Saturday, September 20, 2008

Virtually there

I have become a virtual teacher. I am teaching the rudiments of archaeology on an internet course in the open university. In practice this means that the students follow the lectures at three different locations over the country. What is sort of silly is that the students sit in a classroom and listen. So they don't have their own computers and microphones and the interaction part of the lecture is nearly non-existent. The only way to communicate is using the chat function of Connect Pro, the program we use for broadcasting the lectures.For the students, I am a talking head on a screen. For me they are even more unreal. Because they have no microphones, I'm talking into a complete silence which feels very weird. Luckily I can at least see a few of them in a webcam picture, so I know there is somebody out there, but I can't really see their reactions - whether they seem to be interested or bored out of their minds.

Am I witnessing the future of teaching in universities?

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