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"Principles of Sustainability" icon

Principles of Sustainability

This open courseware online course is a digital walkabout on the primary concepts, principles, and issues of sustainability. The course features almost 50 "doculectures" filmed in a cinematic style, crowd sourced by over 100 filmmakers and scholars across the globe. Produced under CC 3.0 this experimental pedagogy uses vibrant HD imagery and surround-sound optimized for headphones, with discrete virtual and spacial elements to transport the...

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Barbara Kuhn
Barbara Kuhn (Faculty)
11 years ago

This course has tremendous potential but needs work on the logistics and navigation through the online course.  It was cumbersome deciding where to go first on the site because the course syllabus, rubic, and other important documents were not easy to locate.  Students need to easily follow the course organization.  The videos in each of the chapters were excellent and the section topics were excellent and very relevant. Each of the chapter videos opened but the videos inside the chapters did not open as the link was broken.  With some motifications to the organization of the course on the site I believe the rating should be 4 or 5 star. 

Technical Remarks:

need to repair broken links

Time spent reviewing site: 20 min
Greg Möller
Greg Möller (Faculty)
11 years ago

A design goal of this effort was an attempt to make an online lecture 'better' than the classroom experience using high-end digital media. It looks expensive but it is not...the total development budget for this course was about $8K, primarily for a nice computer and production software that has extended use beyond this course. I do all of the production work myself, but usually have a student assistant with me during lecture taping. I use my own cameras and mics obtained through some previous course development grants. You do not need particularly high end gear to make this look nice. All media is obtained as CC or from permissioned use. Music is from royalty free "free" and subscription services. Comparative effort analysis: new 50 minute lecture in typical classroom oral presentation PowerPoint style takes me about 40 hours to produce de novo; the digital video style is 40-80 hrs depending on complexity and permissions. Digital lecture typically has 2 yr shelf life.

Technical Remarks:

Workflow: 1) Write the lecture as a formal referenced paper. 1000 words = 15 minutes of oral presentation. 2)  Rewrite the paper, deleting references and translating to a more informal spoken word presentation; practice for flow and pronunciation. 3)  Load into a teleprompter and tape the presentation in a studio or classroom. White screen background. Diction flubs are easily edited out. I use a boomed stereo shotgun microphone rather than the common lav mic for spacial dimensionality. Taping takes about twice the presentation time. Practicing prompted presentations takes some time but it is not that difficult. 4)  Encode the spoken lecture. I use Adobe Premiere Pro. Edit, fix flubs and color and add transitions and text floats for information dense areas of the lecture. I do these straight from the script and it is quick. 5)  Add sound score. Matching sound to the tempo and theme of the presentation can take a while But I enjoy listening to the wide range of music available. Add music swells to emphasize transitions and to heighten attention or impact content. Seek the epic lecture if you want to engage your students. 6) Add audio visual drama. There are thousands of talented amateur photographers and videographers out there willing to share their adventures and talents. Vimeo and Youtube are their nesting places. Avoid production houses unless you have a megabudget. Occasional royalty free stock video and photos are sometimes worth the impact. Use sound as a resource. Talking about nature? Use forest sounds to transport your students. 7)  Build and moderate your LMS discussion forums to support the doculecture delivery as this will provide the peer learning support and vital discussion. 8) Bring in the scholarly reading and writing to address course content deeper that what can be efficiently presented in a lecture, as typical. For those of us that have been witness to the remarkable advances in educational technology for the past three decades, production of media rich "doculectures" is yet just another advancement in pedagogy. PowerPoint is a useful but overused old-tech that is mind-numbing to some students (especially in an online context) and while this new approach may see high-tech and over the top to some, we all saw that same transformative adaption when we finally put down our chalk.