I just started a new course this week for my master's degree program at Lamar. I am already enjoying it immensely and haven't even submitted my first assignment yet. This week, in preparation for our study, we were given two opportunities to attend online web conferences. A co-worker and I stayed after work for the first one because it was scheduled for 5 o'clock. The one today, Saturday, started at 11 a.m. and each lasts for about an hour. The one today had the best attendance of any I have attended with about 21 students participating.
Once I am granted access to the web conference, I am met by the professor whose picture and voice appears on the computer screen via the use of a webcam and microphone. The professor allows the students to appear on the screen using their webcams and they can talk by pressing a button on the screen. Being able to talk to and see the instructors and my fellow students on a periodic basis really makes me feel much more engaged in the class. Having the web conferences has encouraged the students in our class to begin networking more by email and through other means of communication. In the upcoming class we will be working on group projects so there will be a much greater opportunity for collaboration, which is something I am really looking forward to.
I began working to assemble our team the week prior to the beginning of our class. I was very pleased with how quickly the team came together this first week. Our team leader and I were able to attend the same conference on Wednesday and got some ideas about beginning our project. Then on Saturday, our team leader had to go out of town and I was able to attend the conference and share with him and the rest of our group the ideas that were presented. I was able to get further clarification to share with our group that might not otherwise have been made available. By collaborating with members of the various teams within our class I found it was helpful to our team even though all the members could not be present. Since our class first began having web conferences the effectiveness seems to have improved each time. In my opinion, utilizing web conferencing technology can be most effective and allow for greater efficiency when working on group projects, especially when used by a small team of less than 10 members or by team leaders coming together and gathering information and direction for their team.