Academic Continuity: Defeating the Weather with Technology

Much of the talk on campus these past few weeks have centered around the weather and the record amount of snow we have been receiving.  However, the snow has incited much more than talk.  In an almost unprecedented move, WPI has had to delay or cancel classes more than once this winter!  With such short terms this leaves some instructors looking for alternative ways to connect with their students and provide Academic Continuity.  Here are two technologies that can help you defeat the weather!

Did you know that WPI has a web conferencing tool available called Wimba?  You may have heard the name Wimba around on campus or noticed the icon in your myWPI site;  but what exactly is Wimba and what can it be used for?  A cross-platform, cross-browser compatible online collaboration suite, Wimba allows you to communicate synchronously with others on campus and off.  Wimba can help you to connect with your students in real time using just your computer, an internet browser, and a headset!  Using Wimba you can speak with your students using VoIP while sharing content such as a PowerPoint or your desktop. Furthermore you can archive your sessions for later access!  Want more information on Wimba? Check out this online information or contact us directly @ wimba@wpi.edu.

But what if you want an asynchronous solution?  Camtasia Studio may be just the tool for you! Camtasia Studio is a video-based screen capturing software program. It is analogous to using a video camera to record your screen. However, unlike using a video camera, the software is installed on your computer, so your screen captures are directly recorded to a digital video format with higher quality audio. Camtasia can also be customized to capture the entire screen, a specific window, or user-defined region. Screen capture videos can be recorded with or without voice narration, and can be annotated after recording.  While Camtasia was originally designed for creating software tutorials, but has other powerful applications. Common uses of Camtasia are:

  • Software tutorials for discipline-specific or lab software
  • Explanation of a process displayed in discipline-specific software
  • Web site tours
  • Narrated PowerPoint presentations
  • Narrated explanation of lecture notes, homework solutions or other materials
  • Video and audio podcast production

Want more information on Camtasia? Check out this online information or contact us directly @ atc-ttc@wpi.edu.

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