Are you using Skype or videoconfererencing with your students? How do you assess student engagement? We are developing a student survey and would like your input.

Tags: skype, videoconferencing

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Please share!!! I just asked the question on Twitter...
While I do not do this now, I would like to emphasize the importance of your question.

Three years ago, I taught a class of engineering students (in Los Angeles) assigned to help design some proposals for a non-profit in the Congo. We set up a 45-minute video conference for the class with various officials to gain a clearer conception of the project requirements and the larger context. It was a good idea, but between the poor language skills and weak connection, I must confess that the experience was more disheartening than inspiring.

Since only a few students could speak, many other students drifted to reading notes and other activities. Perhaps a webcam would have imposed more external pressure to focus on the lesson, but the technical problems of a simple phone call emphasized the tremendous challenges.

Bottomline: double-check the technology, consider language, monitor time differences , and make sure that all students have a reason to focus on the videoconference .... especially if things get slow..

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