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Posts Tagged ‘webinars’

Following my attempt to test the use of Google Hangout last week, I have continued to consider which platform to use with my student group. My friend Rachel had a number of things to do in order to get going on the Hangout – this included both setting up a Google+ account, then downloading a ‘plugin’ in order to be able to run the Hangout on her computer. She mentioned that she wanted to do this on her computer, not her partners as his is a work laptop and he doesn’t like unnecessarily downloading any applications onto it. I had also had to install the Google Chrome browser in order to access Google Hangout. This got me thinking about the fact that some students may be accessing the online meeting using placement computers, in which case they may run into similar issues and difficulties downloading applications. This coupled with the fact that the Google Hangout can only host a maximum of 10 participants has prompted me to rethink which platform I use and therefore I am going to use Blackboard Collaborate. One of the audience did ask me about the 10 participant maximum during my presentation, and I agreed it was a valid point, but that I would pilot the project using Hangout, then move to Blackboard Collaborate down the line if necessary. On reflection I now feel it makes more sense to ‘start as I mean to go on’, so that the students can develop confidence in using one particular technology. In addition, having now used Hangout, I believe that Blackboard Collaborate is not that dissimilar to Hangout. As well as setting up the online sessions for support for student support whilst out on placement, there is now another dimension in that I have been tasked by my Programme Leader to deliver a session in how to hand in their practice portfolios online as this group are going to be piloting electronic hand in. I couldn’t risk more than 10 people wanting to attend an important session like that and not being able to, giving additional weight to me choosing Blackboard Collaborate as the most appropriate online meeting platform.

I made enquiries and have contacted somebody about accessing training on setting up, facilitating and moderating Blackboard Collaborate.

Now I need to write a bit more about some of the reading I have been doing, and how it applies to my project….

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Last Thursday I participated in my first webinar. There were about 8 or 9 of us taking part. I found the experience really interesting, though struggled with trying to keep up with the 3 or 4 different aspects that were going on concurrently – listening to people speak; engaging in the exercises on the screen; and reading and joining in the typed interaction. I guess that it becomes easier the more you do it. Chrissi led the webinar effectively and efficiently, making everyone feel it ease. I believe that having someone in this role who is confident and competent is essential for everyone to get the most out of it. This is something I could see as being really beneficial with students, although most effective for a remote group of students, particularly those who are distance learning. I think that currently there would be limited mileage in using this technology for our current Joint Programme students, although this might change in the future as the delivery of programmes change. (K4)

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