i’d like to borrow a *bleep*, please

Celebrate your reading freedom this week: read a banned book. That’s right, Sept. 27-Oct. 4, 2008 is Banned Books Week. Here are some resources:

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open teaching

The Chronicle of Higher Education this morning features an article in The Wired Campus about “open teaching,” or making course materials, classroom video and allowing those outside the course to participate in discussions and other course assignments. Look beyond what this means for the future of the classroom or university … what does it mean for the classroom and university right now?

sorted books

Here’s a really nifty site: Sorted Books. The books are stacked to make a story. Their Haiku-like allure has me thinking about my own bookcase … . This page describes the project and has earlier entries. You can also search the tag “sortedbooks” on Flickr and other sites and find more examples (and contribute if you are feeling creative).

example of stamped podcast

Here’s an example of a stamped podcast, as mentioned in yesterday’s post “podcasting: going public.” I created both the opening and the body of the podcast in Audacity as separate files, then inserted the opening in the main podcast file, saved, and converted to an mp3. The mp3 is hosted on Podbean. Both Audacity and Podbean are free to use. View an Audacity tutorial here if you would like to try this on your own (or use GarageBand or your other favorite recording tool).

podcasting: going public

If you are interested in hearing examples of instructional podcasts, openculture is a great site to visit. The “Free Online Courses & Lectures from Great Universities” page may be found at http://www.oculture.com/2007/07/freeonlinecourses.html. Featured podcasts are from a variety of areas – Geography, Economics, Literature, Chemistry, Mathematics, Business and many more – and a variety of universites, such as Yale, UC Berkeley, MIT, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State, Stanford, Washington College of Law and others. openculture also has a collection of Free Online Courses & Lectures from Great Universities. There’s much more on the site – do explore!

Why share course content on a free and open website? Such sharing naturally opens the door to uneasy thoughts about ownership and distribution. My thought is: Who cares if someone not in the course listens? Sharing such content widens the reputation of both the professor and the university. It contributes to a greater knowledge base for our (global) community. Yes, it’s possible someone could remix the podcast. But, honestly, who would want to? I don’t mean that to be disrespectful; what I mean is that the people who are remixing are for the most part more interested in music and images. Also, few podcasts (especially instructional podcasts) are so widely distributed that they run that risk. But if someone did remix an astronomy lecture by adding astronomic images and some original music … that may be bothersome because of a loss of control, or it may be a delight. It depends upon your view of sharing in general.

Clearly putting a podcast out there means that you don’t know for sure what the user will do with it, and you don’t know for sure that you will be credited if it is used elsewhere or remixed. My recommendation, if you are concerned about those issues but want to contribute lectures or other audio (or video) to open podcasting, is to “stamp” your podcast in some way. Open it with an introduction of yourself and your material, for example, and give it a Creative Commons license. This can be done once and appended to every podcast. At least you are making your intentions clear.

If the concern is that people will not take the course if they can get the information for free … well, they can’t get the credit for free. If they really want the full course and the credit for it, they’ll need to enroll and pay tuition.

There are probably other barriers that don’t occur to me at the moment. It boils down to this: If you can’t envision making your lectures and/or materials availble for distribution and possibly redistribution, then podcasting is probably not for you. But if you are thinking of trying it, here are two more resources you’ll need: 1) Basic instructions (this one is from Blue 2.0 for Staff) and 2) a reminder of copyright as it pertains to your materials and others’.

Blue 2.0 for Faculty

If you have read this blog for more than a few months, you know all about Blue 2.0, an initiative in collaborations and interconnectivity that started on campus with University of Kentucky Libraries’ Blue 2.0 and has spread to a TASC version for staff. Next up: Blue 2.0 for Faculty.

TASC will conduct Blue 2.0 for Faculty beginning with a face-to-face meeting on Oct. 1, and wrapping up with another face-to-face on Dec. 1. The point of the effort is to engage faculty who think they might use Web 2.0 technologies and applications in their courses or their research. The first module, on creating and using blogs (web logs), begins on Monday, Oct. 6. Following that will be modules on podcasts (audio and video files that are downloadable and offer subscription feeds), Google Docs and Applications (document sharing, photo editing and more), wikis (collaborative websites), Wimba (web conferencing), and a final week featuring a variety of other Web 2.0 tools to choose from. In each module, participants will create and use the technology and participate in an online discussion of its potential, limitations, advantages, disadvantages and specific uses. To register, contact Bill Burke at burke@uky.edu or 257-8272.

picturing the way it was

American Museum of Natural History Library http://images.library.amnh.org (image number 280023)

Picturing the Museum is an exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History in New York consisting of archival images that follow the history of the museum’s exhibits and events (dioramas, education, exhibition, and exhibition prep). Educational and non-commercial use of these wonderful photographs is allowed under certain restrictions – see the website’s Conditions of Use. The types of photos vary widely, from exhibit closeups to school children’s visits to artists at work. Above, museum staff clean an elephant skin (photographed by Thane L. Bierwert in June 1933).