Its working at last………!

Posted: February 22, 2013 by scottashleydwyer in Weekly feedback

This week I have loaded the Video Slimmer app on a number of Ipads for trialling with a group of students. These are the same students that were part of the trial where we couldnt send anything to Moodle as the videos were too big. I thought they would be less than enthusisatic about doing it again, but they were quite happy about it. In fact I got some feedback from my Manager that at a student rep meeting last week students from this group were talking about the concept of using the video assessment app very favourably…so thats good news.

So they:

  1. recorded their tutorial activity via the camera on the Ipad
  2. selected the video from the camera roll in the Video Slimmer app and compressed it
  3. selected the video in the video assessment app and sent it to Moodle.

It took a few minutes, but it worked and we were able to watch the videos on the big screen in the classroom. Of course the more outgoing students were keen to be on camera, but I encouraged others to present via other means, so we had numerous characters such as talking hands, Woody from Toy Story on the end of a pencil and a face drawn on a sheet of paper to convey the information.

I have been advised that I will be taking this group for Human Resources Management next term, so even though the trial will be over by then, I will be using the app for the presentations the students  have to do as part of their assessment. Now we know that we can have a window of around 4 minutes of recording this should work for this subject and the plus is that all video files go to the one spot in Moodle for me to assess.  So even though I would like the compression/loading  process to be quicker and all be part of the one app, we still have something that is now feasible to take into the classroom.



Posted: February 14, 2013 by scottashleydwyer in Weekly feedback

So this week Leo has found some apps that may be of use in our mission to compress the videos before  loading onto the moodle site. I have downloaded an app called Video Slimmer from the Apple app store for 99 cents. I could not find any instructions to advise me how to use it, so after playing around for a while stumbled upon what I assume is the  process to compress.  I took a video with the camera funtion on an ipad and saved it, then picked it up from the library on the video app and sent it to moodle.  The video was just over 4 minutes long and took about 2 minutes to compress and three minutes to load onto to moodle. This is a breakthrough as before a video of that length would not load at all. However, the process is still to long I feel. There are a number of other apps that I will download and experiment with, but it looks like we are on the right track here. As I said last week this is not the ideal situation,as it would be great if  all functions could take place within one app. But it means that it looks like we can continue the trial with students – even though the videos will need to  be kept to about 5 minutes maximum in length. Caroline is keen to trial the video app again with her Gastronomy group and they are going on a food and wine tasting trip to the wine region in SA in a  few weeks so we are hoping that we can test it again there. Hope to have some more positive news to report next week…..

There is light at the end of the app tunnel!

Posted: February 8, 2013 by scottashleydwyer in Weekly feedback

I have had a meeting this week with  Leo and Kien at Bright cookie to discuss options for being able to upload bigger videos. It seems that the easist way to address the problem is to use a video editing app in conjunction with the video assessment app. This will allow the students to be really creative with the production of their assessments along with enough compression to upload to moodle.  The ideal situation would be if this was all integrated in the one app, but that may be for another trial. So Leo has identified a number of apps that may be appropriate to use and they are testing them at the moment. I am hoping that these may be ready to use in another student trial in the next week or so.

I had to explain to the group of students that eagerly made videos for me last week, that there was a technical glitch. They were disappointed that they could not see their work, but understood that they are part of a trial and that problems can be part of the process and highlight what needs to be fixed before anything like this goes live. They are still keen to work with the app and the subject I am teaching them runs for another 5 weeks, so still time to get some robust feedback from them.

More next week………


A few ups and downs!

Posted: January 31, 2013 by scottashleydwyer in Weekly feedback

This week has proved to be somewhat challenging.   I took the devices loaded with apps into the class room for the first time. I am currently using the moodle testing site for this part of the trial. I realised that my students would not have user accounts for this moodle site, so I had a brainwave…or so I thought. I logged onto all of 11 devices as me. I then created a new assignment thinking that they could all submit to the same assignment. But of course every time a new video was submitted it wiped out the previous one. So another brain wave….I added 11 separate assignments – test group 1, test group 2…etc. This worked as they are all separate assignments and would not be copied over even though all students are logged on as me. 

The students had a tutorial session where they had to do a reading and then present their thoughts on a number of questions I had put forward. They were getting very creative and developing various techniques to present on the video. The videos were all about 5 minutes in length.  Once they finished they pressed submit. And then we waitied and we waited and we waited. It kept telling us to please wait, but we couldnt wait any longer and we finished the class.

Apart from the waiting the students were saying what a great idea it was to have such a simple way to record and submit a piece of work. So the app was a winner as far as these students were concerned. It was  also popular with  those who hate presenting in front of a group to do something that could showcase their learning without the fear of ‘stage fright’.

