MIT Open Courseware Videos Don't Play

Discussion in 'iPad 2 Forum' started by jchunter, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. jchunter
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    jchunter iPF Novice

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    There must be a workaround here.
    I was able to get to ocw.mit.edu via safari but the course videos don't play.
    Tried it via OPlayerHD and it displays the dreaded "no flash" error. (Thanks Steve. :( )
    Can't find the courses in iTunes...
    This site has over 2000 college courses on line. What is the secret?
  2. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Edit, missed your iTunes U reference on first read, so this is probably not going to help. Sorry.

    iTunes U, has many MIT courses available. Try searching for your course in iTunes. Maybe you'll get lucky and find it there.

    A quick perusal of the MIT site mentions iTunes U, so the odds aren't that bad.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  3. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Another thought, you can always try contacting the department for the course you want, and see if they named it something different for iTunes U, or have plans to put it up, or an alternate site to download the video from that does not use Flash.
  4. jchunter
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    jchunter iPF Novice

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    I also tried Carnegie Mellon's Open Courseware oli.web.cmu.edu, which unfortunately also requires Adobe Flash Player. No go.
    So it seems that the iPad is just one silly license away from being the world's finest college student computer.

    Apple seems to have its butt in a crack on this one. :)
  5. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    Obviously MIT and Carnegie Mellon are simply behind the curve. What can one expect from such technologically challenged institutions? :rolleyes:
  6. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Verily.

    If you visit iTunes U on the computer, select MIT from the Featured Providers, then select MIT OpenCourseWare from the Collections at the bottom right they only have 125 courses out of over the 2000 available in that catagory. Pitifull.

    Edit: removed last comment due to poor reading comprehention on my part.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  7. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    I did a little playing arround on the MIT site. It took me a while to find a course with video content, and when I did both of thm played in Safari. They were YouTube links. Luck of the draw I guess.

    Anyway, to the point. I noticed that below the video there was a tab for downloading the video. However there are alternatives that should be able to download the videos easily. Formost is OPlayer. I recommend it because it will store and play the videos, as well as let you browse the site to download them.

    Goodreader can also download files from the internnet and offers traditional file mangment (within the app only), but is more limited in what formats it will play.

    If you need a more capble browser with good download capbilities iCab Moblie does a nice job.

    In the case of both Goodreader and iCab Mobile, those files that can not be viewed in the app can be copied to another more capable video app using Open In... .

    I hope that was slightly more helpfull than my previous posts.
  8. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    You've redeemed yourself admirably. :)
  9. jchunter
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    jchunter iPF Novice

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    Yes, 6% is pitiful. Also, iTunes on my iPad does not display the word "Collections" on the lower right. ??

    I did find several courses that do play but they do not use Adobe Flash. They are vanilla video with no interactive graphics.
    Their most technologically advanced teaching features include motor powered blackboards and colored chalk. :p
  10. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    ITunes on the computer. I didn't even look using the iPad. Sorry.

    I noticed that only a small portion of the courses I looked at had video or audio, so the percentage of courses that were worth putting on iTunes U may be much higher. The two courses I did look at had options to download from iTunes U, as well as the archive.

    That might not be cutting edge, but I'd keep those arround just for the cool factor. Add a joystick and it would be like a giant Etch A Sketch. :D
  11. OCWJoe
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    OCWJoe iPF Noob

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    Hi Guys - I am the Production Manager at OCW, maybe I can help. Can you tell me more about the error you are receiving and a url of the page that you're getting it? We just upgraded to the latest version of JW that should fully support iOS. I've tested the vids on iPhone and iPad 1 and all are working well.

    T
  12. Heaviside
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    An interesting thread! It seems to me that most of the colleges and universities offer a very limited selection of courses via iTunes---and many of them are only course fragments.

    On the issue of technology, I have a definite opinion after over forty years of "professing". It is the preparation and delivery that are important, not the mode of delivery. As an example of a well-done lecture, try any of Walter Lewin's lectures on physics (on iTunes). I don't know the guy, but I can certainly recognize a good, well-constructed lecture. On the other hand, try a random sample of others and use the experience to evaluate my following assertions.

    There is virtually no emphasis nowadays on planning and delivering good lectures. Today's student expects lots of technical effects to hold his or her attention, and academic administrators would like to do away with live teachers because they are a high expense item. So they want to mass market their product, reaching as many paying students as possible. They expect their faculty to raise funding and spread the fame of their institution as widely as possible. That prof who prepares lectures instead of writing grant proposals does neither.

    All that said, it's too bad there isn't more attention (and funding) expended to modernize that old delivery technology---for all those technical effects aren't inherently bad. They are just used too often only for the gee whiz! effect.

