This first week of teaching my online Graduate course was as expected, many technical issues, some student frustration, and a few early successes. Here are some highlights (the good and the bad) of the week.
1) Adobe Connect was working fairly well in most of the tests I had with Twitterverse members prior to the beginning of the course. However, I have some criticisms of its performance so far.
- Audio conferencing performance has been poor.
- Screensharing features cause crashes.
- Session recordings are missing significant chunks of audio.
- Connect needs more granular permissions, if students are able audio/video enabled, then can then do a lot more (e.g., opening, closing Windows which effect all users).
The experience was better as we went along. However, it looks like I will be trying (the much more expensive) Elluminate next week.
2) I finally got a chance to play with Yugma and Yugma Skype. Yugma is a simple and very nice screen-sharing tool. However, Yugma lacks integrated audio. YugmaSkype is a modified version which integrates Skype directly into Yugma. While certainly you can just run both applications at the same time, it is nice to have these tools a bit more integrated, especially for novice users.
I’m thinking about Yugma and how it could be used as a tool for the hands-on sessions in my course. YugmaSkype would work fine for these, with groups under 10 participants. For larger groups, I’d have to find an alternate audio-conferencing tool as there are limitations on Skype conference calls.
Note: Yugma is now giving away free Premium accounts (connect up to 10 people) to bloggers show sign up before Jan 31, 2008.
I tried setting up a Skypecast, but I was never able to get a session running. I have tried Skypecasts from 5-7 times since they’ve been available, and I have yet to have one work. I am not sure what the issues is.
I then tried setting up several audio conferences through highspeedconferencing.com and each conference worked very well, and I connected up to 10 people without a problem. And, the pricing seems reasonable for this type of service. Participants are given the option to call via Skype (free), a toll free number or a toll number.
3) As a sort of personal note, I somehow managed to hit #1 on Tweeterboard.com this week. I am not sure what that means, it’s really more silly than meaningful. I know many people have done so already, but at some points I am going to write something on the importance of Twitter for my own personal learning. Honestly, it has been unbelievable. I love my network, and I have benefited so much from my new and old connections.
4) Oh, and one last thing. I am having a great time with the 366/2008 photo pool project thingy (inspired by D’Arcy Norman’s very impressive work). Check out my 366/2008 photo set here, or check out the 366/2008 Flickr group with 28 current members. There are some great photos here!
To be continued.