Despite taking every precaution possible including having a trial run the previous day and having a very supportive technician to hand, getting the technical side of things working took some time. The main problem appeared to be the configuration of the headphones and microphones. I have never had any problems using my lap top at home, but the computers at work appear to be a little more difficult to manage. Even though I thought I had given myself enough time to sort these issues out, it still took longer than I had imagined.
I found the session to be quite stressful. Because I felt I was trying to sell the concept of web conference to my students and to the people in Nashville, I wanted everything to work perfectly. Unfortunately, because the technical aspects of things took so long to work out, we did not have as much time as we needed to actually engage with each other. Mavis and I presented our slides which talked about how midwifery differed between the two countries, but we ran out of time to discuss things in any greater depth or answer students' questions.
It was fabulous to be able to talk to midwives in another country and once we had sorted out our technical difficulties, the actual running of the Elluminate session went really well. We all worked out how to speak and text each other, and there was some text interaction going on between students as Mavis and I gave our presentation.
I think this has wonderful potential for collaborative teaching sessions and would work especially well when thinking about midwifery in the international context. What I think web conference does is open up possibilities to interact more with key midwives, researchers and educators that students would only get to meet if they went to major midwifery conferences. The barriers to this happening are time constraints for the key midwives, and payment. But ways around this could include reciprocal arrangements eg I'll run session for your students if you do the same for my students.
Reflecting on my goals for the session
My goals included introducing students to web conference and improving my skills of facilitation. I believe the students enjoyed this opportunity, although I don't think they got as much benefit from it as they could have because we were unable to have a full discussion. However, if nothing else, this session did show that web conference has potential which I would like to explore further.
Once the technical side of things were sorted I was able to relax and enjoy the session. I do believe my skills are improving and I am feeling a lot more confident about the actual use of Elluminate. As with anything, the more I do it the better I will feel about it.
- Give myself plenty of time to sort technical issues
- Do not assume that people find Elluminate as easy to manage as I do, especially when working with institution computers that have not already been configured to Elluminate
- Try to trouble shoot as much as possible before the session
- Have someone on hand to help support with facilitation and the technical aspects
Here is a recording of the session: