This is an overview of previous initiatives that have been completed as part of the Duke Digital Initiative. For more information click the initiative title.
Duke iPod Initiative
As part of a university initiative to encourage creative uses of technology in education and campus life, Duke distributed 20GB Apple® iPod devices, each equipped with Belkin® Voice Recorders, to over 1600 entering first‐year students in August 2004. iPods and microphones are available to borrow from the Link. Although iPods are still distributed this is the only year all students were given an iPod. This is the program credited for starting the Duke Digital Initiative as a program at Duke.
Exploration of tablet PCs in classroom
New in 2005 were experiments with tablet PCs in Engineering and Computer Science and student use of hand-held devices for data collection as part of their research in Psychology and Biological Anthropology and Anatomy. Faculty found tablet PCs to be a beneficial tool for teaching.
DDI supported expanded exploration of technologies and support structures to facilitate student video production projects in courses. Duke loaned cameras and editing equipment to students or faculty for course projects involving digital video production, and offered consulting and training in support of course activities. While initially only available by request, recording devices are now available in general circulation at the Link.
This new form factor of video recording distribution was added to DDI in 2008 as a grant program to faculty and students for academic use. The Flip cameras were a huge success and three models of the Flip were transitioned to general circulation through the Link service desk. As of July 2011, over half of all loans of video equipment were Flip video recorders. Flip cameras are no longer being manufactured, but will remain available at the Link for the near future.
Faculty from three different disciplines participated in the iPod Touch exploratory program. Additional iPod Touches were also purchased for loaning to students and faculty.
Ten courses used VoiceThread’s video annotation tools in Fall 2008. A majority of Duke VoiceThread users (75%) made at least one comment on a video. Although the Humanities found the tool to be quite useful there wasn’t broad enough adoption to warrant a Duke site-wide license at the conclusion of the program so the program was ended at the end of the AY 2010.
Wimba Voice Tools were piloted to allow instructors to integrate live audio recording and playback functionality into almost all areas of their Blackboard courses, including announcements, quizzes or surveys, or content areas. In Fall 2008, at least 49 course sections of 19 different courses made use of Wimba for web-based audio recording and playback. In 2009 funding for Wimba Voice Tools in Blackboard was included in the CIT operational budget along with other Blackboard-related expenses, and funding continues to be provided for Wimba in Sakai through the present.
Initially when offered as a specific grant program (requiring an application) these new cameras generated little interest from faculty or students. Similarly, high definition video loaner kits attracted very little interest. However, since their introduction into the general loaner pool (and since HD video has become more commonplace, HD video are generally requested first over standard definition.
One of the first multimedia platforms for self publication, DDI explored how this tool might be used not only in academics but use the tool for its own website. The easy to use interface was widely praised however when Ning introduced a pay-per-use model DDI transitioned its own website to WordPress.
WordPress MU was identified as a good candidate for broad Duke support after a highly successful pilot during 2009-2010. As of Fall 2010, Duke WordPress has moved from pilot to production, and a major version upgrade was also completed in December 2010. Approximately 250 sites were created in Fall 2010 to support courses and course-related activities, an 80% increase over Spring 2010 use.
The goal of the microprojector program was to evaluate the leading models on the market and determine whether any of these offer functionality or benefits for teaching that standard portable projectors do not. This exploratory program with microprojectors successfully tested and compared five models of this new technology, although faculty interest in experimenting with these devices was low.
Waterproof HD video cameras
DDI funded a small program to investigate the usefulness of a new mountable waterpoof rugged HD camera for teaching and learning. The program solicited ideas from faculty and targeted faculty in specific departments to test this camera (NSOE, Evolutionary Anthropology, Biology, and Engineering).