Flip Alternatives: 5 Great Pocket Video Cameras

Ok, maybe the Flip is no more but there are other products out there more than capable to take it’s place as this link proves

Flip Alternatives: 5 Great Pocket Video Cameras

Flip Video RIP

It is with great sadness that we have received news that the Flip video camera will be no more…deceased…an ex-video camera. Whilst it is a blow for us Flip users, the reasons for the decision make some sense, and indeed our own observation of the students during the D-TRACES project support the announcement, i.e. students were happily using their mobile phones to capture video. A pity in many ways since the Flip was so simple; yes it had drawbacks in terms of camera functions but one-button click, easy video transfer & editing and YouTube integration meant for ease of use – something mobile phone manufacturers will have to match, and I’m not convinced they’re there yet.

Here is the email I received this week with full details of the implications:

Dear David,

Cisco recently announced that it will be exiting the Flip business and support customers and partners with a transition plan.  Cisco will continue its focus and commitment to deliver best in class solutions that extend the network as a platform, from businesses into the home through its Linksys products and consumer TelePresence solutions with ūmi.  

Cisco wants to thank you for being a loyal and enthusiastic Flip Video user. Many of you have inquired about what is going to happen to Flip in the future, if FlipShare software will still work and if will we support you in the use of your Flip. We have many of these answers for you and will continue to provide updates on our website at www.theflip.com.

Flip Support:
First, we want everyone to know that if you own a Flip or are considering buying one, we will continue to support you within the terms of our warranty which is 1 year from purchase date (United Kingdom).   For customers that have issues that are not covered by our warranty or that are outside their warranty period, Cisco will continue to provide support for a nominal fee until 12/31/2013. E-Support will also continue to be complimentary and available until 12/31/2013.  Details and updates about our support and service as well as our warranty policy can be found on our website.

Using FlipShare:
FlipShare software will continue to be fully functional and will be supported until 12/31/2013.  After that time Cisco will no longer support the application though it may remain functional as a software for offloading videos, editing, organizing and archiving. Video sharing will no longer be supported past 12/31/2013. Continue to check back here on updates on FlipShare.  

Flip availability:
Flip will continue to be available through our online and in-store retailers while supplies last. If you are looking at buying a video camera – it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the easiest to use video camera in the world! We will continue to honor our support and warranty commitments and FlipShare software as mentioned above.  

The Flip Team:
The teams have been reading your comments from emails and our social media community pages and are touched by the overwhelming number of thoughts and messages.  We hope you will continue to have fun with your Flip video camera, and we appreciate your loyalty and business.

The Flip Video team

D-TRACES final report

DTRACES final report April11

Online learning needs a strategy, says new report

This news release came through from JISC-ANNOUNCE and seems pertinent to this project – might be helpful with report writing.

Universities and colleges need to make online learning a central part of their strategies if they are to stay competitive globally, says a new report.

The report argues that those UK higher education (HE) institutions that are prepared to make online learning a central focus will be able to develop responsive, engaging and interactive education that is both high quality and cost-effective.

They will also need to take advantage of rapidly developing technology and rich sources of content, and invest in high quality learning, if they are to remain globally competitive against the challenge from international and private providers.

The report is published by the online learning taskforce, which includes JISC’s chair Professor Tim O’Shea, and showcases 14 innovative approaches to online course delivery in the UK.

Dr Malcolm Read, JISC’s executive secretary, said: “Online learning is an increasingly important element of teaching particularly to support learners at a distance in both space and time. We look forward to working with the Higher Education Academy and others to support higher and further education exploit the opportunities to improve the learner experience offered by online learning.”

The report makes six recommendations to institutions and the wider HE sector. They include use of online learning to enhance student choice and meet learners’ expectations; realignment of training and development to support academics to play a leading role in online provision; and the development and sharing of open educational resources to enhance efficiency and quality.

The chair of the task force, British Library chief executive Dame Lynne Brindley, said: “The HE sector has been talking about the potential of online learning for well over 10 years. The moment has come to move online learning more centre stage. Only by doing this will UK higher education remain and grow as a major international force. Our report offers pointers towards achieving this goal.”

Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive of Higher Education Funding Council for England, said: “At a time of increasing expectations from students, universities should be using learning technology appropriately and delivering online programmes that are high quality and flexible. Prospective students from the UK and overseas require clear and easily accessible information about online learning.”

Download the full report, Seizing the opportunity of online learning for UK higher education at

Learn more about JISC’s work in open educational resources http://www.jisc.ac.uk/oer

Digital Dance Archives (DDA) Survey Report

This survey report complements the Rapid Analysis Report with details of all the survey responses.

DDA Survey Report

The conclusions to be drawn are that we all like and want to use digital resources in our work but sometimes they are not the most relevant or easy to use. Moreover, it is inconclusive as to what enhanced features will be of most benefit other than most are seen as useful or essential. However, the two reports have valuable qualitative and quantitative data that gives a useful overview of how people are using these resources, especially Siobhan Davies RePlay, even though the detail of exactly what people are doing may be sketchy.

Project update

Since the last blog update the project has moved into a phase of tutorial support with students now developing solo and site specific work as part of their core module studies. The process of developing their dance module pieces is expected therefore to be documented and reflected upon regularly through their online PDP blogs.

