Teachers Can Jazz Up Their Classes with Qmedia and Other Online Tools

When students in Bill Ferster’s course at the University of Virginia last year explored what the next generation of instructional technology tools using video might look like, they ended up conceiving of Qmedia.

“We like to think of it as video, outside of the box,” said Ferster, an assistant research professor in the Curry School of Education. Qmedia enables the professor or student – whoever is “the author” – to combine a video with a wide array of Web-based resources to produce an interactive experience for the students.

The Sciences, Humanities & Arts Technology Initiative, better known as SHANTI, then further developed the students’ idea.

Qmedia is one of the new digital tools that will be featured at the Teaching with Technology Fair on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Robertson Media Center on the third floor of Clemons Library

Ferster’s course, “The Design of Online Learning Technology,” is offered in the Department of Media Studies and the Curry School. His students, about six graduate students and three undergraduates, looked at what had already been developed and how it might be improved.

A video has a linear shape – it goes from the beginning to the end, Ferster said, and most instructors will show it and ask questions afterward. The class came up with ways to make parts of a video more easily accessible and the experience more interactive.

“There’s a tremendous use of video in instruction nowadays,” said Ferster, who also claims the title “Director of Visualization” for SHANTI. “Visualization” refers to how data online tells the story, he said.

With Qmedia, the author can set up a table of contents, include a transcript that is searchable, add maps and diagrams, post a smaller window that asks questions and more. HTML5-based, open-source and freely available for educational uses, Qmedia supports all the available video platforms, such as YouTube and Kaltera.

Qmedia does three things, according to Ferster: It enables the author of the presentation to contextualize a video with Web-based resources, it supports the educational narrative of a video and it makes the video more accessible with interactive tools. Qmedia also allows for assessments to gauge student learning.

At Thursday’s fair, SHANTI will demonstrate Qmedia and its other tools in an afternoon session at 2:30. Other projects to be presented include digital storytelling, electronic portfolios and the U.Va. network of instructional technology services. Keynote speakers, Lindsey Hepler, program director at OpenGrounds, and John Alexander, associate director of SHANTI, will give a talk at lunchtime on “technology and mindfulness,” followed by faculty presentations. In addition, demonstrations of devices including Google Glass, Oculus Rift, 3D scanning and motion capture, iPads and other gadgets in the classroom and big data visualization will all be part of the fair, which will conclude with a reception.

The Teaching With Technology Fair is a cross-University effort of SHANTI, the University Library, the Teaching Resource Center, Information Technology Services, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies and the Arts & Sciences Center for Instructional Technology.

Media Contact

Anne E. Bromley

University News Associate Office of University Communications