Process: going from the lecture room to the web

I thought it might be useful to jot down some notes on my process this semester for going from the lecture room to the web with my course material. Since starting to teach at SMU, I’ve tried each semester to (1) make available lecture media for students and even the general public, with preference to having it available for my students and (2) making that process as simple as possible to minimize my time.

That said, I am quite proficient on multiple software platforms, including Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. That makes some things a lot easier for me. I tend to use Linux and Mac OS, so that’s where my process starts.

I currently record lecture audio using my iPad. I find that the microphone is just great in that for picking up omnidirectional sound. It seems to capture student questions sufficiently well in a room of about 60 students, and it certainly picks up audio from the lecturer or lecturers in the room. I don’t have to lug an external mic around with me any more.

I get the audio into my personal cloud so that I have a backup of it, and can then download it to another machine for editing the audio, adding video, etc. I currently use the ownCloud application to do this. I run a server at home, with about 3TB of storage available through my own private ownCloud server. The iPad application can send files from the iPad to the ownCloud instance, so after lecture I tell the recording application (AudioMemos) to send the .wav file to my ownCloud server. An 1.5 hours of lecture is about 500MB, so this takes some time to upload. During this phase, I get other work done, or get a coffee and a sandwich.

At home, I then download the audio from my ownCloud server. I edit the audio using Audacity, if I only want to make an audio lecture podcast.

If I want to make a video lecture podcast, I use Kdenlive. I pull the audio into the Kdenlive project editor. To place slides in the video stream, I dump my PDF to a bunch of graphics files, e.g.

convert -density 150 lecture.pdf lecture-%03d.png

and then pull the images files into the Kdenlive project and drop them so that they sync up with the audio stream.

Sometimes, I shoot video in class. If there is a demonstration, it’s nice to have video of it. I’ve found the easiest thing to do, if you have a Mac, is to just use QuickTime to record a movie and then upload the movie to ownCloud via a web browser. If using Linux, the program Cheese works just find for capturing video.

Syncing the video with the audio is the hardest part. I usually zoom way in on the video and audio streams in Kdenlive and drag the video until the sound tracks from the podcast and the video line up (I can hear the same words spoken at the same time in the two audio tracks, with less than a 1/10th of a second delay). Then I delete the video’s audio track and lock the video and audio together so that they can be edited as a single entity. This can be the most time consuming, but I usually find it never takes more than 1 hour to edit a lecture (audio, video, slides) into a ready-to-export video project.

I then render a single video file from Kdenlive. I like to export in Ogg Video format (OGV). I can then upload this to YouTube or another service and share the link with students.

Here are my resources for the above workflow. Your mileage may vary.

  • AudioMemos: an iPad app for recording audio. Simple. Lets you pause the recording and resume later, as needed.
  • Audacity: an open-source audio editor for all platforms.
  • ownCloud: run your own secure cloud
  • Kdenlive: a KDE-based video editor. Linux and FreeBSD (Mac OS) only.
  • Recording video in lecture: QuickTime Player on Mac OS, or Cheese on Linux.
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James and the Little Neutral One – Going Up Alleys, Episode 7

Professor James Loach (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) talks to SMU undergrad Nicole Hartman and me about the elusive neutrino.

Professor James Loach (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) talks to SMU undergrad Nicole Hartman and me about the elusive neutrino.

On this episode of “Going Up Alleys,” we hear from Professor James Loach (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) about the elusive subatomic particle known as the “neutrino,” Italian for “little neutral one.” I am joined this time by SMU undergraduate Nicole Hartman, a 2012 SMU President’s Scholar and my co-interviewer for this podcast.

This episode is centered on some audio I once recorded for the “Mustang Physics Podcast,” but which never saw the light of day in that podcast.

 

 

Going Up Alleys – Episode 7 – James and the Little Neutral One

James Loach is Professor of Physics at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. His doctoral and post-doctoral work have focused on the properties of the neutrino. He was part of the team at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) in Canada that resolved the “solar neutrino problem” – the observation that too few electron-type neutrinos come from the sun – by definitively concluding that neutrinos can change form (e.g. electron neutrinos can morph into muon neutrinos, a physical process called “oscillation”). This observation is part of the modern basis of all future neutrino studies, including the ongoing quest to measure the tiny, tiny mass of the neutrino.

SMU undergraduate Nicole Hartman

SMU undergraduate Nicole Hartman

Nicole Hartman is an SMU President’s Scholar hailing from Lewisville, TX. She joined us as an undergraduate at SMU in 2012 and among her many other academic and non-academic activities has been active in leadership in the SMU Society of Physics Students (SPS). Nicole and I had the pleasure of interviewing James when he came to SMU in the fall of 2012 to work with our dark matter colleagues and give a seminar on his neutrino work. Please enjoy!

 

 

Show Notes

  • 0:00: Opening Theme and Title
  • 0:51: Introduction – the story of the neutrino
  • 7:19: Interview with James Loach
  • 22:26: Closing Remarks – the future of the neutrino and the value of basic science
  • 24:58: Closing Theme and Credits
  • Music for the podcast is licensed under Creative Commons and is by the artist, Nicoco. The song used in the podcast is “Occipital,” from the album “Classicoco,” and is available from Jamendo.
  • This podcast was produced at Hampton House. Linux and Ubuntu were used in the making of this podcast, as was a Macbook, a set of BLUE Microphones, Audacity, and an reasonably insignificantly small amount of “too much free time.”
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Maps, Climate Change, and the Great Lakes (Eps. 6, Going Up Alleys Podcast)

On this episode of “Going Up Alleys,” we are treated to a discussion of interdisciplinary work on maps, climate change, and the Great Lakes, centered on a seminar by Professor Robert Markley. Dr. Markley is a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and with his colleagues combined computing and the humanities to understand the irregularities of different cartographers over time as they mapped the Great Lakes.

Dr. Markley was hosted by SMU Professor of English Rajani Sudan, and is introduced by her just before his presentation.

This episode is centered on some audio I once recorded for the “Mustang Physics Podcast,” but which never saw the light of day in that podcast.

Listen to Episode 6: Maps, Climate Change, and the Great Lakes

Professor Robert Markley is the W. D. and Sara E. Trowbridge Professor of English, Writing Studies, and Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the Fall of 2011, he spoke at SMU about his interdisciplinary work on the study of maps from cartographers in the 1700-1800s, specifically maps of the Great Lakes. The cartographers – British and French – appear to map wildly different views of the lakes. Are these due to imprecision in their abilities, or are they faithfully mapping the lakes but mistaking ice and wetland for an evolving solid coastline? Can the maps tell us, in a fine-grained way, about climate and its effects on land before the era of instrumentation, and complement “climate proxies,” which are less-fine-grained? Dr. Markley explores these and other questions through digitized maps and computer algorithms, and a lively discussion ensues. Enjoy!

Show Notes

  • 0:00: Opening Theme and Title
  • 0:50: Introduction (to the introduction)
  • 4:05: Dr. Sudan introduces Dr. Markley
  • 6:00: Dr. Markley’s Seminar and some Discussion
  • 55:35: Closing Remarks
  • 59:22: Closing Theme and Credits
  • Music for the podcast is licensed under Creative Commons and is by the artist, Nicoco. The song used in the podcast is “Occipital,” from the album “Classicoco,” and is available from Jamendo.
  • This podcast was produced at Hampton House. Linux and Ubuntu were used in the making of this podcast, as was a Macbook, a set of BLUE Microphones, Audacity, and an reasonably insignificantly small amount of “too much free time.”
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