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April 03, 2008

Entry 4: Experiential Learning 2.0 ... Video and Rich Media Collaboration Tools Ready For Primetime

Ten years ago it was all hype. Network engineers were rather confident that high quality interactive video over IP networks on campus was the stuff of fantasyland. It was a technology solution looking for a problem that needed fixing. After all, the campus wanted email, web surfing, and maybe some online repositories. The promise of video conferencing and interactive learning environments, scaling across the campus and connecting to the remote, off campus learners to support richer, more enhanced communication had been around as an educational technology goal since the 1950s (of course in analog form).

Until 5 years ago, the dominant mode of technology-enabled collaborative and experiential learning was text-based. Largely a carryover from the pre-digital era, course management systems, e-portfolios, chat and IM are all artifacts of the 20th century. Students entering the university world today need to have outstanding writing skills to communicate, articulate, and analyze the world around them. However, their participatory culture demands more of students today then writing skills alone.

Today, and for the next 25 years the emerging model of technology-enabled collaboration and experiential learning will almost certainly be based on a video and rich media centric view of the world. This is consistent with the world outside the university and it behooves the university to embrace the opportunity to port its commitment to student success and civic development to include serious consideration of a new generation of investments to support video and rich media collaboration tools.

Here at Case Western Reserve University every incoming student, professor, and staff member next fall will have his or her own desktop video conferencing room. For campus members, you can already test the soon to be released general beta test at http://connect.case.edu Over the past 4 months or so, Adobe Connect has been used in beta to support nearly a dozen use cases from ad hoc collaboration, to group and seminar meetings, work groups, student tutoring, faculty office hours, student club activities and the like.

Connect is the front end of a series of video and rich media collaboration platforms that are being deployed in beta and with selective groups of users across the campus. Connect supports desktop video, interactive chat, whiteboard and desktop sharing, polling, and shared presentation environments. It works across platforms and the ease of use both as a presenter as well as participants observer is remarkably easy and well designed.

Ten years from now, video-based collaboration is likely to be as common as sending an email or using a course grade book in blackboard. Technological infrastructure is no longer a serious rate-limiting factor. Our student communities will be quick to adopt, modify, and innovate using this 'native' video-centric platform. It's time for our faculty community to continue its commitment to advance and support student success through effective, engaging, and enhanced learning technologies. It's going to be a very exciting ride.

For a fun yet instructive demo connect to http://mv-adobeconnect.case.edu/p72606752/


Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
Monterrey, Mexico
April 3, 2008

Posted by lsg8 at April 3, 2008 08:43 PM and tagged

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