Carlos Torres

  • COLLABORATE REVIEW
  • Carlos D. Torres
  • Dept. of Anthropology, SSU
  • 10/1/14

Project Description

It was my intention to use Collaborate technology to bring a media professional to the classroom, for ANTH 358 – Media Anthropology for the Fall or 2014 semester. I decided in the fall to invite a young professional currently working in a non-profit to address my class via Collaborate. On 9/9/14, I solicited Teju Adisa-Ferrar to join our course for a brief conversation, an open forum to discuss the possible research projects for students in my class, creating a Powerpoint presentation to structure our discussion points. I asked her and another young professional, Kelsey Wambold to join our discussion; Kelsey was to join us in person. Tim Hensel and I loaded up Collaborate on the week of my class, on 9/15, and we tested the system that afternoon remotely from my house in Novato (Tim was at SSU). One do the technical issues I had was that I was required to download and preload Java 7. I was able to create a shortcut on my desktop for the Java Collaborate session, but I think this might be something others will also have to do with their potential discussants. Though we had some issues with audio at first, it seemed to work. Tim and I also created a link shortcut through Google. I asked Teju to try the system out beforehand when she had a few minutes, but she ignored this request and unfortunately this proved to be necessary.

Project Day(s) Execution

On 9/16/14, I had a guest speaker in class, Merith Weisman. I took the opportunity to try recording her talk via Collaborate, and it seemed to work well except for the fact that it only recorded her and not her presentation because of the direction from which she spoke (camera did not capture both her and her presentation). I also noticed that my screensaver kicked in during recording; with the next set up for in-class Collaborate, I was extended my screensaver time limit substantially.

(editor's note: upload the PowerPoint directly into Collaborate instead of trying to film it being projected onto a screen.)

On 9/18/14, I arrived in class at 2:45 P.M. to open up Collaborate via moodle for Teju. SSU wireless was intermittently working unfortunately, so obliged to wait for this technical glitches to sort themselves out. I had Collaborate up and running at 3:00 P.M. and received word from Teju that her google shortcut hadn’t worked so I had to resend her the full link to the Collaborate session. She was able to load up 5 minutes later at 3:10 P.M. but I wished we had had time to test the system out between us beforehand.

When she joined it, Collaborate worked well but minimized her face when she was speaking to a very very small portrait. She was able to see my discussion points via Powerpoint slides, and this helped her prepare for answers. One of the technical issues I faced is that Teju could only see a few of the students from her point of view. Yet I had to be close to the computer to scroll through Powerpoint slides. To use Collaborate most successfully, I think it would be best to arrange seating narrowly and scroll through slides remotely, as if seated in a conference-table format.

(editor's note: Upload the PowerPoint and let the presenter move through the presentation on their own pace, thus no need to require anyone else to move through the presentation.)

Results

Pluses

I thought record function Collaborate was very useful. I know have discussion points from my guest discussant that I can replay or put into text if need be. This is especially useful for brainstorming session I should think. If I had a guest who wanted to give a remote lecture with slides, I think Collaborate would work well. I noticed in the recording of the session that slides were also recorded of the full presentation. I plan to use Collaborate or other teleconferencing software for Winter Intersession - ANTH 490. I think each teleconferencing software should probably used per format, but the recording potential of Collaborate is substantial.

Minuses

 I wished I had found a way to be able to create a fuller screen shot of Teju on many occasions. I also noticed editing the text of my Powerpoint in Collaborate was problematic, though it was easily uploaded.

(editor's note: The video window is detachable and resizable.)

(editor's note: When a PowerPoint is uploaded into Collaborate it becomes an image. That is why it is no longer editable. PowerPoint files must be edited in PowerPoint.)

Challenges

Technology. I had to download Java 7 to use, and had to continue to to go through a Java 7 shortcut. Also, one hour of guest collaboration is a long time to keep everyone in attention and focused upon tasks.

Other Input from Team

 On 9/18/14, at 2:45 P.M.

Barbara’s input – She had had a partner who used Collaborate before. Barbara used her daughter for two sessions, and her used here to talk about technical writing, manuscript writing. 32 students logged in so Barbara used Collaborate basically as an online course. She used the white board like padlet for notes. She collaborated with three faculty, had time for students to weigh in on conversation, had students from 5 different counties. She talked about writing as communication and clarity.