Friday, September 17, 2010

More about QR Codes

After yesterday’s mention of 2D or QR (Quick Response) Codes the logical question is how do I generate a QR Code? The answer is as easy as going to, entering your message and clicking the Qurify button. You’ll then have the option to download the code as a PNG or JPEG image, emailing the code to a friend or printing a hardcopy of one or more QR codes. The downloaded QR Code can be included in a document or web site or printed. There are numerous other sites that enable you to also generate QR Codes, just Google “create QR Code” and you’ll see a long list.

The code to the left is a message to all JCCC QR code readers. Below and to the left you’ll find a QR code that includes a URL with more information on QR Codes.

Why would you want to create QR Codes? QR Codes are readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera with a QR reader and SmartPhones. QR readers include apps like beetagg, i-nigma, Kaywa, and ZXing (most are free). The QR codes could be used to:

  1. Deliver text messages to students at specific points in their readings or course work,
  2. Identify and open web sites with supplemental readings,
  3. Include contact information (phone number),
  4. Send a prescribed SMS text message to a SMS service (such a subscribing to a SMS news update), or
  5. Share GEO (geographic) coordinates.

This is one case where innovation could be free! For more details, check out

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Use of Motion Picture and Video Clips in Education

I'm not a lawyer, only offering a summary of my understanding of the following:

This summer saw a change in the interpretation of a portion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The change specifically affects instructors using a small portion of video in the classroom and how they may acquire those video clips. If this issue interests you, please read on.

Background: Over the summer, there was a lot of excitement over a “change” in the copyright law specifically regarding the use of video in instruction. The event was not so much a change in the law as a change in interpretation…from someone who has the authority to reinterpret. The Librarian of Congress has the authority to designate “classes of works that will be subject to exemptions from the [copyright] statute’s prohibition against circumvention of technology that effectively controls access to a copyrighted work.”

The Librarian may “determine whether the prohibition on circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works is causing or is likely to cause adverse effects on the ability of users of any particular classes of copyrighted works to make noninfringing uses of those works” (italics added throughout for emphasis).

In July 2010 the Librarian “designated six classes of works” that “Persons who circumvent access controls [e.g., copyright protection] in order to engage in noninfringing uses of works…will not be subject to the statutory prohibition against circumvention.”

The very first class of work listed was “Motion pictures on DVDs that are lawfully made and acquired and that are protected by the Content Scrambling System when circumvention is accomplished solely in order to accomplish the incorporation of short portions of motion pictures into new works for the purpose of criticism or comment, and where the person engaging in circumvention believes and has reasonable grounds for believing that circumvention is necessary to fulfill the purpose of the use in the following instances:

(i) Educational uses by college and university professors and by college and university film and media studies students;
(ii) Documentary filmmaking;
(iii) Noncommercial videos”

In a closing comment, the Librarian stated that “All of these classes of works find their origins in classes that [were] designated [earlier], but some of the classes have changed due to differences in the facts and arguments presented in the current proceeding. For example, in the previous proceeding [the Librarian] designated a class that enable film and media studies professors to engage in the noninfringing activity of making compilations of film clips for classroom instruction. In the current proceeding, the record supported an expansion of that class to enable the incorporation of short portions of motion pictures into documentary films and noncommercial videos for the purpose of criticism or comment, when the person engaging in circumvention reasonably believes that it is necessary to fulfill that purpose. I agree with the Register [of Copyrights] that the record demonstrates that it is sometimes necessary to circumvent access controls on DVDs in order to make these kinds of fair uses of short portions of motion pictures.” (italics and underline added for emphasis)

