Education Portal Academy

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shaffer's picture
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Joined: 2009-05-28
Points: 2019

You might be interested in looking at a site called Education Portal Academy. They are sort of like Khan Academy, and their materials are free. They are aimed at people who want to self-study for college course credit. Their approach is short (10 minute) videos, that are somewhat more polished than the typical KA videos (narration with computer-generated slides instead of hand-drawn on the whiteboard). I only looked at a couple in one course on Biology, but they seemed pretty good.

There is not much self assessment, just a few static multiple choice questions.

These videos are somewhat closer to what I have in mind for OpenDSA tutorials than KA is. In the EP modules, there is a video box at the top, and a "transcript" of the video below (it is pretty much verbatim what is said in the video, though both the text and the video content seem natural for their medium). However, the "transcript" loses all of the visuals that come with the video.

What I am planning to try when we get to the point of experimenting with videos is much shorter segments (say 15-60 seconds) that are tied to boxes or buttons in the tutorial. So a tutorial is a series of video clips. I don’t know yet how to handle text alternative — whether to have completely alternate versions, or buttons that open/close the text in some way. The goal is to make it easy for someone to read the text OR watch the video. Studies done by Mayer make it clear that we do NOT want a user to see both at the same time in redundant audio/text presentation. In this sense the EP folks get it right. I just think that they need to break the videos into smaller chunks (which works better for algorithm presentation anyway). At least, that is what Mayer argues for.

By the way, let me put in another plug for my "readings" page. I put this together originally for my grad eTexstbook class this past spring. I am still actively maintaining the page. It includes what I consider to be core readings and pointers to relevant websites for people who want to know about eTextbooks. Feel free to send suggestions for things to add.