Tag Archive for '#altc2010'

iTitle: Full circle with Twitter subtitle playback in YouTube (ALT-C 2010 Keynotes)

ALT YouTube ChannelIn March 2009 Tony Hirst posted a solution for Twitter Powered Subtitles for Conference Audio/Videos on Youtube. A year and a half later, numerous evenings tweaking code, lots of support, advice and promotion from Tony, Brian Kelly and others, and we have come full circle. What began for me as a method to playback real-time tweets with the BBC iPlayer has returned to its origins, Twitter powered subtitles for a conference video on YouTube.

To date the examples of using the Twitter subtitling tool (iTitle), including Reliving ALT-C 2009 keynotes with preserved tweets, have focused on replaying externally hosted video content through this site using the JW Player. This method has allowed greater control over certain aspects like interface design and features like the timeline jump navigation. The disadvantage of this extra control is sustainability.

Whilst I’m very happy working for the RSC there will come the day when I move on, or this website might disappear altogether subsumed into another RSC system/service. If this were to happen there is no guarantee that iTitled videos would still be able to be replayed.

This issue has been at the back of my mind since the very beginning which is partly why from early on I made the iTitle code available for download (I should really update this version of the code). But there has been another solution which has been available since the very beginning but I’ve never had an example to demonstrate it. Just as Tony’s original post demonstrated how the SubRip (*.srt) subtitle file format could be uploaded as part of one of your YouTube videos, iTitle has had the ability to generate SubRip files almost since the very beginning.

So in August when I saw ALT had uploaded videos from ALT-C 2009 to their YouTube channel I thought it would be a great opportunity to amplify keynotes from this years ALT-C and highlight YouTube’s built-in subtitling tools. So after some idea dropping (via Twitter of course) and some follow up emails with Matt Lingard and other members of the ALT team you can now enjoy Donald Clark’s and Sugata Mitra’s keynotes with the ability to see what was said on Twitter in YouTube (links for these at the end of this post).

If you watch these videos via the YouTube site you might need to turn the subtitles on by clicking the ‘cc’ button in the playback toolbar. Annoyingly there doesn’t appear to be a setting for the video which forces captions to play every time, instead YouTube remembers your last choice, but captions can be forced on when a video is embedded. Here is the YouTube help for this feature.

A nice feature of YouTube’s implementation of subtitles/closed captions is their interactive transcript which has a navigable list of the subtitle track, highlighting the active caption. Hopefully YouTube will get around to providing some sort of filtering/search solution like the one used in iTitle’s timeline jump navigation.

Screenshot on YouTube showing subtitle navigation

If you would like to add a twitter track to you own YouTube videos, visit the iTitle tool and select to output in .srt format. This video then explains how to upload subtitle tracks to YouTube videos.

As well as hopefully enhancing the value of ALT’s of these resources to the viewer there is also an argument for doing this to make the videos more search engine friendly. For further explaination of this aspect you should read my guest post Making ripples in a big pond: Optimising FOTE10 videos with an iTitle Twitter track

PS For the ALT videos they wanted to filter out RTs. This was a long overdue feature for iTitle so it made sense to add it.

PPS I also didn’t know you could move the position of subtitles on YouTube videos by click and dragging them.

Click to see "Don't lecture me" - Donald Clark at ALT-C 2010 w/h Twitter track on YouTube“Don’t lecture me” - Donald Clark at ALT-C 2010 w/h Twitter track on YouTubeClick to view "The hole in the wall: self organising systems in education" - Sugata Mitra at ALT-C 2010 w/h Twitter Track on YouTube“The hole in the wall: self organising systems in education” - Sugata Mitra at ALT-C 2010 w/h Twitter Track on YouTube

How to Google Instant(ise) a Custom Search Engine (CSE) – Revisited

Previously I posted How to Google Instant(ise) a Custom Search Engine (CSE), which like a lot of my pet projects is perpetual beta (my general fallback to explain away bad coding or user interface). In particular it wasn’t until I took Chris Jobling’s Google Custom Search Engine for #PLENK2010 and ‘instantise’ it that a couple of issues became very apparent:

  1. Wouldn’t it be good to allow a traditional search on hitting the return key or clicking ‘search’.
  2. It would be great to make it easier to share the joy of Instant Custom Search Engines.
  3. Google Scribe was more of a hinder than help

So I’ve come up with Instant CSE v2. This version has been beatified slightly using the Google search styling and also pulls the traditional Google CSE ‘search element’ results in when the search form is submitted. You can also instantise your own custom search by extracting your CSE ID and adding it to the url e.g. http://www.rsc-ne-scotland.org.uk/mashe/search/?cx=012010416210434366262:-vttp31xsd0 (I haven’t fully tested this feature so feedback is very welcome).

If you are interested in making your own custom searches for courses or events I recommend reading Alan Levine’s OPML to CSE recipe (OPML is one way to output the source url for a collection of RSS feeds) or Tony Hirst’s  work on hashtag communities.

A couple of Instant CSE’s to play with:


This blog is authored by Martin Hawksey e-Learning Advisor (Higher Education) at the JISC RSC Scotland N&E.

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