CUNYcast

Project Plan Template

Team Members and roles

Martha Joy Rose – Outreach
Julia Pollock – Designer
James Mason – Developer
Liam Sweeney – Project Manager

Abstract

CUNYCast is a network of podcasts, available to all CUNY students through the CUNY Academic Commons. It is a Digital Humanities project that is free, open source, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and shared. It is more than a network, it is an initiative that gives students and faculty the tools and knowledge they need to share their work through audio. It can be used in classes, workshops, clubs, or as stand-alone projects to enrich not only the community at the Graduate Center, but the community across all CUNY schools. We hope CUNYCast will help students gain access to events and lectures that they may not be able to attend in person. It aims to maintain a calendar of events which will be populated by a current of content pushed (perhaps using an IFTTT or RSS feed) from sites that regularly update hosted events. Students and faculty can explore these events and, using CUNYCast, request that an event be recorded and shared to their Commons profile, or by other means. CUNYCast participants check these requests and, if attending such an event, have the opportunity to record and share the event with the requested party (and/or the public, depending on some bureaucracy). This will involve developing a mobile app that may do some combination of a few things:

Maintain a calendar of events
Allow a user to request a recording of an event
Allow a user to add an event to the calendar
Allow a user to log in to see what events have requests, or allow for push notifications to users attending the events (if they’ve accepted via email and we have permissions etc.)
Allow users to record and send without having to fuss with the voicememo app.
Allow for recordings to be archived and categorized for other users to access.

CUNYCast can enrich the long commute to the city, whether it is by train or car, or can be enjoyed from the comfort of home, when one is sick and unable to get to class. It is a low cost project capable of producing content and knowledge through community sourced groups. CUNYCast is community on demand. Class on demand. Workshops on demand. It is everything we love about digital technology, radio, and academia, all free and easily accessible, built within systems we’re already using.

Environmental Scan

Podcasting has been tied to academia for a while now. Videotaping classes is also not a new idea, nor is making a workshop available online, or having a podcast for a club. All of this has been done before. That said, the CUNY Academic Commons gives us a unique opportunity to distribute podcasts to a large student body. It is not about creating something new insofar as it’s about stretching what we already have to its widest capabilities.

CUNY already has a series of podcasts associated with its radio. The CUNY Radio Podcast does interviews with authors, archives interviews as well as speeches performed across CUNY schools, such as Kofi Annan’s keynote address at Baruch earlier this month. If the project were simply to create a podcast, then there wouldn’t be much of a project—it’s already been done!

A quick search on the Commons of podcasting brings up a few results already. Of these one of the most notable is a blog by Giula Guarnieri, a professor of language at Bronx Community College titled “Podcasting and Pedagogy.” Research that Guarnieri found indicates that in the classroom, “podcasting actually helped students manage their time more efficiently” and that podcasts created an “a sense of involvement with the subject, focus and motivation, a feeling of being part of the class.” (Guarnieri). The blog also mentions that Bronx Community College hosts podcasting workshops, hosted by Guarnieri. Though the post is two years old, the workshops are still running. These workshops are done in collaboration with another interesting pedagogy initiative, iTunes U. iTunes U is an academic planner similar to Blackboard. Unfortunately the CUNY site for the project has not been updated in over 6 years, despite its use of emergent technologies. That said, iTunes U is still supported by Apple, and more information can be found at the iTunes U website. (Apple, iPad in Education) While this is an interesting, innovative and relevant project, its OS limitation and the requirement of downloading additional software makes it slightly more cumbersome than a browser based interface. Also, as previously mentioned, RSS readers are diverse, working across any smart device and personal computer.

Blackboard has already implemented a way for teachers to record their lectures and publish them online, provided that their classrooms are equipped to handle it. However, even if properly equipped there are significant limitations, including proprietary restrictions on content, a hierarchical pedagogical structure and an counterintuitive user interface. (Social Paper: Retooling Student Consciousness)

Even some schools that do not use planners, whether they are undergraduate or below, have found a use for blogging, audio blogging, and the recording of inclass and out of class material. Several academic papers have been written on podcasting and pedagogy, one arguing that: “the use of a series of informal, talkback radio-style audio clips, delivered in a timely fashion through podcasting, can help alleviate some of the pre-class anxiety and allay student concerns about issues such as assessment.” (Chan) Several published articles on the subject date back 15 years (to around 2000), around the same time that Blackboard and other web-based planners were popularized. (Leibovich F05)

CUNY’s Videography Fellows are doing excellent work in this space, providing a high quality recording service to PhD programs at the graduate center, including film and production expertise, management of paperwork, scheduling, and basic dissemination of content (YouTube). However, given the limitations of the staff (three fellows) the group only has the bandwidth to provide four hours of recording per department, requiring two weeks notice to prepare. We hope to work with them to identify a complimentary service that allows for more casual recordings of events, relying on a peer to peer model.

