respondus lockdown browser, like above by clicking “next”and back.

Layout of the Language Resource Center (LRC)

2014/01/22 3 comments

The numbers in the layout correspond to the numbers we posted (to facilitate teacher and student orientation and to aid in LRC temp staff troubleshooting)  on the computer monitors and also (for IT staff) to the number part of the underlying computer names which can also be displayed in the classroom management systems NetOP School and Sanako Study 1200 on the teacher computer (32).
lrc-layout-map-marked-numbered5

Deepfreeze rebooting the lab computers again during use

  1. I have been told that Deepfreeze will reboot lab computers (hourly?) only when they are idle (on login screen).
  2. However,  I have observed the unsolicited reboot also when trying to work with these computers.
  3. Today, I had both lab computers that I was working on with the Sanako , reboot in the middle of my testing, with the 1 minute warning dialogue. CAM04314
  4. Will pressing “cancel” prevent this, especially during high-stakes writing and speaking  assessments with the Sanako? What if the users misses it (we sometimes deliberately have the screens blocked/blacked out during parts of classes).

Camera available to document issues

Find it in coed436 and take it with you during routine checks and when assisting clients.

The simplest OCR options you have here

  1. (Staff:) Using the departmental scanner which outputs PDF to a network share (that you can link from your desktop). The PDF is searchable at least
  2. (Staff & Students:) Using only your desktop, at work or at home:
    1. MS-Office
      1. OneNote 2007/2010: paste image, right-click to access context menu, “extract text”.  Example (you can see it is quick and simple, but not error-free): image
      2. Imaging components :TBA
    2. Google Apps can also OCR the files you upload to Google Docs.
      1. You first need to change the default settings. Choose from hard-drive icon for file uploads, context menu: “Settings” / “Convert text form uploaded PDF and image files”.
      2. You may want to upload an entire folder – then you need to either use Chrome or allow the install of a Java applet.
      3. You may want to use not have to deal with one Googledoc for each image you upload. So bind your scanned pages (unless your OCR software already allows this – I have been restricted to “Windows Scan and Fax”) to multi-page PDFs (imagemagick’s convert command can do it for free). Note that the max upload size in Google Docs is 2mb, which restricted me to about 10 pages per document (strangely, since I had scanned to b lack and white and very small size, but the PDF size grew, likely using a less efficient encoding  – might be able to optimize this).
      4. Google Apps uses the same OCR engine as Google Books. Not much formatting is being retained, in the below examples note the line breaks, but that is fine for me, since I am only after large chunks of text for further processing: image
      5. I have only tested English (largely current affairs) text, but was impressed with the OCR results.
        1. Also, where the OCR went wrong (2-times 4 per page; also some artifacts, my scans were not very clean: Google Apps seems to handle dark spots on the page better then unstraightened lines),
        2. the proofreading suggestions (as usual, right click to access) are very good (better than MS-Word’s when I downloaded the files).image
        3. Sometimes you have to consult the original image which conveniently gets put above the  OCR’ed: text. imageimage
        4. You can download the results as MS-Word files and within MS-Word, remove all the scan images using ^g. image

    Why not streaming audio from teacher to students in the Sanako is a poor workaround

    1. We lost streaming capabilities with upgrade to Sanako Version 7 – still investigating how we can get them back, for the workaround is not working well: Now class activities fail because of permission issues that we did not have when we still were able to stream.
    2. Below is the result of an attempt today to play a listening comprehension activity to students for a TOEFL list mock exam with a student that has regular SANAKO permissions, but not the ones to download from this file location (would need to redo the permissions if we keep streaming).