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January 2010 Archives

Mac DiLL FAQs

Do you have a question about using the Mac DiLL? Skim below to see if you we've already answered it. If you don't see your question, please leave it in the comments section. We'll add it to this list right away!

If you'd like training on how to use the Mac DiLL, please make a reservation in one of the classrooms and indicate that you want training. Or, you can contact Alyssa Ruesch for help.

FAQ 1 - Recording student voices
Question: How do students record their voices on the Mac DiLL?

Answer:
In order for your students to record their voices, they must first be assigned a "New Task" (choose "without a lesson, recording-only" or "with a lesson from the catalog"). For more information on how to assign tasks, see pages 9 - 12 in the Mac DiLL Teacher's Guide.

FAQ 2 - Recording pairs or groups of students
Question: If I pair my students, will the Mac DiLL record both of their voices or just one?

Answer: When you pair students and give them a recording task, the Mac DiLL will record both of the student voices. It is usually better to ask both students in the pair to record - better safe than sorry! In test situations, some students get nervous and forget to hit the record button. If both students are asked to record the conversation, then there will always be a back-up.

FAQ 3 - Repeat after me!
Question: I want all of my students to repeat after me and record their voice. How do I do this?

Answer: You'll need to do a Synchronized Activity. Be sure to enable the external microphone so that your students can hear your voice. Then, hit the record button while your students respond. For information on how to set-up a Synchronized Activity, see the Mac DiLL Teacher's guide, page 13.
*Hint - If you are asking your students a series of questions, you may want to start and stop the record button for each question. This will create a new track for each answer and help to make grading a snap. Instead of fast forwarding to the responses, you can go directly to the specific question you want to grade.

FAQ 4 - Saving student recordings
Question: How do students save their recordings?

Answer:
This is the beauty of the Mac DiLL! Students don't have to do anything to save their recordings! When you assign a recording-activity, just be sure that the "Save student recordings" option is checked (it is by default). For more information, see the Mac DiLL Teachers' Guide, pages 9 - 12.

FAQ 5 - Accessing student recordings

Question: How do instructors access student recordings?

Answer:
It's easy as pie! Just go to the Language Center's Mac DiLL server and log-in with your x500 and password. Voila! All your students' recordings are available for your listening pleasure.

For more information on how to download the files as Mp3s, see FAQ 6, or our blog post on Sharing Mac DiLL audio recordings with students.

FAQ 6 - Downloading student audio files
Question: Is there a way to download the student audio files from the instructor log-in page? For instance, I'd like to have the mp3 files burned to a CD or put on an mp3 player so I don't have to be tethered to my computer while I grade.

Answer: Yes! You can download the student audio files as mp3 files by following these steps:

1. Login to the Language Center's Mac DiLL server at:
http://lcdill.cla.umn.edu
2. Locate the recordings you would like to save as mp3s.
3. Click on "Archive Task to ZIP File". This will create a ZIP file that includes all of your students' mp3 files, labeled by students name or x500. You will access this ZIP file via a web link.
a. Select a name for the files from the pulldown menu (shortname = x500)
b. Provide a description of the activity. This will be the name of the folder containing all of the mp3 files.
c. Provide an email address where the link to the ZIP file will be sent.
4. Click on the web link to download the ZIP file.
5. Unzip the file.

You now have a folder containing all of your students' mp3 files. You can save these files to your hard-drive, copy them to a CD or put them on an mp3 player. The choice is all yours!

FAQ 7 - Student access to audio files outside of class
Question: Can students listen to the audio files they created during class when they get home?

Answer:
The short answer to this question is no, students are not able to listen to their files directly from the Mac DiLL server. If students want to listen to in-class recordings outside of class, you will need to download the files (see FAQ 6, above) and send the mp3s to the student. For instructions on how to do this pretty easily in any of the Jones Classrooms, see our blog post Sharing Mac DiLL audio recordings with students.

FAQ 8 - Sharing files with other instructors

Question: I'm subbing for another instructor and need to get the audio files to him so that he can grade them. How can I share the audio files with the other instructor?

Answer:
First, whatever you do, DO NOT give the other instructor your x500 and password so they can access the files. Bad idea!! Instead, follow the steps outlined in FAQ 6 and insert the other instructor's email address in the email field. This will send the download link to the other instructor. The other instructor can not get into your account, but they can download the files from the link you sent them after Archiving the Tasks. Remember to keep student privacy policies in mind whenever you share files with another instructor.



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