Enhancing Online Communities with Voice and Webcams

My Refelctions on a New Learning Experience

From Buth, Nov 25, 2003

Hello all, Thank you Vance for your last message. The links including web pages, such as Aiden's vConference with Mongolian teachers, and websites are really useful. I'm sad as this session is to end soon. Although I wasn't very active as I expected myself to be due to work and family circumstances, I have learned a great deal reading comments, questions, and feedback posted by most participants and Vance.
Assisting in this session is another new learning experience, which is indeed an eye opener. I learned a lot from Laine's questions on technical problems encountered during our online meetings to test with voice or web cams. Those questions helped me learn about my level of knowledge on such technical issues. This of course motivated me to learn more about hardware on my pc and other matters in order to be able to help my students once we are ready to use voice, in the near future. Thanks Laine for your enthusiasm and dedication.

Furthermore,observing Vance's teaching method and approach used in this session taught me more about e-learning, organizing an online learning group, and how to effectively utilize some CMC tools, such as blogs.

For example,I used his students' blogs to motivate some of my students to develop their blogs, posting more entries and adjusting their previous ones. Showing my students what Vance's have done with their blogs really worked. My students liked the idea of adding images and links to their blogs. Some of them were embarrassed about their self-intorduction paragraphs after reading the introductions of the UAE students, and promised to edit theirs. We agreed that we shall do these amendments during our next c-lab session.

Finally,I hope to meet with other participants to test and experiment together with other vedio and voice tools.If you are interested in trying http://www.ispq.com/ a videochat and a Webcam chat tool, which I learned about from Real English Online community, please feel free to contact me whenever you see me online, or send me an email message to set a meeting.


Vance thanks everyone, Nov 25, 2003 (published with permission)

Hi Buth,
Thanks very much for your kind message. It's great to be able to learn from each other.
Buth and I met for the first time during this course, on the occasion of Global Learn Day. Before that meeting we had enjoyed a fruitful online collaboration since early 2002. Venny likewise I met for the first time in Taipei just before this course started, but again had enjoyed an online collaboration for several years before that. I met Dafne soon after our first online encounter in 2001 because we both attended the TESOL conference in March 2002 in Salt Lake City. I haven't met Maria Elena yet, but I now owe Michael Coghlan an visit in Adelaide and Maria is not that far away in Melbourne.

I mention all these kind people because I want to say a special thanks to them for responding to my call for help on the course. I know that all of us have been quite busy, Daf with her dissertation, Maria with her degree studies, Buth with her daytime job in Kuwait (like mine in Abu Dhabi), and Venny ... he told me about the admin load he bears in Taipei, so these are not people with time on their hands. They are however people with a keen commitment to the power of professional development through online communities and I know that their energy and enthusiasm has greatly enhanced what we have been able to accomplish in the last 5 weeks.

And of course I'd like to thank those who signed up for the course and I hope you have benefited from it as active hands-on participants or as passive recipients of our emails. Not everyone comes to the fore in our communities but many write and tell us that they absorb and appreciate our emails, longtime silence at their end notwithstanding. And we also see colleagues suddenly take wings and fly with us, so hope to see you 'up there' one day soon.

And back to Buth, let's try out http://www.ispq.com/ this Sunday noon GMT at Webheads ... will you be there? Also, let me know when your students have overtaken mine in their blogs as I'd like to embarrass a few of my lads as well. Maybe the competition will provoke further creativity. My guys are doing pretty well, incidentally, when you consider that they're coding from scratch using Notepad. I'm teaching computing, remember? I used to be in computer assisted language learning, but now I'm into language assisted computer learning (inside joke).
Looking forward to seeing you in our online communities.

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©2004 Buthaina Al Othman