Tagged: audio

Podcast tool disruption

As announced in May  the Podcast tool is now being retired. The tool will be switched off on the 31st October at the end of our licence period. The podcast tool is the last of the Learning Objects tools to be retired (see here, and here).

It was our intention to have a replacement tool in place to ensure a seamless transition however issues during development have delayed delivery of the new tool by approximately a week. A podcast player will be put in place immediately to play existing podcasts, however a replacement tool for uploading podcasts is still being worked on.

If the delivery of the replacement tool takes longer than a week (we’ll update you on our blog), and if you have urgent podcasts to upload after the 31st October, please contact the VLE Service via the IT Helpdesk for advice and assistance.

Comments are welcome, however if you need help or advice please contact the IT Helpdesk on tel (0113) 343 3333, via the online contact form, or helpdesk@leeds.ac.uk.

Give students audio feedback for Turnitin assignments

Turnitin recently introduced an audio comments feature into Grademark. This enables staff to record a 3 minute audio comment for a student’s submission (you can only have one comment per submission).

For this feature to work, staff need Adobe Flash Player 11 or later installed and students need Adobe Flash Player 10.3 or later installed. The University ISS staff desktop and student clusters will work with this feature. For personal computers, you can find out which Adobe Flash Player you have installed here: http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/find-version-flash-player.html

Turnitin have produced a video demo which shows you how to record the comment once in Grademark: http://vimeo.com/40740768

Students can listen to their comment after the Turnitin post date by returning to the Turnitin submission area or by following links in My Grades, if enabled.

Comments are welcome, however if you need help or advice please contact the ISS helpdesk on tel (0113) 343 3333, or helpdesk@leeds.ac.uk.

Grademark: new feature

Turnitin have recently introduced a beta audio comments feature into Grademark. (Beta means it’s still under development.)

For this feature to work, staff need Adobe Flash Player 11 or later installed and students need Adobe Flash Player 10.3 or later installed. Please be aware that the University staff desktop and student clusters do not yet have these versions of Flash Player.

Our colleagues in ISS will investigate whether these can be installed and we will update this blog with timescales when available.

Adding audio to your module with Soundcloud

There are a lot of embedded content tools in the VLE but something we in the VLE Service want to do is help you explore other options on the net that we haven’t integrated yet. Something we have missed in the VLE since the removal of the Horizon Wimba audio tools is a quick way to add brief audio recordings to your module. One of the services we’ve been experimenting with is an audio site called Soundcloud.

Soundcloud offers an embeddable audio player and an on-screen audio recording applet. It also offers the possibility of allowing registered Soundcloud users to comment on your recordings.

Take a look at this demonstration on YouTube as we walk through the interface:

There’s also ample help on the soundcloud website to get you started.

Caveats: be aware that Soundcloud is not an embedded tool in the VLE – your audio will not be held by the University. Try the tool and see how it works – just be sensible and  don’t bank all your audio there – this is the same common sense advice for all web based, non-University controlled  multimedia services you might link to from the VLE – Google, YouTube, Flickr etc. Always keep a backup, be mindful of intellectual property considerations and don’t use it for commercially confident or personal, sensitive information. If it isn’t clear what this might be, just ask the helpdesk and they’ll put us in touch with you.

Built in privacy settings also provide a way to restrict who can see your files on the wider internet as well. If you need advice, log a call with the helpdesk. The VLE team can discuss use-case scenarios with you and advice on suitable settings.

Soundcloud makes recording and downloading audio easy too, you can configure file saving on the embedded audio applet so that you and your listeners can download the audio file for later listening. It’s easy to see how you might utilise Soundcloud for quick recording, especially if you are unfamiliar with more complicated desktop applications such as Audacity.

Have fun! With a free Soundcloud account you have 120 minutes of audio storage available, and deleting old, unwanted files will free up space if you need it.

Downtime complete

The VLE is back online following downtime today.

The downtime coincided with upgrades to critical infrastrure, however we took the opportunity to deploy some long awaited fixes and features, including:

  • Anonymous marking has now been turned on in Turnitin
  • A fix to a layout bug on the VLE homepage affecting a small number of users
  • Added some context sensitive help to Announcements, Uploads, Text box editor and module statistics
  • Some improvements to item editing glitches with images and serving audio files.

Comments are welcome, however if you need help or advice please contact the ISS helpdesk on tel (0113) 343 3333, or helpdesk@leeds.ac.uk.

VLE mp3 playback problems

Users are experiencing problems when trying to play embedded audio files within the VLE;  the audio file fails to play or stops playing after 2 to 3 seconds. We are working to resolve the issues as soon as possible.

In the interim we recommend that staff create links to audio files rather than embedding them. When linking to audio files, we advise that you provide the following advice in the resource description – ‘To listen to this file, right click and select save as; save the file to a convenient location and open the file for playback’. Users can then open the file in an audio player on their desktop.

We hope to resolve this issue quickly. Should you require any assistance relating to this issue please contact us via the helpdesk – email: helpdesk@leeds.ac.uk | tel: 0113 343 3333.