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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Course Redesign Update: May 24... first audio links added!!!

One of the best things that has happened to public domain materials online is the LibriVox project to make audio recordings of those public domain materials available. In a great example of Internet cooperation, LibriVox and Internet Archive are working together to offer literally hundreds of public domain books in a public domain audio format! I am really excited to offer the audio format for my classes, and in every week except for one, students will have audio materials freely available.

I am also really pleased at how easy it is to include an audio link in my readings. Now that browsers can play an mp3 file without any special plug-ins or extra technology (remember how complicated that used to be 10 years ago?), I can just include a link to the LibriVox mp3 file (hosted at Internet Archive) which will then open in a new tab and start playing, which I hope will prompt my students to listen and look at the text at the same time. I personally find that to be a very satisfying way of reading... and it really will get the students to (I hope) slow down as they read and really notice details.

Just to get a sense of how that works, here is a unit where I have added LibriVox audio links to the story files: English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs.

So, for example, here is a story page: Binnorie.


If you listen and read at the same time, you will notice that the audio is done from a different edition of Jacobs's book, so every once in a while there is a change in the wording, thus allowing us to see that Jacobs tinkered a bit with the wording of each story as the book went through its multiple editions!

Anyway, I am really pleased about this and also very curious to see how many of my students like to use the audio for some or even all of the readings in a given week. At 15,000 words each week for the total reading, that is about 100 minutes of audio, as you can see from the stories in this unit. I have no desire of any kind to lecture to my students, but if I could get them to listen to 100 minutes of spoken audio every week, I would be very happy indeed!

Tom Tit Tot: 11 min.
The Rose-Tree: 7 min.
The Old Woman and Her Pig: 5 min.
Binnorie: 6 min.
Mouse and Mouser: 3 min.
Cap O' Rushes: 9 min.
The Story of the Three Little Pigs: 6 min.
The Master and His Pupil: 5 min.
Henny-Penny: 5 min.
Molly Whuppie: 9 min.
Mr Fox: 7 min.
Johnny-Cake: 6 min.
Mr Miacca: 4 min.
The Laidly Worm of Spindleston Heugh: 8 min.
The Ass, The Table and the Stick: 7 min.
Fairy Ointment: 5 min.

To see the whole book, here is an embedded playlist available from Internet Archive. So cool!

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