How can we improve our classes?

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All class announcements should be posted in the following format: (CLASS) YYYY-MM-DD Name of the class. Once the class is finished please alter the title to say (COMPLETED). If you are interested in running a class, contact our Teaching Department.
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Kivena

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Post 2014.02.12 18:31

How can we improve our classes?

Here at the Education Department we are always looking for new ways to get drunk improve our classes, and indeed in any ways we can pass on knowledge to new capsuleers.

So if you have any original, innovative, or even obvious brands of whisky ways we can improve our classes, use this thread to suggest them.

Before you start, here's two comments we get literally all the time:
  1. You should hold more classes! We know. We would like to. Not only are all of us are volunteers, we also play this game in our spare time for fun, just like you. None of us get paid for giving classes (how about it CCP?), we do it because we enjoy it. Personally I think it's amazing something like EVE University exists at all. If you want more classes, we need more teachers.
  2. You should hold more classes in my timezone! See #1.
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Liafail

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Post 2014.02.12 19:01

Re: How can we improve our classes?

I wouldn't mind seeing better recordings. Not just audio, but video or a slideshow to go with the class. There's been a lot of classes I wanted to take but was unable due to RL or TZ issues...so I try to find them in the uploaded classes section. Some are there, not all, but the ones that I do find are audio. Granted there is tons of information in them, it does get a little boring just sitting around listening, especially when the class involves watching the teacher do/show stuff (via twitch, etc).

I understand not everyone has access to video recording software, but it's a suggestion! :)

Lia
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SilverTabby Catus

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Post 2014.02.12 19:43

Re: How can we improve our classes?

Liafail wrote:I understand not everyone has access to video recording software, but it's a suggestion! :)

Lia


Actually everyone should have access to video recording software, if they need it and do a bit of digging. My go-to option for screen recording is Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), which has options for both live streaming and recording to a file on your computer.

For editing software, I recommend Lightworks. It's not truly free, but it has a free version as long as you're okay with ignoring the occasional "buy me" pop-up. Audacity and Virtual Dub are also good supporting programs for video editing.
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Turhan Bey

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Post 2014.02.13 20:39

Re: How can we improve our classes?

Video versions of classes have historically met with mixed responses. One permanent video recording of my previous classes, Overview and Bracket Customization, clocks in at exactly an hour and has had many views but over 2 years, an avg. of 268 views per month. While many express their appreciation for having this video recording, many others also state that having to watch an hour-long video is just ugh! and they would much rather have an audio recording that they could listen to while doing other things. And keep in mind that most of our classes are 90-120 min in length. I made this particular video recording available because this is one class that simply cannot be taught very well through only audio.

The drawbacks are almost all on the instructor's end. IIRC, the original source recording for the above class was a file almost 2GB in size, and that was with reasonably compressed H.264. So unless the instructor takes the time to re-encode, they face having to upload multiple gigabytes to YouTube or whatever their video host of choice. Also, going back and editing errors, removing long pauses, etc. is not so easy and straightforward in video as it is with a simple audio MP3, and will likely require a lengthy re-encoding step. So most will probably not bother, because most don't bother to do it right now with audio recordings.

But even before reaching this level, instructors don't currently even stream their classes except very rarely. Streaming would be noticeably easier, and it could be Step 1 of providing a permanent video recording. They could simply stream the class as they taught it and then Twitch.tv would make the stream available for 7 days afterward. The instructor would also have the option of making the recorded stream permanent, and voila, a video of the class.
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Turhan Bey

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Post 2014.02.13 20:42

Re: How can we improve our classes?

BTW, ref. slideshows, many classes do have one. They are also usually listed with the audio recordings.
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"The first mistake most gameplay zealots make is thinking that the game should revolve around them. The second is believing that it already does."
"Maybe it's just a game. Or perhaps it's a world. Perhaps it's a community. One thing is for certain: If it's only a game to you, then that is all it will ever be."
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Kivena

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Post 2014.02.13 23:01

Re: How can we improve our classes?

I have tried streaming classes, but my upstream speed is apparently really really bad, as it only seems to work with a 640x480 resolution (or something stupidly inadequate anyway). :(
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Annaka Hansen

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Post 2014.02.14 23:48

Re: How can we improve our classes?

I've streamed several times in classes, and plan to do so again. Generally for topics that require a visual point of reference. (EVEMon/EFT)
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Lelira Cirim (Biomassed 2016.05.28)

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Post 2014.02.15 01:33

Re: How can we improve our classes?

I, for one, have been awful at doing recordings. All of my future classes I will demand insist someone else do the honours. :D Where I painted myself into a corner, was deciding to splice together the best of 3 sessions of one class, and then building new slideshow materials following another. Both very time intensive. But they will all be ready by the time I repeat the classes. So everything improves with iteration.

What I would like to help do, is make it a great deal easier for the Class Library to be updated with new recordings, through some wiki-fu. The process is fraught with editing steps, and many classes only share their recordings in the forum thread (and the official policy seems to support either location to reflect this reality.)

I assume the Teaching Managers end up shouldering the burden to do mass updates pulling from the forum thread to the wiki. Being a wiki nut, I hope I can make it a little easier for everyone.

(And while I do FRAPS, my upstream makes live Twitch impossible.)
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SilverTabby Catus

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Post 2014.02.15 03:23

Re: How can we improve our classes?

Kivena wrote: If you want more classes, we need more teachers



I think we have our solution to improving classes. The question is, how do we achieve it?

