Until recently, the possibility of getting high quality video for a class project or instructor lecture was just that. . . a (remote) possibility. High-end video equipment is cumbersome, expensive and has a steep learning curve. Unless you had a brother-in-law in the video production business, you usually had to settle for less than optimal quality with poor lighting and garbled audio.
Enter “One Button Studio,” a concept that made its debut at Penn State University and is now up and running in the UF Learning Commons. The “DIY” studio allows even the technologically challenged to create quality presentations, demonstration videos and class lectures easily and independently.
“You come into the studio, put your thumb drive into the computer and push one button,” said Ryan Straube, academic technology specialist. Everything’s automated, the lights, microphone and camera settings. The system compresses and loads your video in MP4 format onto the thumb drive. That’s it.”
The UF IT staff first became aware of One Button Studio when articles began circulating on technology email lists. At the same time, Straube was working on a class assignment that involved writing a grant. He evaluated the cost from the list of equipment that would be supplied by Penn State and inventoried items that ITS had on hand in order to reduce costs. After ITS managers and director Ray McCandless heard Straube’s comments about the growing interest in lecture capture and his cost estimate, they decided to devote resources to creating a studio in the Learning Commons.
“Matt Kraut came on board around that time as a trainer and technical support specialist,” added Straube. “His background in classroom technology was really helpful in planning for other improvements and ordering the studio technology. “
According to a December 17, 2014 article in “Campus Technology” the primary student uses of the One Button Studio at Penn State have been practicing classroom presentations, e-portfolio introductions and studio components of larger video assignments. Faculty members use it to create introductions to online courses and to record lectures when they’re “flipping” their classes.
Ask any faculty member in the UF College of Education and they’ll tell you that “flipping” is a popular instructional strategy where teachers make lectures and presentations available for viewing at home and assist students with “homework” during scheduled class time. With One Button Studio, UF instructors who have wanted to use this strategy can now put it into practice.
Straube said there is a group of UF faculty who are “beta testing” the Studio this summer, including Andrea Mata, psychology; Paul Sears, Scott Freehafer and Joe Martelli, business; Brad Hammer, career placement; Patrick Malone, Deb Berlekamp and Sharon Ternullo, pharmacy and Helen Schneider, computer science. Dan Pritt, a Winebrenner student, is also participating. Straube expects a lot of demand once classes start in August.
In addition to the recent acquisition of One Button Studio, the Learning Commons has other instructional technology available, including interactive white boards, small conference rooms with wall-mounted monitors and a computer lab with applications like InDesign and Photoshop. Training sessions on everything from iPhones to screen-capture programs are offered regularly throughout the year.
“Online instruction is definitely where it’s going,” said Kraut, who formerly worked in the K-12 environment. “We get new ideas from attending conferences and reading blogs.”
Straube agrees, although he admits it would be difficult to deliver some of UF’s programs online. “What do you do about equestrian studies?” he laughed. “ I think we still need robust programs that actually bring people to campus.”
For more information on One Button Studio or other educational technology, contact Ryan Straube, firstname.lastname@example.org