[athen] recording lectures via mp3 players for use on web

Schwarte, David M. schwarte at purdue.edu
Wed Feb 22 13:07:32 PST 2006

Purdue started offering podcasting as a service to instructors last
fall. Several of our lecture rooms have the ability to record from the
PA system. The system was actually put in in the 1970s and recorded
lectures on cassette tapes that could be checked out from the library.
Podcasting MP3s was just in improvement in distribution method from that
perspective. I mentioned the issue you have brought up to the folks in
charge of our "Boilercast" podcasting system last fall when I discovered
that it had been rolled out. The agreement we eventually came to was
that we would provide transcripts to any student who requested them from
the DSS office. We would just have to hire someone to transcribe the
materials if requested.

Last fall I also became the Purdue project manager for the Liberated
Learning Initiative. We are also utilizing the Boilercast network to
acquire the audio to do voice recognition. We are able to just have one
desktop computer with the ViaScribe voice recognition software. This
allowed us to shift responsibility for the microphones and recording
equipment to the group that takes care of the lecture rooms. We are
also using an experimental process for creating user voice profiles. We
create a transcript from an audio file, the files are synchronized, and
run through the system to create and improve the user profile. The
concept from the professor end is really nifty since he/she just has to
show up and give the lecture while wearing a microphone. We do all of
the tedious voice recognition, transcript correction, and user profile
creation later with no instructor involvement. We are still in the very
early stages of this project. I do not have data to show that voice
recognition would save much time/money over having someone hand
transcribe the audio files. We are still getting lots of transcription
errors that need to be corrected and we are still attempting to figure
out how to most efficiently correct the transcriptions and create the
user profiles. I hoe to have some firm numbers by this summer.

David Schwarte

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at lists.oregonstate.edu
[mailto:athen-bounces at lists.oregonstate.edu] On Behalf Of Nick
Ogrizovich III
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2006 10:35 AM
To: athen at lists.oregonstate.edu
Subject: [athen] recording lectures via mp3 players for use on web

There's a lot of interest from professors wishing to podcast, or
otherwise post mp3 versions of their lectures on the web in Vermont
all of a sudden. Good.

Being the Universal Design proponent I am, I want to encourage this.
Of course, this approach totally leaves the deaf/hard of hearing
students out of the loop. I am curious if anyone has ever tried
running a sound file through dragon, to see if it recognized
anything? What if the speech file was from someone who trained dragon

Some profs may even be willing to train dragon, and this would be an
interesting way to get transcripts right away. Otherwise, we would be
looking at using students to transcibe, or possibly send the files to
india. (.50 /minute +)

As for the technology side of it, it seems ipods in general are a
difficult way to do this. The newest ipods (5th gen) apparently do
not even have a line in, so many of the mics (griffin, belkin, etc)
no longer work. I looked up creative, and they have a few models that
still have a line in, but to use a mic with that, you would have to
use a powered mic. (Profs prefer a lapel mike.)

It seems the easiest way to do this would be to buy a really cheap
digital voice recorder, lapel mic, and then convert the wma or wav
files to mp3, and then post those. You would have the benefit of a
high quality sound to use for dragon attempts, too.

Anyone else ever come across this yet? I've heard from MIT the
concerns for the Deaf, but I'm hopeful that this will be remedied one
way or another. I'm curious what others have done. Or if there's a
portable mp3 player out there with a bonafide mic in that doesn't
need to be line level. (powered)


Nick Ogrizovich
University of Vermont

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