Now I have a MOOC platform, what are the physical stuff I need?

It’s been a while since I wrote my last MOOC-related post. But now, after the crazy days of starting the first MOOC class in which I have the honour to participate in, I can write a bit about the second main aspect of a MOOC: what do you need to create those awesome videos. I already know that these posts are not about content, but about things you need to start. About the content and political or philosophical implications of teaching a MOOC there already are conversations out there that can fit your interest and answer your questions. For me, it is simply an interesting trend that universalizes the access to higher education, so as an academic member of an university, it’s a must to at least give it a try.

Said this, let’s talk about physical stuff. In the last post, I talked about infrastructure needs. Well, we finally forked the OpenMOOC engine and started our own development, which includes an all-in-one solution (registration, users, discussion, etc.) with a very easy installation process –stay tuned for detailed instruction to deploy it in your own server. And now that the course started, we are producing the videos as fast as we can. In an ideal world, you should buy one of those amazing Wacom tablets that already does all the work for you, but if you don’t have $4,000, as we do in our lab where the resources are limited, you should use what you already have. So far, what we are using is:

  • Digital camera recorder. The Panasonic HC-V700 ($460), but any modern camera, a good DSLR or even a small digital camera, is able to record in good quality (1080p) and is not that expense.
  • Tabletop monopod. This time we bought one from Amazon, a Sharpics SPMP16 ($30), in order to record what the teacher writes.
  • Lamp. In order to avoid annoying hand shadows when writing, we got a basic swing arm lamp ($25).
  • iPad ($399). We already had one, so no more to say.
  • Stylus. We are using a Bamboo Stylus Solo ($30), but there are cheaper options out there. It’s most about how confident you feel with it.
And I think that’s all. The process we are following on the cheap, in order to achieve results as close to Udacity‘s videos as possible, shown above, in which the hand never hides the written content, is the next:
  1. Write a small script of the video, that it is called nugget on the OpenMOOC terminology.
  2. Fix the iPad on a desktop under the camera lens, using the monopod and the lamp light.
  3. Write the content on Paper or Sketchbook Pro ($4.99) and record all the thing.
  4. At the same time, we screencast the iPad using screen mirroing through AirServer ($14.99) and Camtasia ($99).
  5. In the same Camtasia, using chroma key, we put the texts and diagrams over the hand, creating the similar effect.

But we need a lot of more practice 😀

On the other hand, we are also streaming the classes, so we can record and cut the session into pieces and make more concepts videos. So far, we are not using videos for homeworks, but Dr. Glearning, a service that enables you to create homework that your students can do in their phones. I wish you could see the students’ faces after telling them they will do homework in their phones, it’s simply priceless. But, although Dr. Glearning app is already available on iTunes and Google Play stores, is still in beta for teachers to create their courses. In addition, our OpenMOOC fork, we developed a basic integration, so you can embed Dr. Glearning courses into your MOOC course. Awesome, isn’t it?


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4 Responses to Now I have a MOOC platform, what are the physical stuff I need?

  1. Pingback: Creando un MOOC. Parte 2 | Aprendiendo Elearning

  2. Pingback: ¿Cómo crear e impartir un Mooc? |

  3. Pingback: Solar Theme » Now I have a MOOC platform, what are the physical stuff I need?

  4. Pingback: MOOC | Jose Manuel Martín

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