This past week was an online feast I had not experienced before. I tried to catch as many sessions of the conference Corporate Learning Trends and Innovations 2008 at which great minds shared their knowledge, experience, and thoughts. I will blog about that over the weekend a bit more trying to summarize important points for me before they get lost in next week’s travel excitement.
On top of that it was the 11th week of CCK08. Though I have not been an active participant in the course by way of writing blog posts, discussing in Moodle etc., I try to participate in the Wednesday Elluminate and Frida uStream sessions. I always look forward to them.
As we are nearing the end of the course next week and I will not be able to attend the last sessions (maybe next Friday if I am very lucky), I was happy that I would be able participate today during a break of the online conference. However, as our hosts Dave Cormier, Stephen Downes, and George Siemens are very busy people, we did have to have one day when a session would have to be canceled. That was the case today. Nevertheless, and due to not reading “The Daily” earlier, three of us (Eduardo, Lisa and I) gathered in uStream and reached the decision to have our session anyway. Thus, we did get to have our revolution after all (if you don’t know what I am referring to, I point you to the beginning of the uStream session of Week 5). 😉
Lisa quickly pointed us to her uStream channel, but as all of us had never experimented with uStream before, we had difficulty to bring everybody in on the audio (and video). Andreas and Carmen joined us there after they got our Twitter messages. Soon, we realized that we couldn’t get onto the uStream audio and decided to try Skype because that would allow us – in theory – to audio chat together.
That meant to get all our Skype IDs together and start a conference call. We kept uStream open to be able to text chat while continuing the tech experiment in Skype to get everybody in there. After some bits of discussion in Skype in a smaller conference call with three of us and the other ones listening to Lisa filling them in and text chatting in uStream, we were all united: Eduardo in Uruguay, Lisa in Southern California, Carmen in Minnesota, Andreas in Germany and I in Luxembourg.
Unfortunately, the tech gods did not have their protective eye on me during that hour. I could only get sound through uStream although I was on Skype and could be heard through there. On top of that my audio lacked behind between 30 seconds and 1 minute thus making it difficult to contribute to the conversation in a timely fashion. I usually cut in while others were talking and I felt aweful about that because I interrupted the entire conversation. I resorted to text chat in the end but could hear everybody.
As Lisa rightly said, “And here, you know, the pipe really was more important than the content.” That was certainly true. We had to figure out how to connect and not just connect but bring everybody on the same tool and allow for participation (no willing CCK08 participant left behind). Due to the technical problems, we could not finish our discussion on the blog software we used for what reason, what we will do after CCK08 will be over, whether we will continue blogging, staying in contact etc. It would have been a really interesting discussion had we had more time and mastered our internet communication tools better.
Hosting a live session certainly takes preparation and even when you have all the technology available to you that does not mean that it will cooperate and do what you want. However, we managed to get connected and stay that way more or less using two tools (not in one environment) simultaneously.
A big THANK YOU to Jeff who usually manages our Friday sessions and stays on top of his tech game to connect Dave, George, and Stephen to us from wherever they are on the planet and with whatever internet connection they have to work with. He’s always in the background handling the difficult part of connecting everybody as smoothly as possible.
After our allotted time for our Friday class, everybody went back to their other tasks. I wondered what happened to the intentions to have meetups as they were discussed at the beginning of the course. There are two Second Life group that meet / met regularly if I remember correctly: one English-speaking one and one Spanish-speaking one. Are there other groups? Maybe even face-to-face ones? How often do / did they meet? What are their experiences?
Our little group was a great experience today, we stayed in class, and learned together without our teachers / instructors / facilitators / moderators / curators / enablers…