Overview | Preliminary Comments | Pedagogical Choices | Moving On | Conclusion | Bibliography  

Moving On

Since the technology available to my students has changed (they now have access to the Internet and e-mail) I have been able to change my pedagogy somewhat. This year I am only using Interactive Video during two of the three  class periods. On Fridays, my students can go to any lab on campus. The remote students attend a lab at their high school with their teacher. Students have begun to share drafts and responses to readings during this time.  My hope is that continued collaboration between students at the different sites will finally be possible. 

The changes have been slower than I had anticipated.  Dickie Selfe has noted, and I agree, "that we often assume levels of access without considering things such as length of access (at one time), safety, appropriate technology, support while [students] are using technologies." (private e-mail correspondence.)  It took me quite awhile to work with the technical support staff and the teacher-facilitator at the remote high school site before the high school students were able to get the level of access to computers that was necessary for these changes in my curriculum to take place.  Activities that I hoped to use in April 1998 did not begin to work smoothly until October, 1998. (In this example from NetForum, students have begun to collaborate on an Investigating Essay by "interviewing" one another.)

In addition, I have modified my online course (English 1301 ) for the Interactive Video students. The exercises in this course are supplemental and for review only at this point, because they require more on-task computer time than my students have available to them. 

In the future, I hope to  experiment with desktop videoconferencing (using software called "LearnLine" from Ilinc* that integrates video and audio conferencing).If it can help me bring students together more frequently and for more collaborative projects, it should prove quite helpful for interactive video courses as well as online courses.  According to Michael Mathews, an online instructor at Berean University who uses the LearnLine software, "Student interactivity was a major issue, so we were seeking a method to bring the students closer to the instructors in real-time and therefore increase the accountability factor. LearnLincTM fit into our online learning plans perfectly. We now see completion rates of 90% for our online courses." 

*Interestingly, the Ilinc software was developed to tap the best of the traditional classroom. (Charlie Moran argued many years ago and has argued recently that classrooms don't work. And recently, he explains that he was not able to go back to that classroom.) But some aspects of the physical classroom do work--the visual and audio connection with students, for example--and that is what desktop videoconferencing combined with document sharing software attempts to capture, according to Jack Wilson, the software developer from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute. Wilson's attitude toward the physical classroom is dramatically different, of course from Fred Kemp's notion of traditional classrooms and different from Eric Crump who felt that classrooms weren't needed way back in 1992 (Learning at Warp Speed: or, Who Needs Classrooms Anymore?) 


Overview | Preliminary Comments | Pedagogical Choices | Moving On | Conclusion | Bibliography