Seeking collaborators for online teaching delivery development

David Winet (dwinet@ocf.Berkeley.EDU)
Sat, 10 Jun 1995 07:48:36 -0700 (PDT)


This message for interested teachers and those fascinated with the
possibilites of multi-party conferencing only. Otherwise ignore.

THE NEED:

I need ideas and/or collaborators to work out how to teach online to
`virtual' classes spread out across the globe (I teach to foreign
students), using video and audio computer technology.

THE PROBLEM:

Think about it. A teacher needs to be heard and seen, *and* to see and
hear, *all* the students in his/her class.

True? Of course true!

Now what's available?

(Audio)

There's Iphone --

BUT it won't do groups, only one-to-one. What use is that for a class?

There's RealAudio --

BUT it's not live. (good for canned lectures however)

There's Sesame/Virtual Places --

BUT the audio is only one-to-one. (however there's a chat-board, so
presumably one could jump around from student to student with the audio
and talk to the others by typing).

There's Digiphone --

BUT nobody knows if it works or when it's coming out...

There CU-SeeMe for PCs with audio --

BUT rumor has it it only *receives* audio (from Macs??). Good for lectures
but not for Q&A.

(video)

CU-SeeMe actually is good video-wise for small classes. It would allow
up to 7 students --

BUT the PC version still doesn't have a chat-board or audio. Some say
POW-WOW can supplement CU-SeeMe as a chat-board, *or* one could run, e.g.,
schMOOze University and hold the typewritten portion of the class there
(arthur.rutgers.edu 8888).

But as for the audio, we wait and hope....
Will it run over a 14.4 modem clearly??? This is the key issue for a
teacher wishing to use the lowest-common denominator technology available
across the planet. Meantime, CU-SeeMe is *not* a standalone solution.

VidCall is cool --

BUT one-to-one. (good for office hours, tutoring)

(video + audio + whiteboard together)

Nothing does all of this in a *conference* mode, necessary for a class.
The new CU-SeeMe for pcs (with audio-receive) may be a partial solution.

Also realistically, *one* package is needed. Students can't be expected to
download four or five different programs, get them running, hop between
them simultaneously with the other students in the virtual class, etc.
Forget it!

(the Mac issue and cross-platforming)

Nothing goes across platforms satisfactorily.

CU-SeeMe does nice cross-platform video. Will it do audio and chat-board
as well, x-platform? Too bad you can't iphone from a pc to a mac..

CU-SeeMe for Macs is *already* ok for a class, *if* everyone has an
ethernet connection. But most people are on modems. So forget it! Even
people with Macs on modems can't be sure to pick up the audio if they
have the pictures running simultaneously, and don't even *talk* about
people with CU-SeeMe for PCs!

MBONE works with CU-SeeMe, apparently? But almost no one has MBONE or
knows how to set it up.

NetPhone apparently works well over modems and can use vat and GSM
encoding, but it's Mac only. Might work for a Mac only class, but does
it do conferences?

Maven is also Mac (and UNIX?) only and doesn't appear to work so swell
with 14.4, especially with Cu_SeeMe running, unless one turns off the
image, etc. That's a lot of juggling for people who just want to take a
class... However it is multi-cast and that is absolutely key.

Generally speaking any Mac only solution will only reach a very limited
audience, especially abroad where my students often are, and especially
when you consider that for good CUSeeMe video and audio together the Mac in
question must be on ethernet; now how many Macs are there on ethernet
compared to the number of pcs with modems in the world? 1:100,000?

(my tentative position)

1.The focus should be on PCs with modems
2.There should be a solution that involves no more than two programs
which together allow *mult-conferencing* audio, video and whiteboard.
3.The audio must be clear when both programs are running (28.8 modems do
this maybe, 14.4s don't consistently)
4.It must be cheap.

THE SOLUTION:

[THIS SPACE RESERVED FOR YOUR ANSWER]

Sorry for the long message. I hope to hear from you.

Sincerely,

David Winet
Berkeley, California