Archive for February 2013

Abstract: Sakai – The First Ten Years and the Next Ten Years

I will be submitting this abstract to the 2013 Apereo Conference in San Diego June 2-7, 2013.

The Sakai project is nearly ten years old, having started informally in June 2003 and then formally funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in January 2004. There is no question that Sakai has brought tremendous value to the LMS market – even for schools that have never used or installed the product. Sakai has been a force for good and shown other LMS systems the right path to meet the real needs of their users. Sakai is the only Apache-style open source / open community LMS project in the marketplace. As of November 2012, Sakai represented six percent of the US LMS marketplace. These are all impressive results and with the release of Sakai 2.9, we have a product that we can be very proud of (and everyone should upgrade to it as soon as possible). But at the same time, we cannot rest on our laurels and need to think carefully about the kinds of activities that we will undertake beyond Sakai 2.9 to maintain and strengthen our place in the marketplace in an increasingly standards-oriented, component-based learning systems, trends toward multi-tenancy, software as service, MOOCs and extreme scalability. In this presentation, we will take a look at the past, present, and future of the Sakai Collaborative Learning Environment.

This is just a draft – comments welcome.

How do I record my MOOC Lectures?

I use these bits of technology to record my MOOC lectures:

http://www.wacom.com/en/creative/products/pen-displays/cintiq/cintiq-12wx

http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html (for Mac)

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Widescreen-Calling-Recording-960-000764/dp/B006JH8T3S/ref=dp_ob_title_ce (Logitech 920)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/webcam-settings/id533696630?mt=12

http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omnidazzle/

Update: Sadly, OmniDazzle no longer works for Mac OS 10.9 so I have switched to Ink2Go to annotate the slides. Ink2Go is an adequate product and draws nicely the but its poor hotkey support means that I cannot change colors with a mere keystroke or Wacom button and I need to have the Ink2Go menu in the lower left of the screen – which you can sometimes see on my later recordings – which makes the recordings look less professional.

Update: I am so disappointed with all of the screen-drawing products that I have started to build some of my slides using Reveal.JS and my own JavaScript-based screen drawing tool that I call DazzleSketch. I am experimenting with this approach for my new book TCP/IP Networking.

TorchLED 50 Watt Light – I use this to light my face a little bit – takes away shadows on people’s faces.

I record on a 4-CPU MacBook Pro 15 with an SSD drive – and it seems to labor a bit -I tried a recent 2-CPU MacBook 13 and it could not keep up. Camtasia does a great job of compressing the video without loss – but it is a bit CPU heavy. If you look the Camtasia files are surprisingly small and so easy to archive the original high quality materials instead of the rendered MP4 files.

The Logitech camera drivers for Mac are kind of weak and so the WebCam Settings tool is very important to adjust and fix color balance and turn off auto-focus to keep me from looking too blue or randomly changing colors and having the focus wander while I wave my hands.

I have derived some settings for the screen layout and came up via experiment with some compression settings for YouTube and for MP4’s that I make. I find that I need to make my files about 2X larger to keep them looking good on YouTube. In Camtasia when I export, to get good results I need the quality at the 3/4 mark. But for just making files to be played with Quicktime or to keep for archive I export with Camtasia’s quality setting at the 1/2 mark.

For very wide-screen videos with a big version of me on the right hand side that I produce for MOOC / Distance education like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQ0HXfB8Q1w

I use a 1280×525 Canvas in Camtasia.

For situations where I make a screencast be played in a classroom make the Camtasia Canvas 1024×768 and move the image around or even remove it to keep it off the slide content as in:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za3TXZXGJAE

Folks have more pixels on their computers than in classroom projectors :)