Keeping that Window Maximized…

Several years ago, one of my colleagues talked about a “Generation Y” conference that he had attended.

He explained to me that “Generation Y” students are “multi-taskers”. Apparently, this cohort juggles many open “windows” everyday, and their instructor’s “window” may not be very large or may not even be in focus!

In an effort to reach my students, I like to occasionally change my delivery techniques. My assignment instructions usually provide a “sample ran” section to demonstrate how their program will interact with the user. Usually these “sample runs” consist of straight input / output from the shell (“command prompt”). I decided this time to have students create a program (shell script) to appear more graphical to the end-user. This was done by requiring students use the “zenity” command in their shell script.

When I create assignments, I always create the answer first, and then use it to help create the question. Since I traditionally had text-based assignment displays, I was struggling with a method to demonstrate how this graphical program would interact with the user.

I decided (while in Linux) to download and use an application called recordmydesktop. When you run this command, it records your activity on the desktop. It continues to record the user’s session on the computer until a SIGINT signal is detected (i.e. user presses “ctrl-c” to end the “recordmydesktop” program), at which point it creates an OGG theora/vorbis video file. After that file was created, I simply uploaded the file(s) to my Youtube account for my students to view.

I will be releasing the assignment instructions (with these YouTube links) to my students on the weekend.
Below are the actual links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giVtFEOoNLc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Viw-NGIJMwo

So I am using YouTube to maximize my “Teaching Window” for “Generation Y”. On the other hand, an essential skill for an IT student is the ability to pay attention to new information or “stay in the loop”. What an old-fashioned concept!

So I’m thinking out-loud right now… I don’t think I should inform my students about this blog post.. Let’s see if they learn a valuable lesson >;)

Murray

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~ by Murray Saul on January 27, 2010.

One Response to “Keeping that Window Maximized…”

  1. Wow, that’s pretty cool!

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