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How to Go to Maryland without Leaving Texas - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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How to Go to Maryland without Leaving Texas [Mar. 31st, 2009|01:45 pm]
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[Current Mood |accomplished]

This morning, I drove up to Central Texas College, and with the aid of the technical wizards there (who are my age, which is reassuring)  I spent an hour and a half at Howard Community College in Maryland.   The magic isn't quite  perfected yet (some audio problems on both ends) but the audience didn't boo or walk out, and the questions indicated some familiarity with the book and some serious thinking going on. 

I don't know how they felt about it yet, but from my end it was a success.  It is different talking to a monitor with people's rather blurry selves on it, but it's doable and fun and not nearly as exhausting as driving to the airport, sitting waiting in the airport, being crammed into the plane, changing planes, more of the same, all the way there and back.


[User Picture]From: kathi430
2009-04-01 07:50 am (UTC)
VTCs are the way to go!

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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-04-01 01:31 pm (UTC)
It WILL be the way to go--that's obvious--but as it was the A/V problems were just enough to make it not-quite-there-yet for me. More bandwidth, so there's less delay, higher quality audio, and higher quality video input (approaching that of major TV networks) will make it more acceptable to both presenters and audiences. I suspect it works best in smaler spaces, where a single videocamera can cover the whole audience.

I'd do it again, of course...even with the problems encountered (which were certainly germane to that particular topic) but having tasted the first course, I want the whole dinner.
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[User Picture]From: serenadefarm_05
2009-04-01 01:44 pm (UTC)
I agree that it's not quite the way to go yet. I taught a class a few years ago via VTC, with a half-dozen students in the room with me and about a half-dozen linked through the video. We also had audio problems, and even (this was several years back, with less developed technology) occasional loss of connection. But I suppose those things can be fixed. What I missed was that I could not "read" the subtle facial expressions and body language from the students via video link. And I discovered that I rely a lot on that when I am teaching. Not so much, though, when lecturing to a group, so that might make the use of the technology more valuable for those kind of settings. Maybe.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-04-01 02:04 pm (UTC)
That lack of feedback we're used to--those momentary changes in faces and body that tell us if we're getting to the listener--is what autists and others on the spectrum miss all the time, so in that sense it was valuable to me to experience that lack. I knew it intellectually, but not personally, as it were. If the lighting's good, I can see enough of the people in larger-than-classroom settings, even with my not-great vision, to pick up those cues as well. The first ten rows, for instance, are nearly always within reach, visually. So I depend on it any time I'm there in person...without even realizing it, obviously.

Normal human sensory apparatus does a better job than anything we've invented yet to replace it...we have natural surround-sound, binocular color vision that can shift from near to far over a broad range of focal lengths, and our social interactions make use of that even when the close-in additional cues (tactile, olfactory) aren't in range.
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[User Picture]From: werewulf
2009-04-15 08:43 pm (UTC)
All I can say from my end (I had classes so was only able to drop in for about 10 minutes between classes) was that it was cool. Very understandable and interesting. I must have missed the technical difficulties because it was all going well while I was there.

Thanks to both you and HCC for doing that.

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