On Friday we took part in our first tutorial online using Adobe Connect, which I had installed on my IPad A few days before. Despite the fact that I was at work I was able to find some time and space to attend the meeting during my lunch break. As I prepared myself for the session, the realisation dawned on me that I could still take part in the course while at work or even better, on holiday!
Check your connection before you boil the kettle
However, the experience was not without its difficulties. After setting up the room, preparing my notebook and a nice cup of peppermint tea, I came up against WIFI connection issues. This resulted in me needing to change rooms, running around in the corridor with all my gear in tow to find the strongest signal. Luckily, in the end I managed to connect to the session and type in the word ‘Hello!’ in the chat box. Other difficulties that I came across were, navigating the app, audio time delay, turning the video and mic on and putting headphones on to stop feedback. All in all though, the experience was a positive one and most of these issues can be avoided next time.
Learning from your peers
The session was divided into two parts, one for existing students and one for the new cohort. In the first part, existing students discussed pointers for their dissertations, such as formulating a research proposal and classroom project timing. One student suggested doing a course on research methods on the MOOC FutureLearn.
Getting to know you
In the second part I had a chance to ‘meet’ my classmates. It was great to finally see and hear my peers from all over the world and find out a little bit more about them. We had the opportunity to ask questions and got to grips with the functionality of Adobe Connect. On the screen you can see everybody, you need to click on a video image to see people moving and there are various buttons you can press to interact with the group. You can raise your hand to stop your tutor from going on and on and you can agree or disagree with statements your tutor makes without verbally interrupting. The tutor also recorded part of the session for absent students.
Despite the technical teething troubles, the session was enjoyable and informative and gave me an insight into how synchronous CMC(Computer Mediated Communication) tools work. Whether or not these tools can be used effectively for language learning remains to be seen though.