Friday, February 24, 2012

Using Adobe Connect

This year, I am teaching one of the Diploma in Tertiary Learning and Teaching courses. The course is called Learning ang Teaching 2 but is aka 'adult learning theories'. Students on the course are polytechnic teachers/tutors. This year is the second time I am running this course fully on-line. The students are based in two institutions in Christchurch and in Nelson. I learnt much from working with the students on last year's course. So this year, I have make plans to include a larger number of 'virtual classroom' type courses. Every fortnight, we meet for an hour or so to discuss the course content and activities posted on to a course Moodle site.

This week, we had our first virtual classroom session using Adobe Connect meeting space. We had a 'get to know how to use' session last week and as a result, the session went without too many technical hitches. Everyone managed to get their microphones and earphones working and were able to contribute to the session. I recorded our session from this week and had a chance to hear/see the action again today, providing me with a good opportunity to reflect on how the session.

At the moment, I am only using the simplest of approaches. This is mainly so  I can upskill myself but also to provide students with a chance to become familiar with the various icons in the meeting space. online conferencing protocols and become comfortable in the virtual classroom enviroment. As the course progresses, I intend to learn newer ways to present material and encourage input from the students. Working my way through the various features provided is a good way to learn and to model to students, how to use and improve on using virtual classroom structures.

On viewing the recorded session, I find that I will have to leave items on the screen for longer and to give students more time to respond to questions. Plus I need to work on encouraging students to 'raise their hand' to interrupt or take turns. I have also been trying to run the session with participant input by doing a 'round' but this can be intimidating to some participants and I have no recourse to body language to gauge when someone is ready to contribute or if someone is reluctant. I will need to collect some feedback on how the session went, so that the students are motivated to participate in as many of the virtual sessions as possible. So looking forward to the next session.