The other point that the students commented on positively was the overlay of instructions that are on the screen before they take the video, so they do not have to refer to any other information.

However, later that night I realised that these videos were not going to load at all.  So  I contacted Kien at brightcookie, who advised me that the videos would be too heavy to load as Ipods and Ipads record in HD and use around 100mb for 1 minute of video. So he suggested that we take the video, save it in the library and submit it that way to moodle, so it will be compressed.

I have been playing around with that today and have realised that, yes it does work, but only if the videos are less than 1 and a half minutes. And even this takes 5 minutes to load onto moodle. So from now the videos will have to be 1.5 minutes maximum. This is not ideal for assessment purposes, so this is an area that needs to be worked on. I have put the question to Kien, to see if we can work around this and make inmprovements. So I hope we have an answer to that question next week.

In the meantime I have met with Carolyn to discuss how we are going to introduce the video app to her  final year Gastronomy students. She is conducting a wine tasting with them this morning and I am going to work with the students who can use the video app to do their summary of the wines.


I have just finished with the wine tasting session with two groups and it did not go at all as planned. First of all one group of  students were anti on line assessment, however I sold the concept to them and they were willing to give it a try. They shot the videos giving feedback on two types of sparkling wine. One video loaded and was able to be viewed. The other video did not load at all. This happened to be with the students who were very anti online, so did not go down well at all.

They did not see any point in participating again unless it worked properly.

So I guess now it is over to brightcookie to see what can be done with the technology before we move forward with our testing.

Hopefully some positive news on that next week…….


Back for the New Year…….

Posted: January 24, 2013 by scottashleydwyer in Weekly feedback

It seems months ago since our last post, but in reality 6 weeks. So we are back on deck and looking forward to continuing the trial and reporting our results.

The good news is that all Ipads and Ipods now have the app loaded and have been tested by us so are ready to be given to students to actually use the mobile video assessment.

Many of my colleagues have been very interested in why I have 6 Ipads and 6 Ipods on my desk and when I have explained what I am doing a number of them have asked if they can also participate in the trial which I am very pleased about as it will generate more feedback. I just need to work out the logistics and figure out if I can work with their timetables etc.

I have also discussed the trial with a class of my students this week and they are keen to use the app in tutorials where they are required to create small presentations based on various case studies associated with the subject. I aim to start this next week, so hope to have some feedback to report.

I am also meeting with Carolyn next week to discuss where and when she is going to use the app for her students assessment.  I am looking forward to this as it will involve many different aspects of gastronomic practice…I hope to get to do some tastings also!

Back next week with more….

Happy Australia Day to you all!

And its a Merry Xmas from us…….

Posted: December 6, 2012 by scottashleydwyer in Weekly feedback

Not a lot to report this week as things are winding down for the Xmas break. We finish on Friday and wont be back until the 21st of January. I had a meeting with Leo this week to catch up and left the Ipod Itouches to have the apps loaded ready for the next two trial groups in the New Year. We discussed the feedback so far from the trial and agreed that the information collected has been interesting and has made us aware of some of the challenges students face by presenting them with something new. Our assumption that this generation are all completely techno savvy and have no problem adapting to new ways of doing things like assessment seems to be open for question. The app will allow us to address this as we now know that we have to give clear directions and instruction. The next groups will have the app, so will be interesting to see their reaction and results. The next 2 trial groups will be involved with food and wine preparation and service so lots of different material for video. I will be working on this trial with Carolyn, who is the lecturer for this subject which is called Professional Gastronomy Practice – commonly known as PGP.

Hope everyone has a good holiday break and I look forward to more blogging next year.

More feedback….

Posted: December 2, 2012 by scottashleydwyer in Weekly feedback

This week we observed the second group of student videos. This group were also fairly nervous about the whole procss and had not used video assessment before. Having said this they were still quite keen and one student even advised me that he had undertaken an on line animation course in preparation to make his video.

They were really a mixed bag, and again reinforced to me that we need to make sure that when we use the app in the next 2 trial groups that we really need to include very specific directions in the overlay. 

A student who was not able to attend the group session came in yesterday and blew us away with what she had done. She had taken a simple, yet very creative approach using props that she had made for the presentation. This student is very shy and I am sure would not have been able to make such a powerful presentation if she had to do it face to face…or camera. She used her voice and the props to deliver the promotional message.

The best part of the video was the ‘presenter’ – a talking hamburger…constructed from felt, but including all ingredients!   The backdrops and other props were also very well done.

The sound and scripting needed a little work, but the idea was fantastic. A message to us that this tool can be very empowering.

I will try to upload this video next week so you can see what the reuslt was.