What problem does this solve?

New York is a busy place, and the CUNY campuses are no exception. CUNYCast offers a place to preserve what was once ephemeral, whether it be a workshop, a lecture, or a club meeting. Simply put, we can’t always be where we want; CUNYCast seeks to fill the gap with audio/video preservation.

What lacuna does it fill?

If we simply wanted a place to find podcasts going on in CUNY, we could go to the main CUNY website and find several. CUNYCast plans to be more than just a hub that stores podcasts, it is both a repository and creation hub curated by the community.  Not only does it house workshops, it gives others the guides and tools to create their own.

What similar projects are there?

CUNY GC PODcAST: http://www1.cuny.edu/mu/podcasts/category/graduate-center/
EXISTING CUNY Podcasts:

·       Baruch Business Report
·       Board of Trustees Meetings & Public Hearings
·       Book Beat
·       Citizenship Now! with Allan Wernick
·       City Safe
·       City Talk with Doug Muzzio
·       Culinary TECHnique
·       CUNY Lecture Series
·       CUNY Sports
·       Inside Out
·       Issues in Journalism
·       Newsmakers
·       Sustainable Times
·       The Chancellor’s Report
·       The Veterans Corner
·       Uncategorized

What technologies will be used?
Wordpress, Corona SDK (Lua), possibly Worona.

Which of these are known?
Wordpress

Which need to be learned?
Corona SDK / Lua

What’s plan to learn them? what support needed? 

We plan to reach out to members of DH who have a history in mobile apps, to supplement the tutorials and guides we’ll be working on independently. Also, there are a lot of resources available on Github for IOS / Android integration. Though, it needs to be learned and understood before it can be used.

How will the project be managed? (GC Redmine available to our class?)

During our time meeting in each class we will share work from the previous week, assess our current point in the project and determine what can be accomplished over the course of the next week. We will enumerate the tasks and then divide them among the group members, categorizing by developer, designer, outreach and project manager when possible, but maintaining flexibility to exercise best judgment.

Content will be managed in Google Drive and communications over Google groups and gchat. As needed, we may move to a platform focused on project management, such as basecamp or redmine.

Milestones (including dates of deliverables)

February 24 – Draft Outreach plans
March 03 – synthesize environmental scan, dev research, and initial outreach into a revised Project Template with a committed direction
March 17th – Complete wireframes (or outline of tool)
April 21st – Test prototype
May 12th – Complete final group paper and finalize presentation plan
May 19th – Presentation

#CUNYcast

One thought on “CUNYcast

  1. Luke Waltzer

    All:

    A lot of fat in this project plan, and a lot of meandering around what the project is. Is it an app, or is it a resource integrated with the Commons? If it’s both: how, and why? The technologies described are for mobile applications. Does your group have WordPress plugin development experience? If not, the Commons integration would be a tremendous lift.

    Also, it’s not clear yet how the community facilitation component of the project will function. Are you collecting and curating? Are you attempting to develop a new community of podcasters? Both? I’d urge you, again, away from an approach that attempts to capture everything… podcasts, to be effective, need to be produced with a sense of audience, purpose, and awareness of the format.

    All this said: an app that makes it easier for people to record (or stream) and share audio is intriguing, and there’s a need at CUNY. Please take a look at ds106 radio (I can put you in touch with the guy, Grant Potter, who built and documented it), and also look at CUNY.IS/LIVE, built on the Commons by Michael Branson Smith of York College (I can put you in touch with him, too). These are streaming services, though ds106 radio has an archiving functionality… creating a user-friendly interface for services like that might be a good way to go.

    You guys need to soon hone in on what specifically this project is, what a legitimate scope for it can be, and the proper language to describe it.

    Luke

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