Question 27

27. Would you use the same tools again? If not, why?


As instructor at CCC, I would use Facebook in a heartbeat. It is user-friendly, very easy to set up, and does not require multiple secret handshakes to access. Posting is very simple. The biggest drawback is the time it can take to upload videos. As someone whose workload requires her to run from class to meeting to rehearsal, often with five to ten minutes in between, five days a week, plus rehearsals on Saturday, I need my technology to be easy and fast and very user-friendly. Otherwise, I don’t have time to wrestle with it, and I won’t use it. / Mary and I agree on this one, I would use Facebook again quite readily. I understand that the new Blackboard LMS is more user friendly, but this doesn’t over-ride the fact that ACTT has no technical support and any support from CCC is a-synchronous, so a day away. Despite our instructional designers fantastic assistance with training on the system and the screen shots that allowed me to ‘train’ my class on  the system, I still think that working on a social networking site, where being user-friendly is paramount, would suit my classes better. 

As with the asynchronous tools, this is somewhat difficult to answer as the course is still in progress, but my sense is that yes, Skype worked well, and we would likely plan to use it again in the future. / Everything we used synchronously was cloud-based.

Because class-to-class online synchronous communication largely failed in the first iteration of the course, we made no attempt to use the mode of communication in the second iteration. In addition, we did not see much educational benefit in using class-to-class online synchronous communication. For these reasons, we will likely not use class-to-class online synchronous communication in future iterations of this course. We will, however, continue to use Skype (or similar) for one-to-one interviews and peer-review sessions.

Bruce Clarke: Yes, the available tools are fine. / Dirk Vanderbeke: Yes, but the experiences of this class would lead next time to an earlier check up on the technical facilities and to stricter requirements for the students to actually use synchronous tools on the group work. /Bruce Clarke: I agree with Dirk here. This time being our first attempt at such a course, we left the assignments too open-ended and relied on the students’ volunteering the time to make them work. Now that we have a sense of how the tools function, we could refine and strengthen the collaborative assignments accordingly.

I (Meredith) would suggest that we continue with the Tandberg system for class-to-class videoconferences. However, I would suggest that although we make Skype Premium available to student groups, we give them the opportunity to choose a videoconferencing channel that best meets their needs.

I would definitely stick with the videoconference format for the course. This part worked quite well. It is in the area of student contact beyond classroom time that improvements are needed. We will be interested to hear experiences from others in this area.

I would use Skype again. Though quirky at times, it is convenient because of its ubiquitous presence on multiple devices.

It’s not so much the tools that were an issue, more of the bandwidth and DST being an issue.

These tools proved to be effective on multiple levels so, yes.

Video conference: Yes, we had no problems with the live video conference. The connection was reliable and worked on each campus. Any issues were handled by the professional staff at each location. / Lore: Unsure, the opportunity for informal interactions is appealing. If we did use it again, additional technical training should be a priority so students and faculty know to communicate with other students.

We did not engage students in a classroom to classroom level synchronously because the mode of learning for students enrolled in ESC’s Center for Distance Learning is asynchronous. It would have been virtually impossible -- and against the spirit of the asynchronous learning -- to require the ESC students to be in a shared space all at the same time.

We would use these same technologies again but only because of the lack of better alternatives.  If video conferencing was a consistent option (AUB does not have video conferencing in classrooms) we would use that more often.

We would use: LMS-Open Source, Vimeo for our introduction to the students and for them to post their video pitches, Webcasting software (which type, we don’t know), Flash or Skype for team meetings.  We tested out oovoo and experience problems--we were loaded with pop-ups and it just didn’t work well.  We never quite figured out Flash.   How students managed with Skype was by two students sitting in front of the computer in Buffalo and the other two in Romania.  When they had three sites-Cortland, I have no idea how they manage without paying for three-way.

yes / ULPGC : same answer as 21.

Yes until we find something that provides more than what NING provides us we will keep using it.

Yes, because I (Yasue) liked google hangout better from various reasons such as FOC, sound, recordable, image, many apps and that function that 10 people can communicate at the same time.

Yes, I would use skype.  While it is not always reliable, it is generally understood by students and already on many of their devices.  This makesmuch more effective and approachable.  Adobe Connect is an excellent source as well, but more cumbersome for the instructor.

Yes, we would.  The video-conferencing added important human dimension to the course.  We were able to see gestures and hear  voice and emotional tone which brought more familiarity and intimacy to the online exchange.  Students reported this as very helpful and identified this as  one of the variables that they liked  most about the course. / Interestingly, most  students were more forthcoming in the blog spaces of the course compared to our synchronous class meetings, but the in- person meetings helped establish ground for these blog discussions and often served as  prompts for further discussion.  Given the wide range of  learning styles and cultural diversity of the students enrolled, compounded with sometimes sensitive course topics on sex and gender identity, the face-to-face meetings filled an important real-time instructional need for students and faculty.   The real-time meetings were opportunities to further develop topical  electronic exchanges and often opened the doors of communication in meaningful ways that might have otherwise gone unspoken.  The class discussions on abortion and reproductive freedoms and on maternity capital as understood in both the US and Russia as examples were fruitful dialogues that engaged complex ideology. Learning became organic to discussion and many key questions emerged as a consequence to the video-conferences.  / Even with this, the video-conference itself sometimes emerged as a barrier to  fluency in dialogue because students were   uncertain to the boundaries around back and forth communication.  Who speaks when and at what point was sometimes awkward even with explicit guidelines, strategy, protocol, and expectations for participation on both sides.   And Russian students  were often more outspoken in our face-to-face-meetings compared to American students who sometimes were shy and reserved, despite preparedness and pre/post openness in classes independent of cross-country video connections.  / Physicality is likely at play here.  The projection screen, while enabling real-time exchange,  brings some distancing limitations, although this may be more constructed perception vs. true obstacle.  And frequency in practice  may be the simple solution here.  Using a video chat tool more frequently  could perfect skills that best enable organic dialogue in a real-time setting.  Everyone in the course seemed to become more comfortable and forthcoming as the semester progressed with the physicality of the screen and video equipment  fading into the background vs. the foci to course exchange.  And as is the case with in-person course learning formats, as students become more familiar with each other, dialogue increases. This proved true for student interaction in our synchronous class meetings.

Yes. Professor Burton would prefer to be able to have video images and would like to investigate an option of teleconferencing future live chat class sessions. / NU note:  We have heard some discussion of future iterations of e-college embedding SKYPE software to enhance ease of video conferencing.  We have yet to see it in practice however.

Yes.  The more technologies introduced, the more facile students were in learning to use new tools.  Most sjsu students had some experience with D2L before entering the class, but not Skype.