Determined to Hold Classes as Usual

11 Feb 2010

Thanks to Bill Garr and Janet Russell, I was already “up and running” with Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro 7 (AACP7) and had been using it for “Week End Help Sessions” – during which I would go over homework problems and answer questions on-line.  My Phys-042 class has an enrollment between 160 and 170, but since the Help Sessions were recorded and the recordings available via a URL provided by me through Blackboard, the on-line sessions usually drew no more than 50 or 60 students.

On Monday, our first “snow day,” I was determined to hold classes as usual and announced to both my Phys-041 and Phys-010 classes that we would meet on-line, using AACP7.  That worked fine for -010 because there are only 50 to 60 in that class.  For -042 however, I had something of a cyber-space fire-drill on my hands because AACP7 would only allow 100 students in.  Bill tried to get the AACP7 folks to expand that constraint, but that did not happen.

Last week I attended the Elluminate Live (EL) demo hosted by CNDLS and received a follow-up message from Susan Pennestri asking if she could be of any help.  When I cam up against the “100 student wall” in AACP7, I asked Susan if EL could handle the 160-170 -042 class and she said “No prob” – or words to that effect.

On Tuesday, Susan trudged through the snow to a cafe (so she could access the internet) and with help from her and Vartan Akchyan, within an hour I was “up and running” with EL.

I held both classes today using EL and things went very smoothly.  The students asked questions via the the Chat board and both lectures ran for their regular 50 minute period with the same PowerPoint slides that I had planned to show in class.  [Both recordings are now available via the "EL link" in the COMMUNICATIONS Section of Bb.]

I have told both classes that we live on a cul-de-sac in DC which has not seen a plow in weeks.  Even if the University is open on Friday, I do not expect to be there, but I do plan to hold both classes during their regular periods using EL.  I’ll also be hosting another “Week-End Help Session”, but this time using EL.

Bottom line:  Thanks to the excellent help from the folks at CNDLS, neither Phys-010 nor Phys-042 has missed a single step during the “Great White Out of 2010″!