Take a look at the equations on the board and you’ll get a sense of the difficulty Wendy is having reading the board. While Dr. Brown is doing a great job being verbally clear and is generally keeping writing within the field of vision, the lecture experience is a bit like putting on “drunk – goggles” and trying to function.
To make matters worse, Wendy is a bit shy, soft spoken, and very courteous, feeling uncomfortable, either interrupting class or imposing on others.
This combination of technical issues [poor resolution, lousy lens – no optical zoom – no camera control from our end] and a very polite student, made for a terribly unproductive recitation session today. Wendy was in a group which included two students in Durham…the session began with one of the Durham students [I have not gotten permission to use their names yet] trying to interact with Wendy while the other student was talking to the TA in Durham. Communication seemed difficult as the Durham student was distracted by the TA communication and lost some enthusiasm, in part perhaps, due to the lack of responsiveness from Wendy. Once the TA had finished guiding the other group member, that group member tried to explain the problem on a white board. This was once again challenging to read, at best. The problem was never completed so that Wendy could compare results, and the two Durham students then began working together or individually on paper, so all Wendy and I could see was the top of their heads. Dr. Brown did stop by to check on the groups progress and also worked at the white board for a short time, still with little reaction from Wendy. At one point Wendy helped explain a question from the female student in her recitation group in Durham, but otherwise there was no further interaction until, Dr. Brown gave the quiz, which he copied onto the white board for Wendy.
Can you read this?
Have you ever experienced being visually handicapped?
I think Dr. Dan and Dr. Brown were hoping this would be easy to do in a “down and dirty” fashion, but we are all finding that is just not the case. For distance learning with intense, math oriented courses, the technology issues really need to be carefully addressed. I am trying to get a hold of equipment which will allow Wendy and I to control the view and zoom remotely and which will also allow us to use it like a document camera, so we can look down at the recitation groups table and read what they are writing.
Yes, as you may gather from this post, I was a bit frustrated today. I am now over the initial novelty of the Tanberg, which works great as a video phone booth, and did provide that initial, “this is fun and possible” feeling, but simply gave me a headache today. This is still a work in progress as they say.
At least our lab on Monday went along relatively smoothly…here is a picture of Wendy “floating” a charged piece of tape over our electrophorus.