    Sorry for the rant, now back on topic---?
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  13. jchunter
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    jchunter iPF Novice

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    Thans for joining in, Joe.
    To duplicate my first problem, go to ocw.mit.edu with Safari on your iPad 2, Under Find Courses, select Engineering
    Then select Electrical Engineering,
    Then select Circuits and Electronics,
    Then select Video Lectures,
    Then select Lecture 1: "Go to this video". Push Play button.
    (Home>Courses>Electrical Engineering and Computer Science>Circuits and Electronics>Video Lectures )
    I get a blank video screen with a slash thru it.

    Edit: Now, had I been prescient, knowing the exact title of the course in advance, I could have searched iTunes (on the iPad), and would have found the same lecture in a form that was playable.

    Edit2: For an example of a course that explicitly requires Adobe Flash Player, try to play the videos in Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, also under EE and Computer Science. Once again, after finding out the exact course title, I was able to find a suitably modified course version in iTunes / ipad2 that played in the iPod app.

    Bottom line, considering all the time and effort wasted in trying to check out and modify every single one of the 2000 MIT courses individually (in each and every university) vs. simply licensing Adobe Flash Player once for the iPad, the answer is obvious. The university presidents should pass a collection plate around among themselves to buy an Adobe Flash License for Apple! :D
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  14. OCWJoe
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    OCWJoe iPF Noob

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    I just got my hands on an iPad 2 and all videos work fine... not sure what to suggest next. Maybe a local setting on your iPad?
  15. jchunter
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    jchunter iPF Novice

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    Are you using Safari to access the videos or are you downloading the modified versions through iTunes?
  16. jchunter
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    jchunter iPF Novice

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    IMHO, Your comments are well taken and on topic. Right behind videos not playing at all should be a discussion on how effectively online courses present the subject matter when they do play.


    IMHO, MIT deserves a lot of credit for putting most of their courses online "as-is" because, though imperfect, they do allow students to escape the surly bonds of space and time. They don’t have to travel to a classroom and they can study the material at any time of day or night. Even fragmentary class material could be valuable to a motivated student who is prepping for a course ahead of actual enrollment.


    To your point, selecting the best and most organized presenters to video tape is a no-brainer. Also, there are simple techniques that would improve the video presentations, such as close micing the presenters because open classrooms make a lot of noise and echoes reduce word recognition. Higher video resolution would also help.


    Interactive graphics would allow far better presentation of abstract phenomena such as electromagnetic field dynamics. Carnegie Mellon (CMU) has several new courses that use these techniques but of course, they use Adobe Flash Player, which means that I have to use my "Grandpa Box" (desktop computer) instead of the iPad to evaluate them.


    Most of all, I feel that learning equations and doing classical homework problems has always been woefully inadequate to teach the application of theory to solving real problems. Interactive Tutor programs that provide immediate feedback on the student’s approach to problem solving would be far better. Classical textbook homework problems have never been effective because human paper graders are usually so slow that the class has already moved on by the time the student discovers his mistakes.


    A few years ago I tried CMU’s Andes Physics Tutor, an early experiment that does very little teaching and a LOT of problem solving. Andes allows the student to declare a coordinate system and the variables (scalar and vector) that he needs to solve the problem. The student is then free to write the equations needed to solve it. If Andes doesn’t like his equations or his choice of variables, it will tell him immediately. OTOH, if likes them, it will do the computational grunt work required to solve them and give the student an instant grade on his efforts. All in all, if I had had such a Tutor when I first studied Physics, I would have understood it far, far better.
  17. OCWJoe
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    OCWJoe iPF Noob

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    Me again - I am using Safari and viewing the videos on the OCW site and they work properly.

    Thanks,
    Joe
  18. jchunter
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    jchunter iPF Novice

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    Joe,
    That is very curious. For example, "Intro to Computer Science and Programming" flashes a large error window as soon as I hit the Video Lectures button, saying that it requires Adobe Flash and Java Script. When I press the play (arrow) I get a big slash across the play button. If your iPad 2 actually has Adobe Flash installed, I would be flabergasted! Is it possibly Jail Broken?

    Edit: Well, I am just an iPad novice but my friend Google found this...
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  19. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Perhaps you two should compare URLs, just to make sure you are going to exactly the same site.
  20. OCWJoe
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    Nope, no FLASH installed. The JW Player that is used on the OCW site has a YouTube failover. When FLASH is not detected, the player fils over to the default YouTube player. It should work fine for you. We have many many users and this is the first that I have heard of the problem , so I am thinking it must be a local issue with your iPad. Is you OS etc. up to date?

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