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Bob Rotheram :: Blog :: 4 weeks in

February 22, 2008

http://web.mac.com/simonft/Sounds_Good/Blog/Entries/2008/2

We’re now four weeks into Sounds Good, time for another bit of reporting and reflecting. What’s been happening? A number of things:The MP3 recorders arrived. They’re fine, but we didn’t get the headphones we’d asked for. The supplier had run out, so I’ve had to order a different type, at extra cost. It’s no big deal, I suppose – at least the team can start experimenting with the main piece of kit – but I wanted everyone to be fully equipped quickly. It’s the perfectionist streak in me!

I’ve been distributing the recorders to the 12 team members I think will need them most. This has been rather complicated, with all of us being highly mobile and me being reluctant to commit quite expensive items to the University’s internal mail. We’re nearly there now, though. Another few days and all 12 should be with their ‘owners’.

My manager, Prof Sally Brown, unexpectedly offered to buy another tranche of MP3 recorders. Sally appreciates that digital audio could have many worthwhile applications in education, and is keen for people to experiment. Thanks a lot, Sally! Most of the extra recorders will be going to colleagues not on Sounds Good, to try out in various ways, but a few will be reserved for recent additions to the project team.

The project has its own domain name now. Find our website by putting www.soundsgood.org.uk into your browser.

Talking of the website, it’s not proving easy to get the project team to provide short autobiographies and photos we can publish. They’re a modest lot, but I’ll keep twisting their arms.

It’s been a priority to devise questionnaires for students and staff, about their experiences of receiving and giving audio feedback. I’ve now done this and distributed the questionnaires for the first round of feedback. I’ve drafted the questionnaires for the second round, but won’t be issuing them till we have some idea of how the first round has gone and whether any tweaking is needed.

There’s been a response from JISC about the draft project plan I submitted. What’s the gist? To ask me to fill in another form. Thanks, Lawrie, you’re a true friend! (Grin)

I’ve been invited to speak about Sounds Good to JISC’s Learning and Teaching Practice Experts meeting on 26 March. It’s a good opportunity to spread the (spoken) word, so I’ve said ‘yes’. Someone’s interested! I’m planning an exercise which will give them an experience of receiving audio feedback, rather than me doing a routine presentation.

My session proposal for the ‘ICED’ conference in Salt Lake City in June has been accepted. It’s about Sounds Good, of course, so that’ll be another opportunity to share what we’re doing and get some discussion going.

So where are we, four weeks in? About where we should be. The team is (almost) fully settled, (almost) fully equipped, clear (I think) on what it’s doing. Everyone has their own timetable of when they’ll be giving audio feedback and asking students about it. We’ve ‘cleared the tower’ as they say at Cape Canaveral. For me at ‘Mission Control’, maybe my project activity will now subside for a while. However, I need to monitor activities and be available to help (or get help) if it’s needed. One thing I must remember is to encourage the team to use more than one method of recording audio. My hunch is that, left to themselves, most would just settle into using the hand-held recorder.

And I’m pleased the opportunities to speak about Sounds Good are starting to come.

(Posted by Bob Rotheram, Project Manager, Sounds Good)


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