Reflection on the Dark Side Presentation

First of all, I think we are very brave to try out one class remotely. It is very important experience for a class studying the Internet. I don’t know whether previous students in this class have tried remote classes or not, I hope Dr.V could let students in the future continue to try, although it may not be a pleasant experience. Hope students in the future could find a better software other than Adobe Connect to do this. Any revolution or progress will not happen if we always shy away from unpleasant possibilities. The key here is not to avoid the wrong things, but to know what is wrong, and make the wrong things right.

Second, regarding what is wrong, I think the key failure point is that each of us has too much freedom for ourselves, but not enough freedom for participating the class with Adobe Connect. We cannot see others if they are not the current presenter, and other people cannot see us if we are not presenting. Other people cannot hear us either if we do not press the “talk” button. We lost the supervision, and self-discipline doesn’t work all the time. Basically we could do anything else–eat, do homework for other subjects, check Facebook feed, etc. We had too much freedom, and I ate too many milk duds while listening to others’ talk. Adobe Connect may be perfect for people who have to attend boring conferences all the time, but definitely not for engaging students in class.  Although all of us had talk priorities, we had to press the “talk” button at the risk of interfering the presenter, overloading the network and introducing lots of echos. So many of us would rather type in the chat box rather than speak. The social affordance of Adobe Connect doesn’t support free discussion as much as in Google+ Hangout.

Finally, Adobe Connect is designed for formal conferences, and Google+ Hangout is designed for informal friendly hangout. Experiences of using them for Tech621 made me realize they do have lots of differences depending on their specific purposes. Any such software in the future, if the purpose is for remote class, should consider how to engage students (let students want to and feel easy to participate) as the highest priority.