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Better studying through modern technology. - helen-louise
Better studying through modern technology.
I have spent a fair bit of time this week trying to listen to the recordings of lectures that I missed last week.

By a slightly complicated route, the government has given me stuff for being disabled, and this includes a digital voice recorder. The idea is that I take it to college to record my lectures, to help with studying: like for example, if I space out during the lecture and miss something important. And afterwards I can read over the notes I've made while listening to the recording, in an attempt to get the information into my brain better. It seems pretty helpful, and I only wish I'd had the recorder when I started the course instead of not getting it until February. (Apparently the Disabled Students' Allowance assessment and funding procedure is four months of stress followed by a few days excitement as the stuff arrives, followed by frantic struggling to try to get yourself back to the level of understanding you should have been in if you'd had all the support in place the first time round :/ )

When I realised I wasn't going to be able to physically get to college, I emailed my lovely personal tutor P and asked if he'd mind recording his lecture for me. And he was happy not only to help with that, but also to liaise with Howard who teaches on Wednesday nights. So I sent a furry wuzzie up to college with the recorder, and between the three of them, I have a virtually complete copy of everything I missed. However, the DVR picks up all sounds and seems to favour things like paper rustling, overhead projector whirring, and air conditioning over the human voice, even though I can't imagine anyone wanting to record any of those noises. Despite using both the low cut filter (which is supposed to remove low frequency machine noise) and the playback noise filter, there's still an awful lot of distracting extra sound. And because the playback noise filter cuts out some human voice frequencies along with the noise, the speaker sounds somewhat robotic and some words are inaudible.

So, if my lecture recordings are to be believed, at one point last Tuesday an elephant came into the room mid-lecture and trumpeted. While, bizarrely, I get to hear other students whispering to each other without really being able to hear what they're saying. It's a bit spooky, but still not as weird as when the air conditioning starts "singing" - which is like the stereotypical "ooo eee" ghost noise from cartoons. And I swear that in the middle of a lecture about the citric acid cycle, Calvin cycle and photosynthesis, P said "I don't want to dwell on individual steps except the first one, which kicks off the Heatran cycle." No... he can't ACTUALLY be teaching us biochemistry of a Pokemon, can he?

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Current Mood: confused confused / amused

10 comments or Leave a comment
_nicolai_ From: _nicolai_ Date: 4th March 2009 23:53 (UTC) (Link)
Your microphone may need a dougal.
baratron From: baratron Date: 5th March 2009 01:33 (UTC) (Link)
A... what? An excessively furry dog from the Magic Roundabout?
mjl From: mjl Date: 5th March 2009 01:59 (UTC) (Link)
Yes - well, actually an excessively furry microphone cover named after the dog. For example: http://alaninbelfast.blogspot.com/2008/12/furry-mic-windshields-can-fit-digital.html
quiet000001 From: quiet000001 Date: 5th March 2009 02:44 (UTC) (Link)
... that is a genius name for them.

(I do not think that is what they are called in the US - at least, not in my film program. Granted, in my group, we tended to refer to it as 'the dead rat on a stick'.)
barakta From: barakta Date: 5th March 2009 00:47 (UTC) (Link)
Heh yes. My hearing aid works much like a digital voice recorder so I definitely sympathise. Sounds that your brain will just filter out are very intrusive for me.

Glad your tutors were helpful, and yes, it's stupid that DSA takes so long, we have a loanpool, but there's NEVER enough recorders.
(Deleted comment)
From: x_mass Date: 5th March 2009 11:49 (UTC) (Link)
does your digital recorder have an external super-cardioid mic? I use a ones from sony, you can find them relatively cheaply on ebay. If your assessor didn't recommend one I saddened but not surprised based on the appalling quality of assessment i have had
baratron From: baratron Date: 5th March 2009 16:12 (UTC) (Link)
I have an external mic made by Sony, but I have no idea if it's super-cardioid or even what that means. It's a Sony ECM-CZ10 microphone. The recordings from it are better than what I was getting from the DVR's own microphone, but it doesn't eliminate the background noise - merely amplifies the lecturer enough that when you play the recordings back with noise reduction, they still sound human.

Like I said before, the assessment I had was really, really good. The assessor understood an awful lot about how depression and anxiety affect studying, more than I did, even. I'd definitely recommend Roehampton Access Centre. The woman who runs it is Mark's wife's best friend, by the way.
From: x_mass Date: 5th March 2009 17:27 (UTC) (Link)
mark's married - that new to me
yeah for mark
ok we'll take your advice and N will go see them unless mark still did assessments,

the mic being an ecm looks like a good choice - so getting a dougal seems like a good choice
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