OK, so I realize it's been awhile since I've posted a blog. The truth is...I think this blog title is cursed. Let me explain...

In choosing my blog title, I focused on what my students call me. They call me "Professor B." However, that name was taken. Interestingly enough, Professor B has not blogged since 2003 after she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I didn't take it as a sign; I simply chose "MS. Professor B" for my title. Well, perhaps I should have taken the title as a sign.

Ironically enough, on June 4th, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My prognosis is positive. Surgery went well, and although it had metastasized, it hadn't gone beyond one lymph node. After recovering from surgery, I took a short break from treatment for my wedding and my honeymoon (yippee!!). Upon my return in August, I began chemotherapy. Warned that it would be rough, I convinced my supervisor to allow me to remain off campus Mondays & Fridays. Since three of the five classes I teach are online, being on campus is not a concern. Being available, however, is. Therefore, I had to devise a way to remain accessible to all of my students from off campus.

Granted, I check email in and out of the LMS about 5 times a day and read discussions at least once a day. I also make chat available for my students, and they have used it from time-to-time; however, for my on-campus students, this wasn't enough. That's when I started using Elluminate Live.

First of all, I created a link in Blackboard. My office hours are posted in the Syllabus, and during those hours, I click on the link & Elluminate loads. I also make individual appointments. Students follow the same process to visit me live online. (For a video demonstration, visit their website.)

When the "Office Hours" link is clicked, Java uploads and a new window opens. Once open, I can write on the whiteboard, share files, demonstrate websites, display videos, chat with students, and share audio. I can even record the sessions for students to play back later. If students have a webcam and a microphone, they can share videos & speak live as well.

The window looks like this (notice the interactive tools):

The most effective session I have had yet was actually with my on-campus class. I was having a particularly rough week fighting an infection. It was important to stay away from crowds for fear of contracting more germs and getting sicker. I was also miserable, but I didn't want to take another sick day. Instead, my class joined me online. They logged on to my online office hours, and although they did not have webcams or microphones, they followed along with my short lecture, asked questions via chat, and voted "yes" or "no" to my questions. I also asked some quiz questions and they typed in their responses. I hooked up my webcam, too, so they could see me.

Student comments were positive. Comments included, "This is cool, but we miss you!" That warmed my heart. Elluminate may not be a permanent solution for conducting a live class, but it's a powerful tool for days I just can't make it to campus. I can also see many other uses including telecourses, recording lectures during class, conducting reviews or Q & A sessions, and many more.

* Of course, I use Elluminate in conjunction with Blackboard 9; however, an online version outside of an LMS is available. Check it out!

Comments (2)

On October 15, 2010 at 1:20 PM , Susan said...

Wow, this looks REALLY flexible. Thanks for sharing us--and we missed you, too! Strength and health to you.

On November 2, 2010 at 12:39 AM , SG said...

Thank you, Susan!