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Class discussion à la Skype

June 11, 2010

Almost all of my classes at SU so far have involved weekly discussions, which usually take place on the discussion board in our Blackboard LMS (Learning Management System).  Even though it does not take place in real time, I have benefited from the many points of view that these fruitful exchanges include.

Tonight, for the second time during the last year, I was able to interact with fellow students in real time.  The first time, we used Adobe Meeting Room software through Syracuse.  We had a group presentation to do, we had video and audio interaction, and overall it was a good experience.  Tonight we used Skype for our weekly discussion, and although the technology was different, it was also a good experience.

There were eight of us in on the call, plus our instructor (there were also two other discussion groups offered).  We had the three discussion questions in advance, so that helped me prepare, and also helped keep us on task.  Our instructor did a good job of facilitating the discussion, and made sure to elicit responses from those of us who were a little quiet.  Although I worried about talking over someone or inadvertently interrupting someone because of issues like delay or feedback, that wasn’t really an issue.  Since we don’t have threads on a discussion board to refer to, our instructor will summarize all three discussions that take place this week just as any other week.

Because this was my first experience with Skype, I wasn’t sure how it would be.  I’ll admit to being pleasantly surprised.  It was fairly easy to use, and the sound quality was pretty decent.  I could see myself using it more, but I wouldn’t want to be tethered to my computer.  Maybe I’ll have to check how the mobile application works.  I do have to say that I appreciate and am enjoying the varied learning experiences I’ve had throughout my coursework so far.

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