I have been having a field day lately with tech applications as I make the most of my institutional toe-hold in Madison.
Madison Area Technical College is a public community college with over 15,000 students, a string of 8 or 9 campuses across south and central Wisconsin, and a deep bench of IT and human resources for technology.
A few of the innovations I am working on in my teaching:
- In my course on American Government, we use Cisco Telepresence so that I simultaneously teach to two classrooms at West Madison and Watertown 45 miles away. In each of the two identically designed classrooms there are three giant screens below cameras with mikes throughout and controlled audio so that two-way video-conferencing works quite well. I am learning the ins and outs, virtues and pitfalls of this technology. It has great potential, I think, particularly for global studies.
- I am training to design and teach Hybrid courses, which combine online education and traditional “face-to-face” teaching. This is a hot trend in higher education, since it saves money for the institutions and is popular with students and faculty alike. Supposedly many students have been learning more effectively when not required to warm seats in lecture class for 40+ hours a semester – egad!
- The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at MATC has a fabulous team of educators. Experts in all things Teaching and Tech. They have been teaching me how to work Google, Windows and iPad programs – as well as all the rest here – with great patience and indulgence.
- Virtual visitors: I aim to develop a capacity to “Skype In” guest speakers to my class. For example, let’s say I want to have Mark Nichols talk to my class about his new work on India’s foreign policy (I always think of Mark for this because he is such an insider and such a good talker). But Mark is in Washington and not in Madison. The idea is to have him video-call in live to present to and converse with students. I am keen on finding a way to give the virtual visitor a video of the class, to enable him or her to see the students and directly engage them. My CETL friends tell me that we can do this on the phone using Telepresence and get a live two way feed between the Virtual Visitor and the classrooms at both of the two campuses – but that is just for a phone call, not yet with a video link. I am sure it is technically possible, and bet it would be quite easy. Does anyone have any ideas or know anyone who is working on this?
Your thoughts and comments welcome.