Teaching Notes: February 2011 Archives

Skype and the Snow Day

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In September 2009, we discussed how to plan a virtual class for a flu epidemic, but in Feb 2010, I realized the same concepts could be used for a snow day as well (and TLT thought it was a brilliant concept too).

There are some great suggestions at the link above, but I found my own twist, thanks to my linguistics students. I had been planning to hold a session in Adobe Connect, but the students weren't sure what that meant. Fortunately one said "Oh you mean Skype in", and I thought "Why yes, Skype is a good option." When I asked students if they had a Skye account, they all said they did, so I decided to go with it.

To get to the details, I asked students to e-mail me their Skype IDs so I could add them to my Contacts list. On the day and time when we normally would meet in class, I sat in a Rider conference room and initiated a conference call. I was also able to use Adobe Connect for screen sharing without audio. The only quirk was that I wanted to show a video, and because the audio wasn't coming through Skype, students couldn't hear anything. Something to work on for next time.

Interestingly, I ran one session as a "test", but this week we ran it for real. This time I had some "guest speakers" from ETS, but we were able to sit in a conference room and use my Mac laptop speakers/mike and it still worked well. Of course, a lot of our activities are hands on in the lab, so I am actually crossing fingers that I won't have to do this again.

But it's great to have one more option to work with.

P.S. Thanks to all our guest speakers for participating in the session. It was a very interesting discussion for me. Hope to share details soon, but I have to check with the students first...