I personally would love to teach, but real life time commitments are currently making it unfeasible.
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Jean de Trey

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Post 2014.02.15 13:00

Re: How can we improve our classes?

I am a complete newbie, so perhaps this is already being done, but after attending several E-Uni lectures by various different instructors, I have come up with the following idea.

Some of the more experienced teachers at the Uni are very strong; they do a great job of teaching their courses. Some of the less experienced teachers have not yet learned all the skills they need to perform at that level. Would it be possible to have the more experienced teachers listen-in on the classes being taught by the newer ones, either live or in recorded versions, and have them serve a mentoring role to these newer instructors? Obviously any student can provide feedback to any instructor, but an organized, official feedback loop that involves a more senior teacher may result in a more holistic critique of the new teacher, and some direction for how he can improve.
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Annaka Hansen

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Post 2014.02.15 23:34

Re: How can we improve our classes?

Jean de Trey wrote:I am a complete newbie, so perhaps this is already being done, but after attending several E-Uni lectures by various different instructors, I have come up with the following idea.

Some of the more experienced teachers at the Uni are very strong; they do a great job of teaching their courses. Some of the less experienced teachers have not yet learned all the skills they need to perform at that level. Would it be possible to have the more experienced teachers listen-in on the classes being taught by the newer ones, either live or in recorded versions, and have them serve a mentoring role to these newer instructors? Obviously any student can provide feedback to any instructor, but an organized, official feedback loop that involves a more senior teacher may result in a more holistic critique of the new teacher, and some direction for how he can improve.

This used to be the system. However since it was difficult enough to get one teacher online at a time to teach the class, it became difficult for the overhead and for management to keep track of and schedule someone to sit in.
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Neville Smit

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Post 2014.02.19 14:22

Re: How can we improve our classes?

Annaka Hansen wrote:
Jean de Trey wrote:I am a complete newbie, so perhaps this is already being done, but after attending several E-Uni lectures by various different instructors, I have come up with the following idea.

Some of the more experienced teachers at the Uni are very strong; they do a great job of teaching their courses. Some of the less experienced teachers have not yet learned all the skills they need to perform at that level. Would it be possible to have the more experienced teachers listen-in on the classes being taught by the newer ones, either live or in recorded versions, and have them serve a mentoring role to these newer instructors? Obviously any student can provide feedback to any instructor, but an organized, official feedback loop that involves a more senior teacher may result in a more holistic critique of the new teacher, and some direction for how he can improve.

This used to be the system. However since it was difficult enough to get one teacher online at a time to teach the class, it became difficult for the overhead and for management to keep track of and schedule someone to sit in.

Annaka is right - we used to be VERY rigorous about monitoring new teachers, even to the point of turning them away if they didn't deliver good quality. But that actually worked against our goal of helping people understand EVE Online, with fewer classes and events getting on the calendar. Instead, we do this kind of supervision and mentoring informally now, and it generally works pretty well, though the occasional horribad class gets through every once in a while. I drop in and monitor new teachers from time to time, just to make sure they are not making a mess of things. And the teaching staff has an online chat and a dedicated forum for sharing ideas and getting feedback. Regardless, if you ever have a terrible class experience, please let me or one of of the Teaching Managers (Kivena and Titus Tallang) know, and we'll intercede.
I am a proud E-UNI Graduate, former Professor and now Director Emeritus. You may qualify for a grant of up to 250 million ISK - click here for more information. I have a blog!: NevilleSmit.com Follow me on Twitter: @NevilleSmit Fly safe! o7

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Iasis Rain

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Post 2014.02.21 15:19

Re: How can we improve our classes?

Simple suggestion - make sure ALL classes get posted on the calender, always!

Missed e-war 101 and 102 today (viewtopic.php?f=72&t=77381), missed the start of others and I'm sure there's been plenty more I've missed in the past. Tis most annoying!
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Neville Smit

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Post 2014.02.21 16:04

Re: How can we improve our classes?

Iasis Rain wrote:Simple suggestion - make sure ALL classes get posted on the calender, always!

Missed e-war 101 and 102 today (viewtopic.php?f=72&t=77381), missed the start of others and I'm sure there's been plenty more I've missed in the past. Tis most annoying!

This annoys me to no end, too. It usually happens when a non-UNI guest lecturer posts a class advertisement in this forum, but doesn't tell anyone with UNI calendar access to cross-post it there, too. We'll remind our guest lecturers that this is required.
I am a proud E-UNI Graduate, former Professor and now Director Emeritus. You may qualify for a grant of up to 250 million ISK - click here for more information. I have a blog!: NevilleSmit.com Follow me on Twitter: @NevilleSmit Fly safe! o7

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Vukae Dhoul

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Post 2014.02.21 16:19

Re: How can we improve our classes?

I have a suggestion which I have been pondering for some time. Simply put: short classes. At the moment most classes appear to range between 90 minutes and 2 hours, and go into a topic in great depth. Don't get me wrong, this is awesome: they contain a huge amount of information. However, I wonder if there isn't also a place for classes of say, 20 minutes with a 10 minute Q&A.

These would be a much lighter time commitment for both students and instructors (and so might attract more of both). They would act as primers (and adverts) for longer, more detailed classes, or overviews for people wanting a basic appreciation of a topic.

One could imagine these might either be high level overviews of topics (e.g., "What is Sov Null?") which provide a flavour of a topic without any of the nitty-gritty detail, or more detailed classes on much more specific topics (for example, "Jump Clones", "T1 Caldari cruisers for PVP" or "Hybrid weapons systems").

I don't see these replacing the current offerings, but providing a supplement to them.
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