Monday, March 4, 2013

I See You

Today at work I got a webcam.  This is new for me.  I have never used a webcam.

Keep in mind I still have an IBM Correcting Selectric II typewriter on my desk.  Students will ask what it is when they see it.

In any event, the webcam is becoming required for any online classes and I teach many online classes.  Even in our face to face classes, I have students submit all their assignments electronically.  Paper and pencil activities are becoming few and far between.

Whether we like it or not, education is changing.  One major change is online learning.  A student can take a college class and never step foot on a campus or sit in a classroom.

Of course people are quick to criticize online learning.  However, I confess I have taken a lot of classes in auditoriums and, well .... let's just say it was not all that great.

Sitting in a room with 300 or 500 other people is not optimum either.  Every delivery system has its advantages and disadvantages.

The webcam is now being used to make sure the right student is actually taking a test.  Usually tests are proctored and students have to drive to a location and take a test in a formal testing center.

We are now going to let students show their student ID and then the webcam will stay on as they take their exam in their apartment, dorm room, or even favourite coffee house.  Every so often the webcam will take a picture and the teacher will be able to check it out.  Also, every so often a short video is made as the student is taking the test.

The image you see will look similar to this young woman as she is taking an online test.

The webcam is also used to do office hours or to address student questions.  You can go to what is known as screen sharing and show students specific examples, Power Point slides, etc. via the webcam.

I admit my preference is for the traditional way of doing a college class.  I still like blackboards but have not seen one for years.  The webcam is actually trying to make the learning experience more personable.

Of course if I had 20 students in a classroom for 90 minutes, that would be more to my liking. 

Oh well.  As Buzz Lightyear would say, To Infinity and Beyond!

Thanks for stopping by.


Leslie: said...

I have to admit I prefer the one on one experience of tutoring right now. Each student WANTS to be here and WANTS me to help them. And I get to know them as a person and their learning style so I can assist in their learning experience. I don't think I'd enjoy returning to the classroom or doing the online thing. But as you infinity & beyond!

Hilary said...

I suppose it won't be too long before a generation doesn't even know what it's like to gather together to learn. We live in interesting times.

Cloudia said...

Thanks for this report from the cutting edge.