Friday, July 13, 2012

You Did WHAT with Web Conferencing?

I recently gave a presentation at Blackboard World entitled, "You Did WHAT with Blackboard Collaborate?" It was an attempt to demonstrate the diversity of uses and users we've discovered at CCC Confer and to highlight some of the unusual things our users do with this technology. We learn more about Web conferencing from the faculty and staff who use them than we can ever teach them. The users of this technology are the real stars: they invent, adapt, create, and transform Web conferencing as they apply it to educational tasks. Here are some examples:

  1. Teach Art. Robin Rogers Cloud at Saddleback College demonstrates effective use of the whiteboard to show students how their paintings can be improved. She demonstrates where the horizon is, shows how darkening certain objects improves the contrast, sharpens the trees and shoreline, and divides the painting to show the center and different parts of the picture. Robin demonstrates why she loves this tool for art instruction.
  2. Be Quiet. In an acoustically flawed recording, Donna Eyestone demonstrates a powerful point: that in the synchronous online classroom, silence can be golden. You have to give your online students time to gather their thoughts - and their courage - to speak up and join the discussion.
  3. Play Music. Donna has also taught us about the comforting value of music when an online class is beginning.
  4. Podcast Lectures. The "Podcast Queen" of the California Community Colleges helped us develop a server for storing and playing podcasts for anyone in the system. 
  5. Save Your Job. Amelito Enriquez, winner of a White House honor for engineering mentoring, used CCC Confer to boost enrollment in his classes and save the engineering program at Canada College.
  6. Teach with a Tablet. Amelito discovered that tablet PCs were uniquely suited to his brand of instruction, which requires considerable annotation.
  7. Erase with a White Pen. A math instructor at Grossmont College, Irene Palacios, discovered that she could use the whiteboard in an unorthodox way to erase her PowerPoint mistakes.
  8. Make Short Video Lectures. Irene discovered the value of archived lectures. She has created scores of short video lectures to demonstrate math principles and practices.
  9. Flip the Classroom. Irene and several others like her have discovered that this technology is valuable even for face-to-face students, who benefit from re-watching and reviewing archived lessons.
  10. Have Face-to-Face Students Interact with Online Students. In Santa Rosa, Michael McKeever teaches a hybrid class with face-to-face and online students attending at the same time. He uses breakout rooms to combine the two groups for problem-solving.
  11. Impersonate a Computer. At Sierra College, instructors run an Online Writing Center for tutoring students with writing assignments. Jeanne Guerin has captured a session in which a student logged in and was confused about whether or not the other end of the conversation she was having was human.
  12. Share a Calculator. At Foothill College, Marc Knobel teaches math online. He found that application sharing and the TI calculator emulation software were terrific tools.
  13. Teach 100 Students at a Time. At Cypress College, Rebecca Gomez actually teaches more than 100 students at a time online...
  14. Teach for 4+ Hours. ... and she teaches for a long time!
  15. Work with the Captioner. Rebecca discovered that the captioner can be a valuable classroom assistant if you remember to use them.
  16. Teach Adult Education.  At San Diego City College, as at most community colleges, adult education is very important, and Claudia Tornsaufer uses CCC Confer to teach music classes to a diverse audience. Some of her students are in their twenties, while others are in the 80+ age range.
  17. Teach from Another Country. Laurie Huffman, from Los Medanos College in northern California, actually travels overseas to teach her classes. We've had classes taught from Paris, France, Alaska, and even China!
  18. Use the Timer. The timer is an effective tool for reinforcing "time on task" and learning enhancement, as Cyndi Reese explains.
  19. Count to Three. A math instructor from Lake Tahoe Community College showed us a technique he uses that allows the whole online class to respond to a question and give him an "instant assessment" of how they're doing.
  20. Go to a Hospital. Larry Green also shared a story about a student who was hospitalized during one of his classes, but still managed to participate and succeed in the class


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. You're right, Stephen. With this software, for example, you can use private chat to message one or more people, or you can create a "breakout room" for completely separate interaction.


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