- Peer Review: “eTeach”
- Jan 25, 2005 by Teacher Education
- As course management systems like Blackboard and WebCT have become more common,
faculty are looking for efficient ways to put lectures or
presentations online. University of Wisconsin professors Gregory Moses and Mike
Litzkow have created a free tool called eTeach that allows instructors to create
streaming lectures that can include audio, video, PowerPoint animations, and
still images. These lectures can then be watched by students over the web or
from a CD-ROM. The eTeach web site includes tutorials, manuals, tips, and
sample presentations. The eTeach program can be downloaded and installed from
the web site.
- Type of Material:
- The program was classified as a simulation when submitted to MERLOT but it is a
true learning object that gives faculty power to share their content in a
- Recommended Uses:
- eTeach can be used to create lectures for online courses and/or supplemental
lectures for face-to-face courses.
- Technical Requirements:
- PC (running Windows 95 or higher)
Video camera and video editing software or microphone for creating audio files
Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 or XP
Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher
Windows Media Player 7.0 or higher
Available disk space for storing video/audio files
- Identify Major Learning Goals:
- eTeach is a lecture/presentation authoring tool so learning goals are determined
by individual professors who use the tool to create learning objects
- Target Student Population:
- This tool could be used by faculty with strong technology skills or those
willing to learn. It isn?t for beginners. All users need to make sure that they
meet minimum system requirements listed on the web site before beginning.
- Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
- Faculty should be familiar with the process of creating web pages. They should
understand how to identify different file types by their file name extensions.
Instructors may be challenged by the time commitment necessary to write scripts,
record, and digitize video/audio clips.
- The authors of eTeach have used their tool extensively and have provided great
resources for both experienced and inexperienced users. Instructors with above
average computer skills may find this to be a valuable tool if they have a goal
of making their lectures available to students outside of face-to-face class
- Instructors will limited technology skills may have trouble using a tool like
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
- Many students appreciate seeing and hearing their instructor when viewing online
lectures. We may not be able to correlate this with higher achievement but the
strength of a tool like eTeach is that students are able watch lectures
multiple times to try understand points they weren?t able to comprehend during
the original presentation.
- Professors interested in using this tool in a blended environment may be
concerned about the impact it could have on student attendance. Why come to
class if the lecture is available online? Using a tool like eTeach may allow an
instructor to redesign the face-to-face portion of a course, allowing more time
for in-class discussion.
One disadvantage of this format is that students won?t be able to engage the
instructor as the lecture is taking place. They may need a clarification early
in the lecture to be able to understand content presented later. Of course,
they would be able to watch the lecture again after receiving this
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
- The authors are committed to making eTeach user friendly and have proven this in
their detailed instructions and product improvements in each new version.
However, this tool would not fall under the category of low threshold computing
applications. Even for instructors with strong technical skills, there is a
significant amount of work to be done before a presentation is ready for student
viewing. eTeach is only available for Windows users. This is understandable
because the authors are engineering professors and this is probably a dominant
platform in their field. Also, writing cross platform applications for
multimedia authoring tools is not a trivial matter. Macintosh and other OS
users will have to look elsewhere for a similar tool.
- Our concerns aren?t with the tool itself but rather with the amount of work
necessary to create a final product. The eTeach authors aren?t able to control
elements of production such as the amount of time it takes for an instructor to
prepare and record a lecture. Some instructors will be fooled into thinking that
they can record their in-class lectures and use this tool to stream them over
the web. This probably won?t be satisfactory unless instructors are willing to
stand in one place and refuse to interact with face-to-face students during the
- Other Issues and Comments:
- The authors of eTeach have done an excellent job of creating a tool that will
allow lectures to be presented online. They have made it user friendly and have
provided significant help resources. There are many tools like this on the
market but this this is one of the few that can be had for free.
- Creative Commons: