I spent a couple of days in an online class this week for work. I think the guy teaching it was in Ohio. I have done video conferencing before, which feels pretty normal. I can see and hear the remote conference room and they can see and hear mine, so it isn’t too bad. But this class didn’t involve any video, just sound. Since it was a class on how to use software we all had to have computers, so our screens were set up to show his screen which would be either Powerpoint or the program, plus a control panel where we could type in questions. I was designated the contact person, so I had a microphone and could talk to the teacher, but nobody else had one and my microphone was usually off.
As weird as it was to be a student, I’m sure it is much harder for a teacher who has no idea if we are getting any of what he is saying. And he couldn’t even see our screens, so if someone was having trouble, then other people in the class had to try and figure it out. That aspect of it is actually pretty good because it means the ones showing others how to do stuff are learning it even better than they would otherwise. Having students help each other out is really better than having a teacher do it sometimes.
The only glitch was towards the end after a break when he was doing something on his screen (which he would do when he was testing something out or getting something ready). But he kept doing it for a while before I typed him a message saying “Are you talking?” I had done this once before, but it turned out he was just playing around with something and said he told us he wasn’t talking. This time I didn’t get a response right away. Then a few minutes later his microphone came on and he said he had just realized his microphone had been off the whole time. He had probably been talking for 5-10 minutes while the rest of us were just talking about whatever amongst ourselves, waiting for the next session to start. Using the control panel a couple of us sent little “laughing” icons and he said “Yeah, I guess you think it’s pretty funny.” I think he was kind of mad I hadn’t stopped him earlier by microphone, but I hated using the microphone and would get feedback or echo since my voice would play over the speaker.
I guess this is the way things work now and it is how David goes to high school, but it was kind of a weird experience for me. I never even saw what the teacher looked like.