Navigate: Recorded Session Quest

posted May 17, 2016, 8:28 AM by Emily Kroutil   [ updated May 19, 2016, 8:10 AM ]
I decided to experiment with the Blackboard software since it was my top pick in the previous Quest.  I figured, if they all have free trials, might as well!  

The first thing I noticed:  while the site advertising Blackboard Collaborate is pretty and has an excellent user experience, the process of downloading the software was confusing.  The Blackboard site initially said I needed to download Java WebStart, so I did.  While I was downloading Java WebStart, I downloaded the Blackboard Collaborate software.  When I tried to open it, it didn't work.  So I went back to the Blackboard site and clicked the link that said "I already downloaded the software" or something like that.  Then, it had me download something else.  I downloaded that and the Collaborate window opened.  Meanwhile, Java WebStart is still downloading, so I guess I didn't need it as bad as the website made it sound like I did.

I adjusted my audio settings and tried to upload a KeyNote file through "Load Content".  Nope, not supported.  So then I tried to upload a PDF of the same thing through "Load Content" because everything supports PDF.  Nope, not supported either.  But it did let me send the PDF to all participants.  This took awhile and I'm not entirely certain who it sent the PDF to because I'm fairly certain no one else is in my little online classroom.  Then I clicked the video option.  Oh wow!  Make sure to wear make up, have nice lighting, and a pretty top for online chatting.  Eek!  The internet is not a friendly place to sleep-deprived new moms and teachers in the last week of school!  

I recorded some audio and video and, while I initially was going to share the recording on this blog, I quickly decided that would be a terrible idea.  Do you see that picture of me on the left on my wedding day taken by a professional photographer?  Yeah, let's just say the video wasn't nearly as flattering and I'm not certain I want THAT image of me plastered across the internet (After all, I learned in previous quests that once something is on the internet, it is there forever).  

I quickly decided a few things:
  1. If I'm going to create a video and share it publicly on the internet, I'm going to do a screencast where you can't see my face and I can wear pajamas if I want to. 
  2. When I have synchronous meetings with my virtual students, I am going to protect the recordings on a password-protected site/LMS so everyone and their brother cannot view the recordings.  
Overall, I can see the usefulness of these platforms, but it will take time to get comfortable with them.  It kind of reminds me of when I first started creating screencasts.  In the first few, I talked very quietly and hesitantly.  As I got more and more comfortable, the screencasts became more of a representation of how I teach in the classroom, as far as volume, inflection, etc. I expect video-chatting will be a similar experience.
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