Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Elluminating CCK08

Just had the first Elluminate session.  I had anticipated/feared hundreds or even more than 1000 people, but there were around 70 in the "room."  A good interface, with some nice features, like a raised hand, yes or no vote (green check or, as people commented, a pretty hostile looking thick red x), a microphone you could "grab" (click on, which I eventually did right at the end, because for whatever reason, I am shy about the voice chat), and a white board.

The conversation was free-wheeling, nicely moderated, and interesting, if a little on the slack side.  A good first day.  One of the things I notice is that there are many distractions.  First of all, there is my computer, with incoming e-mail, browser windows peeking out and tempting me, and everything else there.  Next, there is the whiteboard that people were doodling on.  But the best/worst is what someone rightly called a "back channel," the text chat.  In part because there were so many people, the text went by fast, too fast to keep up.  In the "Creativity in SL" course, which did have fewer people, the text chat and voice chat were complementary, and at times they functioned that way today, but mostly it was a separate and sometimes undercutting, snarky thread.  Even reminded me a couple of times of the students you  have to hush at the back of the class.   I'm not sure I like the fragmented experience of the Elluminate space, although I definitely see the possibilities.

1 comment:

gdietz said...

Dear Professor LL,

I hear you on the back channel. Sometimes it is great, sometimes it is distracting. I think it depends a lot on the audience, how the materials are created to allow people to participate, and the moderators.

One of the cool things about Elluminate is that you can selectively delete a person's ability to do text chat, or delete that right en masse. And you can do it on the fly based on the current context of the discussion - in other words you can turn that right on and off within a session.

A good read is "Crazy Busy" by Ned Hallowell (author of driven to distraction) that talks about the true nature of multitasking and how we really can only focus on one thing at once, regardless of how we think we are multitasking.