Friday, 27 September 2013

"Flipping the Classroom" - Our new Video Tutorials at Bucks

Sal Khan - the man who flipped the classroom. Photo: Wikipedia
Here at Bucks we believe in the power of online training - and in the idea of "flipping the classroom", a philosophy of teaching pioneered by Sal Khan's Khan Academy. The idea is that, instead of taking notes during class and doing the homework later, you watch the lectures in advance, online, and then use precious classroom time for workshops and feedback. Best of all, each student gets to learn at their own pace, so no-one gets bored or, worse, falls behind and can't keep up.

Over the coming semester we'll be rolling out this new technique, giving our students access to hundreds of online videos, teaching you everything from how to make a ball bounce to full character and creature performances.  The idea is that you watch the lecture before coming in to class, and the classroom time itself becomes a workshop, rather than an information download. Better for everyone, and more fun as well.

So, to get started, and to find the videos, start by logging in to your Blackboard account. Find DA405 - the animation basics course, and scroll down to the Video Resources tab - and click on that link. You will now be taken to a series of weblinks to copy and paste in your browser window. Make sure you use Explorer - for some reason the videos don't play well in Firefox or Chrome.
The videos play best with Internet Explorer
Once you have pasted the links, you will be asked for a password. You can find the password at the announcements tab at Blackboard. Enter the password, and you should be able to access the videos.

Watch them in this order:
  1. Theory Videos
  2. Technical Videos
  3. Tutorial Videos
It will take you around 2 hours to watch the videos, and at least 4 hours to do the exercise, so make sure you budget plenty of time before class. Don't leave it until Monday morning!
Two screens. Video tutorial on the left, Maya on the right
The ideal way to learn is to use two screens at once, and do the exercise as you go along. On the left hand screen you watch the videos, on the right hand screen - you do the exercises. Follow the videos carefully step by step, click by click - and you won't go wrong. One of our students watches the tutorial videos on his iPad, then does the work at his desktop computer. A perfect combination (see below).

iPad below, desktop display above
Once you're done, drop your Maya file onto a USB stick, or you can even email it to yourself and pick it up when you next log in back at Bucks. Make a Quick Time of your animation, upload it to your YouTube account, and then embed it at the Facebook page, for in-class review.

Welcome to the future of education!


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