whoami

My name is Andy Freed. I've been working at PCC for 11 years. I am the interim Manager of Technology & Support in Distance Education and Instructional Support. I supervise a team of student services and student and faculty support professionals as well as manage the various technologies and platforms used by Distance Education. Previously, I have been an application administrator, technology specialist, the student help desk coordinator and I worked with Student Help Desk, WebCT/Blackboard for faculty. I am only 77% Geek.

The blog portion of this site has largely stagnated since Blogger shut down their publish via SFTP service. I should do something about that.

Mathy stuff

I'm far from being mathematical, but I'm keen to help improve the teaching of math online. To that end, I've been really pleased at some of the improvements to and implementation of MathML and tools like MathJax of late. For example, check out this rendering of MathML code (that I lifted from the MathJax examples page). Feel free to right click on it for options:

$f\left(a\right)={\oint }_{\gamma }\frac{f\left(z\right)}{z-a}dz$

Video Standard for the future

I work with streaming media with some frequency despite having avoided it for years. The reason I've avoided it is because of the complexity of managing the content; There are issues over size, bitrates, copyright, accessibility, compatibility, etc. Media is no walk in the park, and it is constantly used to poor ends.

I'm part of a "video strategy" group at PCC and we're trying to identify the best formats, codecs, processes, etc. for creation and management of media. It's a moving target, but lately there seems to be two choices as we try to consolidate to a single format. H.264 and Theora are interesting, but it looks like we're going to be focusing on H.264 because it plays nice for both browsers and mobile devices. It looks good, streams well, and can be embedded using flash-based players like JWPlayer without making the media itself useless to devices that can't do flash video.

I'm interested in Theora for ideological reasons, and about what video format will (or should) become the standard for HTML5. Lately I've found these two article interesting and I'm simply posting them here to try and remember them.

Video on the Web: Dive in to HTML5
and
Comparing Theora to H.264

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Wave invites

Anyone need a Google Wave invite? I'm still waiting for enough of my co-workers to get one to use it in a meaningful way.

Using Xinha Here editor in Blackboard CE8

I've thrown together a quick video (read: 1 take, no script, weak editing) showing how to use the Xinha Here add-on for Mozilla Firefox with Blackboard CE8. I loathe the Java HTML Creator that's bundled with CE8, and Mac users who want to use Firefox can't even use it, so this is one possible option. There are a number of faults with it (such as adding images), but it's a decent tool for quick edits. I'd say it's ideal for support and instructional designers who pop in and out of courses all day cleaning up documents.

Anyway, here's the video

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