Gene Koo: the nuts & bolts of using MediaNotes to teach skills

by Paul Maharg on 19/06/2008

Good session in which Gene Koo of CALI & Berkman Centre, Harvard Law School took us through the detail of using MediaNote. Annotation software is linked to a tagging facility, so that tags can be linked to events that are noted on the timeline.

This is useful not just for interviewing but for any form of performative skills assessment. It’s also useful for learning from webcasts. For example one of the interactions that our students noted was missing from our webcast environment was the facility to annotate the webcast presenter’s stream in the webcast. Very useful, particularly if the framework of user comment can be integrated with or converged with resources online.

The ability to create your own tags is very powerful. In the generic example that Gene showed, the tags consisted of coloured markers for ‘transition to detailed fact gathering’, ‘focus frame’, ‘question frame’, etc. There is a filtering function, so that one can search for specific instances of tags and the total number. Not as a cloud or a bar chart, but one can obtain a listing. Very useful tool for self-analysis, and for an assessor who is checking on his or her understanding of an assessment. There doesn’t seem to be a merge tool that will merge the tag-feedback for a student across a number of interviews. Nevertheless, it’s an impressive tool for analysis.

Gene’s general questions at the start raised for me an interesting point about the variegated range of the 40-odd people in the room — he asked us to identify ourselves, our interests, etc. Very few faculty, mostly IT people, with some AV and Library stuff. And yet all interested in this use of software. I think it’s indicative of the range of issues involved in a relatively basic pedagogical / technical problem, albeit one that’s been around for some time; and how important it is that a trading zone forms around the problem of student performance analysis.

For UK law schools the way to obtain MediaNotes is to join CALI — $250 according to information on the CALI site, plus each student needs to buy it ($20 but this is under consideration, I believe).

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