As Joanna and I chatted before class began today, we joked about how these classes would be great subject groups to study technology in the classroom, at least at the post-secondary level. The struggles and trials and tribulations of getting a master’s cohort on educational technology to work through assignments using educational technology is a built-in experiment. Of course that is not lost on the professors in charge, but it made Joanna and me wonder whether our movements were being tracked and we were in one giant experiment! I would guess we would be the control group, and the online group would be the experimental group?
I was even more acutely aware of the “experiment” as Matt from the library came to talk with us. At the end of his tutorial, which left a lot of us in his wake, there was a check-in with the online folk. To be sure, as quick as Matt was, he fixed all of the problems that arose in the room (save for those who could not download Zotero without admin access). Trevor chimed in that he got stuck fairly early on, and after that it moved along faster than he could keep up. This to me highlighted the advantage of being in the room with Matt, as well as my proximal neighbours. There were times when I leaned either to the left or the right to ask Heather or Clay about some part I had gotten stuck on. As well, when I told Matt I was stuck, he ran over to get me back on track. These interactions either occurred spontaneously and quickly (maybe 5-10 seconds) or spontaneously and drawn out (until my problem was solved). The online folk (except the Fort St. James group) did not have either the advantage of someone literally beside them to ask, or the troubleshooting presence of the instructor at their immediate beck and call. Those online folk would have to have unmuted their mics and then shared their screen with Matt for him to see where they were stuck. Of course that was not impossible, but it would have lengthened Matt’s time with us, and his time was limited. Even for us in the room, the information came at us at warp speed, but we clung to our seats so as not get thrown into the abyss. In the end, Trevor asked Matt whether he could contact him later to straighten out where he got stuck, and that was fine with Matt.
So it made me think about how things may proceed in the Fall and beyond, as we are ALL going to be the “experimental” online folk. Hmm…certainly connecting with a few others for support, both moral and intellectual, will be key.