Question 18

18. Did you encounter significant technical problems using these tools? If so, please describe.

No

No / ULPGC : We did not encounter any significant technical problem. It’s our opinion, based on personal experience, that technical aspects of any web-enhanced course are viewed as a problem if it is so for the instructor. It turns out to be obvious that instructors showing enthusiasm with ICT will experience fewer difficulties and transmit that same enthusiasm to the learners. Those who don’t may transmit the opposite effect. Another point is that cloud-based and personal ways to communicate among students are sometimes undermined by faculty because these  don’t offer enough tracking (who has done what, how many times and when). As we all know, faculty need data to write papers and will prefer  that facilitate an easy data collection to any better learning tool which doesn’t offer this opportunity.

The WordPress blogs were challenging to both Texas Tech and MyongJi students. We divided students into cross-institutional teams, but we struggled to get all students enrolled in the specific blogs they were assigned to. The blogs were hard to enroll in and Professor Jang had to post most of his students’ comments and work. The WordPress blogs were not easily usable for Texas Tech students either. It took us several weeks to figure out. They were challenging to navigate and to post within. Students had trouble uploading images. Surprisingly, YouTube was a much easier technology for both sets of students to use. Students were easily able to upload their videos; each cross-institutional team created two videos (one original; the second a copy of the other’s teams “translated” into their own language.) In future classes, Kelli would not use the WordPress blog configuration; she would seek a more usable platform for collaboration. / It is good to combine the functions of WordPress and YouTube.

CCC students and I encountered varying levels of difficulty ranging from moderate to extreme. The Blackboard version we used made posting audio and video links somewhat complicated. As students were relying on whatever personal computers, smart phones, tablet hardware and software they owned or had access to, the differences in these technologies often led to great difficulty for some students to complete assignments. / As an instructor, I attempted to video students’ final assignments using my personal Samsung Galaxy tablet, and found when reviewing what I had captured that the sound quality was so poor on most of the videos, that I couldn’t post them. The acoustics in the room where the class had to be held are very poor, and added to the mediocre sound recording quality of my equipment, made most of what I recorded unusable. / An additional problem that I felt strongly was the tension between trying to deliver the course content, and also be a video and audio technician in class in order to try to capture adequate images and sound to share. One of the most important aspects of beginning Voice and Movement training, particularly in our environment at CCC, is to help students let go of self-conscious, self-monitoring behavior, and to allow the voice and body to become free and uninhibited. I wanted to keep the camera or recorder in the background, so that students would not focus on the fact that they were being recorded, which can often lead to further inhibition in people who are already locked or blocked vocally and physically. For that reason, the technical quality of what I was able to record of our class work suffered. When it came to a choice between the students’ educational experience of the Voice and Movement work and doing a professional video of the work, I had to choose the former. / In any future collaboration of this nature, I feel it would be very important to have a videographer working with the instructor, and time for an editing process after the class work is done, in order to be able to share students’ actual process and progress in the class, and provide an adequate visual record for discussion and feedback. That is NOT to say that “failures” would be edited out, but rather that the technical quality of the images and sound would be sufficient for actual educational benefit to both instructors and students in both locations. A good videographer becomes like part of the furniture in the classroom, so that students and instructor forget about him/her and the camera and mics, and can go about their work unselfconsciously. / I recognize that this requires more resources, more personnel, and more time to adequately support the delivery of this type of online learning. But, I firmly believe that in order for online education to be in any way as effective as face-to-face classroom instruction, this is what it takes. / The main technical difficulty for the ACTT students was accessing the Blackboard LMS. Initially we had difficulty with enrolling the students and then when they were enrolled the passwords (based on date of birth) that we were provided with were incorrect, so it took some time to work out which passwords were valid and which weren’t and how to rectify the problem easily from Australia without having to wait for CCC to come on-line. Many of the students found the blackboard system difficult to navigate and often stated that they weren’t sure if they had posted in the right folder, or indeed if they had posted at all. / We had some difficulty with the age and processing power of the ACTT computers, the speed of the internet connection was fairly low, making uploads of audio and video files an arduous task. And as the school is housed in an old church building even the 3G network did not work as well as I had hoped, so streaming video/audio files posted by CCC students was difficult. I was also operating solo as ACTT has no technical staff and there was little understanding of our collaboration. / The students did not find recording via their smart phones and tablets difficult and I was able to overcome the difficulties regarding videoing the students by asking that the students take charge of the recording equipment.

Generally speaking, we did not experience significant  with our LMS.

In the beginning of the semester, it was important to make sure all students had full access to the cloud  used for the course.  Making sure all students had gmail accounts separate from college email enabled wider access.  There was a small learning curve here for Brockport students who were reliant on the college email  and Angel system.  / In Russia: our students seldom use University accounts, but not all my students had gmail accounts. So in the beginning of the course we spent time for creating new gmail accounts 

Moodle was meant to be a central communication tool as well as provide access to many documents, media,  and discussions for the course.  Instability with the Ashesi network and Moodle server in the first weeks of the course did impede access to materials for the students from Ashesi.  It became necessary to create accounts on the Swarthmore server for all the Ashesi Students to facilitate their access.  That made access slightly less seamless. The cloud based services were not a problem.

