All entries for Wednesday 17 November 2004
November 17, 2004
Writing about web page http://www.rice.edu/webcast/index.htmlRice University are releasing webcasts of recent lectures, viewable by anyone in the world. They've actually been doing this for many years – since 1997 – with early streams being audio-only clips, then video and audio from mid-1998 onwards. It's an impressive archive; I wonder how much usage it gets?
Writing about web page http://www.panic.com/extras/audionstory/
Fascinating account of what happened to a software house making MP3 software for the Mac once iTunes appeared. My favourite quote (when the narrator gets a meeting with Steve Jobs):-
I remember he asked, "Do you have any other ideas for apps you want to work on?" I replied, genuinely, "Well, we've got an idea for a digital photo management program…" and he replied with a simple, "Yeah. Don't do that one."
Writing about web page http://www.duke.edu/ipod/
Duke University in North Carolina has given all 1,650 members of its new first year intake an iPod. They assert that iPods have the potential to become a powerful educational tool; smaller than a laptop and with longer battery life, so that it can be genuinely ubiquitous and pervasive for its users. The iPods come pre-loaded with content such as the orientation schedule and the academic calendar, and there is a Duke Uni page on iTunes where students can download audio files of lectures and other content. Students are also given a microphone so that they can record on to their iPod, for example when out on field classes.
It's an interesting idea, and there's no doubt that Duke were smart to pick a device which for many students will be a desirable object in its own right (the student gets to keep the iPod after they graduate). But I wonder how much value there will turn out to be in an audio-only device? How many lectures turn out to be useful if all you have is the audio, not the slides or the OHPs or the whiteboard? And iPods don't support bookmarking or any other sort of indexing that would let the user do more than just listen from start to end. Perhaps next year they'll go with the iPod Photo so that the PowerPoint slides show up too.
There's also no mention of whether the students get any kind of preferential deal at iTunes as part of the package. Free iPods and cheap iTunes; now that's the way forward…