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Teaching and learning from different locations using web-based conferencing

March 3, 2011

Two Hunter faculty members shared their experiences using Adobe Connect and Blackboard to teach condensed hybrid courses for working professionals.

Helen Werner discussed a 3-week course that met online for one hour each week using Adobe Connect. The 11 students participated in the class sessions from off-campus locations, at home or at a public library.  Students did a trial run one week before the beginning of class and were given tips about how to troubleshoot potential technical difficulties.  Students also used Blackboard's discussion boards and group tools to regularly communicate with each other and the instructor and to work together on projects and assignments.  Feedback from students was generally positive and the professor noted that students seemed more engaged.

Stacey Plichta discussed the challenges of teaching a 4-week course and involving international faculty and students in different time zones.  Stacey used Adobe Connect to allow students the option of participating in lectures from an off-campus location.  She held classes at Hunter twice a week using Adobe Connect and also recorded the sessions. Students were given the option of attending live lectures, participating online during the scheduled class sessions, or viewing the recorded lectures on their own time.  Stacey found that students intitially chose to attend in person, but over time, more students migrated towards the online options.  Stacey had initially planned to use Adobe Connect to bring in International faculty during the scheduled class time, but ended up recording their presentations because of the time difference. In addition to viewing live or recorded lectures, students engaged with course content using Blackboard.  The Blackboard course site was organized into weekly folders containing PowerPoint presentations, quizzes to motivate them to do readings, and discussion board threads.