What does this mean? Faculty at not-for-profit educational institutions may use small portions of video for instructional purposes even if they must use DVD rippers (see to break the encryption. The ruling does not address what constitutes “fair use,” it only allows circumvention of copy protection to obtain clips, when the use is legal. So combining this ruling with provisions of the fair use provision, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the T.E.A.C.H. act would suggest these guidelines for faculty and technical support staff:
  1. The video/DVD must be legally obtained (not an illegal or bootleg copy).
  2. The video must not be available and marketed specifically for on-campus or online classroom use.
  3. The video clips used must be for educational purposes only; that is, used to meet specific course objectives.
  4. The video clips, if delivered via digital (electronic) technology, must only be accessible to and restricted to currently enrolled students through password protection (such as provided by a learning management system) or similar technological methods.
  5. When DVDs or other media formats are protected by anticopying technology (such as CSS, a content scrambling system frequently used for DVDs), that protection may be circumvented if the resulting use of “short portions of motion pictures” is for lawful educational purposes. The instructor will not be in violation of the anticircumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA, 1998) based on the recent rulemaking by the Librarian of Congress.
  6. The rulemaking exemption also permits instructors to use ripped content in non-classroom settings that are protected under “fair use” such as presentations at academic conferences.
  7. In summary: copying and performing film clips in the classroom is not an infringement of copyright and appropriate methods may be employed to circumvent the copy protection, if the use complies with the fair use provisions of the copyright act.
  8. Phrased another way: “The question, essentially, was: did the breaking of encryption on a DVD for a fair use of the content violate copyright law? The answer is now ‘no.’ And that answer is a very good thing for higher education. With the uncertainty lifted, film studies professors -- or any instructors or students who wish to use encrypted digital materials -- may now do so without fear of litigation, so long as fair use covers the content.” (see Milano, Inside Higher Education, below)
  9. Finally, these new exclusions to copyright are in effect for 3 years and then the Librarian of Congress must review and renew or change the ruling.

Final note: Nothing in this rulemaking establishes that instructors or institutions may freely convert an entire VHS (analog) tape or video to a digital format either for archival purposes or for classroom use. However, it’s clear that small portions of legally obtained analog video may be digitized for classroom use.

Sources for this article include:

JCCC Anatomy & Biology Project Featured by Producers of Articulate

Tracy Newman, Sr. Ed Tech Analyst, developed a Human Anatomy project using a software tool called Articulate for use by students and faculty through an online Science Resource Learning Community. The new learning tool is currently featured on the company’s E-Learning blog ( and includes a snapshot of the online application.

The article states, “Tracy helps faculty and staff with their computing & instructional technology needs. Earlier this year, she used Articulate software for the first time to rapidly create a series of study tools for the college’s anatomy class. Now several other instructors want to leverage the same approach for their own courses.”

Industry Gears Up to Compete with iPad

The iPad has become the hot, new technology since its release. Many educators and institutions have established pilot acquisition programs to see how the iPad might support instruction. The marketplace seldom stands still, especially in the face of a popular new technology, so now other manufacturers are joining the “Tablet Wars.”

Among those companies getting ready to release their own product is Samsung. The Galaxy Tab is described at Some of the basic features designed to set it apart from the iPad include: based on the Android 2.2 operating system, “users can continuously communicate via e-mail, voice and video call, SMS/MMS or social network with the optimized user interface,” it touts the ability to video conference, give access to the Android Marketplace of apps, supports the Adobe Flash player 10.1 and features a slim 7” TFT-LCD screen. No word on pricing, availability and whether or not it will be sold without a telecommunications (phone) contract.

Another option that is currently available is the slightly smaller (5” screen) Dell Streak (see It also runs the Google Android OS, can communicate with Google Mail or Outlook, runs Android apps and is designed for mobile web access, business applications and video conferencing. Dell lists the Streak for $549.99 but it may be available for as low as $299 with a two-year AT&T contract activation.

2D Codes or QR Codes

Have you run across the two dimensional (2D) codes also called QR (quick response) Codes? A QR Code is a matrix barcode that is readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, or a smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded by the QR Code can include text, a web URL or other data.

An example of the educational use of QR Codes can be viewed by examining Ubimark’s publication of Around the World in 80 Days with QR Codes (see Ubimark has republished the Jules Verne classic but this time with QR Codes (two per page) that enable the reader to access supplemental materials or participate in online SMS chats. The site demonstrates an interesting use of QR Code that might enhance learner engagement.

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