Saturday, February 5, 2011

K201 - The Computer in "Business As Usual"

In my previous posts I have written about how I've been using Adobe Connect for Office hours and in place of clickers to ask questions in the classroom. I also mentioned that all K201 instructors from IUPUI Kelley School Of Business held a practice session when, for one class session, the students were asked to attend remotely. This was a planned session intended to help students understand some procedural issues like asking questions, taking notes, etc..

Well, talk about great planning, Mother Nature raised her hand and said, "your practice session shall not go to waste", and buried Indiana in a thick sheet of ice, resulting in a first-ever three-consecutive-day closing of the IUPUI campus, among others. In the beginning or the semester, K201 instructors had also made an announcement in class, "If the campus ever closes for weather related or other emergencies, K201 will still be in session via the "Virtual Classroom" (Adobe Connect link in Oncourse).

On February 1, without a single email from my students about any doubts related to the "what, when or where" of the class meeting, I had nearly all of my students in the Virtual Classroom. I got some hot tea, closed the door and put a "Do not disturb" sign as a reminder for the kids. I used two computers to connect, so I could present from one and watch the chat-room activity from the other. It was also helpful to know what the students were seeing.

I won't say that the session was flaw-less, because there were two brief network outages. First time, I was able to reconnect right away, and the second time, it took about 5-7 minutes. I have to mention the patience and cooperation from my students, as every single one of them waited for me to re-connect.

So, here is a recap of the things that were helpful:
  • Having used Adobe connect in the classroom brought the students up-to-speed the quickest.
  • Having a practice session early in the semester was helpful, as we could pick a day that was not packed-full.
  • Using two computers was helpful from my perspective, as I could keep an eye on the chat room and could see exactly what the students were seeing.
  • Recording the session for students who couldn't attend, because of power/network outages.
Any student who wasn't able to connect remotely, will not be penalized, of course. It just means a little extra hard-work to catch-up.

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