Friday was our monthly meeting of the Ocotillo Online Learning Group (OLG) and we had a lot of anticipation, since this was our second annual meeting where we arranged a panel discussion with Maricopa students so they could tell us of their online learning experiences. Last year, it was lively, and packed the room with more than 50 faculty, staff, and administrators.

This year, we had seven student on our panel (3 no shows), representing 5 of our 10 colleges. The session was utterly fantastic- these students were honest, and shared some incredible insights about their online classes, the technologies used/abused. What is utterly disappointing is that there were maybe 20 people who showed up (and they all sat in the back, many left early). Perhaps it is one of those things due to the fact we have been recording / podcasting our meetings — just like the philosophical question, “If we podcast lectures, will the students stop showing up?”. I am struggling to reconcile this lack of interest in hearing what students have to say.

So, yes, it was recorded on my iRiver, but its going to take a few days to edit and post. So this is just the teaser. My brain is like a sieve not remembering some of the best quotes. Most of all, I walked away that there is no easy way to generalize as this group of 7 had a fair amount of diverse ideas that were not the same. When asked about how valuable the addition of audio content would be, some were very favorable, one was just abhorrent (“They are already using powerpoint to repeat what’s in my textbook, I don;t want audio repeating things again”).

More than one insisted if it is audio, it needs to be in MP3 format. One student described how his classes were not using audio, but he was- he recorded his own audio notes about he content, and absorbed it in his car stereo on long commutes to school.

So yes, the audio is on its way, and it will be okay, but it really is now a match for the in person experience. It should appear by mid week at:
http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/ocotillo/olg/notes.php?yr=0506&id=7

The post "What The Students Say" was originally dropped like a smoking hot potato at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2006/03/what-the-students-say/) on March 4, 2006.

4 Comments

  • Alan,
    I worry about podcasting in much the same way that I worry about active smart boards/ active whiteboards.

    Dougal: Watch this, Ted. (rubs letters off blackboard) You see? You can rub off the letters.
    Ted: But, Dougal, you can do that with any blackboard.
    Dougal: What?

    Both technologies seem predilcated on keeping the “sage on the stage” in terms of learning. It will takes a well planned pedagogical approach to ensure we get past this.

    Artichoke

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  • Looking forward to hearing the audio, Alan. The responses you’ve detailed already point up something very important: if we have multiple channels open, multiple ways for students to have the experience and reinforce it for themselves later, we’re allowing students to play to their cognitive strengths. Audio will work great for many (and, as I’ve argued, helps students to understand that listening is an activity, not a passivity), but not everyone. Some will remember an image. Some will remember a particular aside the professor goes into while he or she is, yes, on the stage. There’s theatre in the classroom, and should be, in my view. And so forth.

    The more channels we have open, the greater the opportunity for serendipity as well. Chance favors the prepared environment as much as it favors the prepared mind.

  • Gardner-

    That did come up… the students recognizing the power and appeal of content, learning in different modalities, and choces, and at the same time recognition of the time/skill constraints on faculty/schools to truly be able to support this.