The first tutorial session (29/11/10) following the skills sessions showed that the group were at a similar stage of progress and understanding, all had blogs (created during the second technical skills session) and had demonstrated at least some published media documentation. An observation at this point was that the students seemed to feel the emphasis on their blog creation was very much in adding multi-media content (images, video, sketches) and as a result had neglected to add a representative proportion of written reflection alongside the media evidence. This resulted perhaps due to the emphasis the project placed on bringing the media skill levels of the group to a common level at an early stage before focussing on the process of pdp development and critical reflection itself. It is probably also indicative of the groups lack of experience in engaging with their own creativity in a reflective and critical manner and stepping away from the relative security of purely descriptive text as first year students. Feedback from this session to all students was to increase the volume and regularity of reflective writing on the blog in relation to the media content, to try to add reflective comments every time a piece of media content is added, and to explain the development progress that has occurred between blog posts.

The wednesday afternoon open studio sessions appear to have been a useful aide to the students with most now having booked time slots and used the equipment, space and staff resource to develop their work. Students have been encouraged to connect to each others blogs (via invite) in order to view their peers work, give constructive feedback via commenting and provide initial support for one another before approaching teaching staff. In practice the 30min individual studio allocations are insufficient for students to gain much practical development progress (although more useful for tutor contact time), as a result, group bookings (3 students) of 1.5hrs have been more commonly adopted and have eased the use of limited shared equipment and the documenting of solo pieces. The equipment itself has performed well, the Flip cameras have a 2hr recording limit but generally run out of power within 1-2hrs so rechargeable AA batteries have been required as a backup. Organizing the efficient uploading of content is also an ongoing process with many students still choosing to upload images directly to their blog space rather than to an image hosting site like Flikr as advised. There are also some issues regarding the immediate uploading of video content to Youtube after studio sessions due to the length of time required to upload the duration of footage produced. Both of these issues are resolvable, in the first instance students have again been advised to store images on separate hosting sites as their allocated blog space will eventually run out as more image files are added. Regarding video documentation we have advised students to go back to the Jerwood Bank blogs and Siobhan Davies RePlay to observe how professional dancers in this instance have used video as a part of their documentation and development process by capturing very small key fragments of movement. If the students begin to use the video in this way rather than conceiving of the video document as a fixed, final and privileged artifact that demonstrates the totality of their work rather than the fragments of its construction then they will simultaneously find that demonstrating their development and reflect upon it will be a potentially easier task, and they will avoid the technical issues associated with the uploading of longer HD video files.

Project Board Meeting

The agenda for the Project Board Meeting will be posted early next week.

Library Session, 11/11/10

Sarah Whatley and David Bennett led a session with the students to acquaint them with Siobhan Davies RePlay; a series of search tasks were developed so that students could become familiar with the range of content available and some of the functionality of the site, especially the scrapbook function.

The session took place in a group study room in the university library, equipped with 12 PCs – the group was split in half, 15 students per group, so some students had to pair-up, and each session was 90 mins.

A worksheet was created with some general remarks about what an archive is and how one should engage with it, together with a search task. Six tasks were distributed among the group, one task each, with a seventh task given to all students to be completed in their own time. Students were asked to bring personal ear-phones so the audio from the archive would not spill across the group.

The worksheets have been aggregated here D-TRACES Library session

Observing the students during the sessions and from the discussion after the tasks completed it was interesting to see how engaged they were with watching video content, one student noting ‘…not enough time to watch video all the way through’. The general comments included: the tasks were easy and straightforward; content was interesting (‘…flyers from so long ago’, interview(s) about Davies’ process); there was surprise ‘…at the range of stuff to keep’, e.g. sound scores, costume; and students found it useful as a model for documenting.

Hopefully, as the project progresses and the students engage further with their own process we will be able to evaluate the student experience with the archive more, and maybe find out what makes them ‘click or stick’. This will be useful feedback to inform the DDA project.

Student evaluation & assignment

The students will be given their assignment details this week as a set of minimum requirements to enable the assessment of their engagement with the pdp blog process. The group will also each be given an evaluation sheet to provide individual feedback on the usefulness of the sessions delivered so far.

This week will also be the first time that the group are able to book allocated studio time and begin (if they haven’t already) to document their process using the digital tools provided by the project. Tutorial sessions will start next week and provide an opportunity for us to evaluate where the students are in engaging with the blog process and also give them the opportunity to ask questions of both Andrea (reflective process) and myself (technical).

Tech skills session 2

Last weeks skills session covered the basic steps in setting up a blog and posting different types of content. During previous weeks, students were encouraged to go online and search for blogs that interested them and that demonstrated aspects, either visual or thematic that they could imagine employing in their own blog. At the outset of the project the research team felt that a barrier to the uptake of online collaboration tools is often due to the lack of choice and individual ownership perceived by mandating the use of internal, institutional platforms. There was also a strong desire for the blogs and process formed during the projects short lifespan to have a life beyond the assessed period and it was therefore decided that students would be free to choose any platform on which to create their pdp blogs. WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr were all given as examples of free blogging platforms that the students may want to use, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each were highlighted. Ultimately the majority of the group decided to use Blogger (this was recommended both anecdotally by Sarah Warsop during the first session and later as a good all round platform) as it offered enough customization and control over all of the critical blog settings whilst being less technically complex than WordPress and more fully featured than Tumblr. A smaller number decided to use Tumblr mainly due to the design options and visual quality of the sites it can produce and were content to accept some of the additional tasks such as adding a disqus account to enable commenting on Tumblr blogs (not included as a standard feature).

Key areas covered in the session included:

  • Step by step creation of blog accounts during the session
  • Privacy settings – open/private (if private how to invite selected readers to the blog)
  • Comments & moderation (applying settings to enable author control over commenting)
  • Design (choosing themes/layout/gadgets)
  • Posting content (text/embedding video & image content)