No, but once students arrived in the Galapagos, high winds downed satellite connections for Internet, which disrupted our class communication.

No, we did not encounter significant problems our video conferences ran smoothly and the NING site did not encounter any down time.

No.

NU response: None through e-college.  A few students had moments of technical difficulty with the chats but these were minor. / Griffith response: From the Australian perspective there were some technical issues that did affect how students interacted with the course material. These were ultimately circumvented but did create some confusion. / At the course design level the Australian partners wanted to have an interactive peer review questionnaire, where students would be paired up and review each other’s work.  It was our desire that this review would have an interface like most online questionnaires, with multiple options and different threads opening up depending upon responses to questions, to take full advantage of online interactivity. I wanted the results to then be viewed by the student whose work was being reviewed rather than be collated in a central database.  We were not able to make this happen so we had to use a word document that they filled in and posted online. /  Our NU partners created a beautiful design for the presentation of pages of course information. They contained notes about each of the films being studied and embedded videos. Many students experienced difficulties accessing the embedded videos, some were not able to view all the videos and some were able to access them via alternative methods.

Reports on the use of Blackboard Collaborate from the students were decidedly mixed, as some students loved it and others hated it. Otherwise, I know of no significant  using the discussion boards on Blackboard. / Russian students were slow to engage in a meaningful debate on the blackboard; some never did, because they thought that their English was inadequate. But all read other students' comments, so it was a useful tool.

Significant ones, no; however occasionally there were glitches in the Skype transmission.  We had three technicians (two student assistants, one IT tech, and Mr. Mark Adams the Instructional Designer) working to resolve problems in SJSU.  Mr. Wilson was a solo technician in KGU.  From time to time our tech team would be in direct communication with Mr. Wilson assisting him to resolve tech problems in his classroom in Japan.

SJSU side did not because we are used to using the D2L. Also, it is not the technical problem, but as a nature of email, when the Kagoshima University students do not check email so often, my students had a difficulty to get Japanese language help from Kagoshima students timely.

The  themselves were not a problem, but the unreliability of electricity and computer space time for the students in Ghana inhibited a more robust interaction that was originally planned.

The only challenge we encountered was that StoryTimed required a “friending” process and would only allow for one administrator. Therefore, the process of students sending friend-requests to a single instructor and then the instructor’s task of accepting the friend requests and adding students to the specific story group was a little slow.

The only issue, which was promptly resolved by CCC staff and a little patience on the students’ end, was the creation of student accounts to access Blackboard.  In one or two cases, there was a slight mix up with usernames and passwords, but Prof. Ryan and I were quick to resolve these issues.

The only technical difficulties were in Google Earth tours.  Some people had issues with hearing the audio.  We were never able to track down exactly what the issue was, but it seemed related to what type of system (Mac or PC) the tour creator used as well as what operating system the viewer used.  Windows 7 PC seemed to work the best to both record and listen to the tours. 

There were a few  with Facebook converting video uploads to Flash (yuck) and then those videos not actually showing up on the group page. This was solved by using Vimeo or YouTube.

There were a few small .  Dr. Hartwiger was unable to receive emails through the site.  For students at AUB the uploading speed for images was very slow.  VoiceThread caused some problems for students at AUB.  They were unable to log in. 

Vimeo was a bit of a learning curve because we wanted to keep the channel private (otherwise we would have used YouTube). The main problem was trying to get the passwords to the students.  Also, because one of us actually “owns” the channel, it means that the “owner” (Dr. Buonanno) has to manage the site.

We did not encounter significant problems. However, there were lessons we learned for more effective implementation in the future. For example: when collecting video-based work as we did using Animoto, collect hyperlinks to their videos rather than the videos themselves. stay aware of browser differences because they often impact the functionality of certain technologies. when collecting photographs for students as we did using Voicethread, collect saveable pictures rather than links.consider the impact of system upgrades on the functionality of certain technologies. SUNY Geneseo went through a system upgrade during our collaboration which impacted our ability to access a Russian website including Moodle. stay aware of what we referred to as the “new” digital divide. We found that Geneseo and MSU students seemed to frequent social networking sites differently. In turn, students had different expectations regarding the frequency and timeliness of interactions. Different access to or use of Smartphones was the main factor that contributed to the differences.

Yes: Lore.com is a very new tool and they updated their product several times during the semester. The updates modified the layout of the site, changed the locations of several functions and led to confusion for the faculty and students. Important information, like assignments, were moved. We updated the technical documentation after a major update to help clarify where things were moved. Also, has a very different layout than traditional LMSs like Blackboard or Moodle. That may have led to additional confusion for the faculty and students.

Students were encouraged to develop peer relationships through email or chat services.  Also, an introductory discussion forum was a space created on Blackboard where students from separate institutions could continue to learn more about each other and their professors.  Here students shared their tastes in music, film, food and in a variety of other areas.