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Karen K. Dennis

I am both an instructor and a doctoral student at Illinois State University.  I teach in the School of Kinesiology and Recreation, in the area of exercise science.  This semester I am teaching my first online class!!  This is where I plan to  really use the knowledge and skills I have gained through the Webcast Academy.  It was during my doctoral coursework that I really gained an interest and, one might even say passion, for educational technology.  My ed tech mentor at Illinois State is Dr. Cheri Toledo.  She has truly impacted my world.  Anyway, after having taken these various ed tech classes, I realized how much potential online classes and ed tech has to offer.  I plan to incorporate webcasts into my future online classes. 
Webcast Report (Interncast #1): 

This interncast is an interview with Laura Vedeen, an exercise physiology graduate student at Illinois State University.  Laura is an Ironman triathlete and avid outdoor runner.  While I am a runner also, I find it hard to run outside in these cold central Illinois winters.  Thus, I find myself "stuck" on a treadmill indoors.  Laura provides helpful information on cold weather running gear that will be sure to keep you warm so you can keep running outside, even when it's really cold!


I have to admit, I was SO stressed about this!  While I knew that the "whole world" wouldn't be listening, I also knew that it was possible for anyone anywhere in the world to listen in.  Pressure!  After the problems I had had with my USB mic with the recording of my two-way telephony call, I was very nervous that something would go wrong with this interncast.  The pressure got to be almost more then I could bear after I clicked on the "Start" button on the Simplecast box.  Nothing happened.  I went back and clicked on the "+" icon, entered in the server info again, clicked on start, and nothing.  This was all the very minute before I was to go on.  My heart was palpating so hard!  Somehow, I remembered that I needed to click on the dropbox found on the Encoder pop-up, click on start there, then click on the Simplecast start icon.  Anyway, my attempt to have things up and running a couple minutes early went ary, but it all did get started right at the time it was set for.  After that, everything went very smoothly.  Laura was a wonderful person to interview.  I was so excited that Pam joined in.  I also had another graduate student in our department listening in.  So, all total, there were 4 people listening live (including me!).  So, for my first run at it, that was perfect.  A couple of friends there with me, providing me with the support I needed.

Webcast Report (Interncast #2): 

 I have actually done about three Interncast 2's.  My first scheduled interncast 2 found the server down, so I was unable to stream.  My second attempt at this found me talking with and chatting to myself....I had rescheduled this hurredly after the first one was unsuccessful, and apparently students just had not had the time to get it on their schedules.  So, while I did stream...I was all by my lonesome!  My third attempt at Interncast 2, however, was successful!  I had a fair number of students in the chat room and even had a couple students skype in.  I also had Laura, my lab assistant, in the skype conference call. 

The topic of this interncast was a nutrition and cardiovascular disease assignment question and answer.  The audience was students from both my online and face-to-face sections of KNR 113 Personal Fitness. 

Things went very well with the interncast.  I am still learning how to manage so much multi-tasking.  Keeping conversation going while reading chat room talk AND adding to chat room conversation is a real challenge for me.  I found that it is good for me to have a "co-host" like I had with Laura, as it does give me a chance to re-group when she is talking.

One of the things I need to work on next is editing in Audacity.  My first Skype caller's voice was very loud and I need to learn more about the various tools found under the "Effects" tab in Audacity. 

Finally, one thing I am still very confused about is when I uploaded my mp3 file to the academy, it said it would not be able to be used with flash players because it was not set at the correct Khz.  It said mine was set at 24 and it required either a 22 or 44.  In audacity, I had it set at 44100 hz, so I cannot figure out what went wrong in the transfer.  In fact, 24 is not even one of the selections in Audacity. 

So, what I want to practice with my next interncast is editing a completed file.  I anticipate my next interncast to be in a couple weeks as the class will be preparing to take their final exam.  I have had several students remark to me how wonderful this webcast was for them to have the opportunity to ask questions and to hear everyone else's questions.  I believe webcasting has great possibilities with asynchronous online classes, such as what I am teaching.  I am certainly anticipating Interncast 3!

Webcast Report (Interncast #3): 

My third interncast went very well, although I was a bit nervous beforehand, hoping that everything would get started without any problems.  The laptop I had been using for webcasting decided to "crash" about a week and a half before this interncast.  Fortunately, our tech person was able to get it back up and running, however, I had to reload Skype.  While I did a quick 'test run" prior to the actual interncast, I was still nervous that everything would go off without any problems.  Does the nervousness prior to webcasting ever go away??!!  I have found that I spend at minimum 3-4 hours before stream time prepping and stressing about the live show I will be hosting, while in actuality, it only takes a few minutes to get everything truly set up!  I guess it is the apprehension or fear of realizing that your voice, your "show," will be "live' for the world to listen in on, and you don't want to mess it up!  Anyway, this interncast did go off without a hitch.  I had several students participating, a couple even Skyping in. 

Something that I have found very interesting is that out of 50 possible students in my face to face class, I only had 2 students who were familiar with Skype.  I found this to be very surprising, given these students are "digital natives."  I am not sure how many students in my online class are familiar with skype, however, out of about 50 students, only two have skyped me. 

All in all, everything went well.  I was very happy to have my graduate assistant Laura "co-hosting" with me.  I have found that really helps me out, as it gives me a chance to type and process things while she is talking.  I still have to practice multi-tasking with typing, reading, and talking!  Now, I am looking forward to my gradcast!

webcaster_portfolio | by Dr. Radut