Teaching on-line: questions from workshop in Hamburg, 21 January 2007

Here are a couple of questions from the meta-plan board in my recent workshop in Hamburg.

Q1.How can I set up my computer for online face-to-face learning?

Hardware? (web-cam and ??)
Software (what do you recommend?)
What does it cost?

A1. I do not really feel experienced or qualified to answer these questions, but I can share my own experiences to date

I recently bought Philips web-cam. It came with a disc to install first. After that, it was relatively easy to set up the web-cam, although Barney (friend, mentor, partner in crime) needed to help me a lot install the latest version of MSN so I could use the web-cam.

So far I have tried Skype for telephoning, and seen Eric Baber use Skpe for video-conferencing at the BESIG conference in Milan.

Costs to date are pretty low – the web-cam was inexpensive and Skpe to date has been free (providing I call other Skype users)

I am going to trial these, but at the moment think the quality is not suitable for on-line teaching.

Of course, this is one end of the spectrum.

Maybe others would like to share their experiences? Click on the “Comment” button and submit your thoughts.

Q2. What’s the best technology for the virtual classroom?

A2. Here are a couple of leads:

Try: {{link http://www.nicenet.org/ Nicenet}}

Reading: for more on desk-top video-conferencing, try the chapter “Using internet-based audio-graphic and video conferencing for language teaching and learning” (Regine Hampel and Eric Baber) in Language Learning Online: Towards Best Practice Ed. Uschi Felix.

Again, any answers from others more knowledgeable in this area would be welcome!