Rethinking Teaching in the Sciences: April 7-27, 2008

new techniques and technologies for online delivery

new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Christine Horgan -
Number of replies: 19

Gina: From an early posting of yours: "New techniques and new technologies enable us to teach science in exciting new ways. Or do they? Can science be taught at a distance?"

In science, what are new techniques?

What are new technologies? (that we wouldn't use in Communications, for example)

Is the general opinion that science can be taught at a distance? What are the concerns?

Chris Horgan

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Mark Cruthers -

Why don't you guys take a look at WiZiQ for online delivery?

Mark Cruthers

In reply to Mark Cruthers

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Christine Horgan -
Mark: What is WiZiQ? What does it do that's different? Chris Horgan
In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Mark Cruthers -

Hi Christine,

I'm glad you asked. :)

WiZiQ is an online teaching platform, which provides a free virtual classroom environment for teachers to interact online and teach students in real time. Teachers can also build a profile, keep an availability schedule, and maintain a content library, which is associated with their profiles, by uploading PowerPoint presentations and PDF Files.

By the way WiZiQ is partnered with SCoPE. They have it in their Moodle Block.

WiZiQ offers the following features:
Works in Flash format and needs no downloads 2-way live audio/video delivery Whiteboard with Math tools Synchronous Content sharing such as PowerPoint (retains animations and transitions), PDF, Flash, MS Word, MS Excel files and videos Records all sessions to be played back in Flash format (needs no downloads)
Share PowerPoint presentations asynchronously even with narrated audio in slides
Feedback from Nellie, English Teacher
Wiziq YouTube Presentations:


WiZiQ's free Virtual Classroom is an online internet mediated classroom where the teacher and the students are connected to share a common workspace. In this online session, they make use of audio-video conferencing, text chat, whiteboard, and content sharing capabilities. There are no costs for using the virtual classroom. The sessions are recorded and are available online on WiZiQ, which can be accessed for later review or reference.

Attendees can join a session with privileges to converse verbally with others; draw and write on whiteboard; and share Presentations, PDFs, Flash and Images. The teacher may withdraw or re-assign these privileges to the attendees. A Teacher can withdraw privileges from the attendee in terms that the attendee can not converse, or upload anything to share on whiteboard; in this case, the attendee is a spectator. An attendee can also request for rights, in which case, the teacher can click on the attendee’s name to transfer control.

Free Online Virtual Classroom

Features for Teachers

  • Offers a complete online teaching management system to its registered teachers without installing any software.
  • Teachers get their own virtual classroom at no costs.
  • Provides the ability to schedule a session online through a calendar at teachers’ convenience.
  • Teachers can interact with students through an online whiteboard to share text or documents, and through a two-way audio and text chat.
  • Teachers can build their profile.
  • Provides the ability to conduct one-on-one or group sessions online.
  • Payments from learners can be accepted.
  • Teachers can maintain a learners’ corner.

Features for Students

  • Students can find teachers
  • Learn from home, live through the Internet through an easy-to-use and interactive browser based interface, without installing anything.
  • Access tutorials shared by subject matter experts
You are all invited to my next WiZiQ Technology Demo.
When: April 14
Time: 2:00PM PST
Given by Mark Cruthers online Advanced Placement teacher and education consultant.
Link to register for the demo.

(Edited by Sylvia Currie - original submission Monday, 7 April 2008, 08:15 PM. Just fixed formatting a bit to remove large spaces and changed bold paragraphs to plain)

In reply to Mark Cruthers

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Ardith White -

Hello Mark,

Where are the documents stored when using WiZiQ? When I read through the documentation, it appeared to me these were stored on a US server. Due to our privacy issues, we do not use US servers to store any information pertaining to our students. How do you overcome that problem?

Ardith White
Selkirk College

In reply to Mark Cruthers

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Christine Horgan -

Mark:

thanks for the links. I've had a quick breeze through them. This may be overly simplistic on my part, ...what I see is a much more sophisticated version of WebCT/Blackboard. WizIQ contains many of the features but the use and presentation is slicker. Right?

Chris Horgan

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Mark Cruthers -

Hi Chris,

Web CT/Blackboard and Moodle do not have a virtual clasroom (VC) or Virtual Whiteboard.  They are purely a CMS  (Course Management System), wiziq  probably has the best virtual classroom and whiteboard anywhere online.  Wiziq can also manage content like: PPTs, PDfs, MS Word and MS Excel documents that can be seen in the VC (virtual classroom) synchronously and also asynchronously.  Wiziq is the only system that can do this anywhere online.  Upload content and you'll see.

Wiziq on the other hand does not manage classes the way these CMS' do.  Wiziq has a Moodle block that allows you to go directly into a Wiziq VC session right from Moodle.

Mark Cruthers

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: another option

by Sylvia Riessner -
Hi Mark and Chris,

I've been lurking in the background cuz I'm interested in the discussion but I'm not a science teacher.

I've tried WiziQ and been impressed but I too have problems with the US server issue.

Chris, you might want to draw Sylvia Currie of SCOPE into this discussion because previous sessions on Scope have hosted presentations in another web conferencing product called Elluminate. I believe Elluminate is Canadian and that SCOPE gets to use it through BC Campus. It appears to have the same functionality in terms of online presentation and live sharing of desktops / whiteboards and you can record and store the sessions online.

Cheers

Sylvia

In reply to Sylvia Riessner

Re: another option--Elluminate

by Christine Horgan -

Sylvia:

I've used Elluminate. It's a product used by eCampusAlberta (eCA) for conferencing around the province. My experince with the software has been limited to eCA conferencing and I have found that Elluminate is no without  technical glitches.

Perhaps an unrelated questions (open to everyone), what specifically are Canadian users concerned about regarding US servers? I'm aware of copyright issues/differences. Is there something else that would be a concern?

Thanks, Chris Horgan

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: another option--Elluminate

by Emma Duke-Williams -

Perhaps an unrelated questions (open to everyone), what specifically are Canadian users concerned about regarding US servers? I'm aware of copyright issues/differences. Is there something else that would be a concern?

Can't answer from the Canadian point of view, but from a European point of view, data that could be personal, can't be stored outside the EU, as the data protection act mayn't be as stringent as EU requirements. When you sign up to sites that are based outside the EU, the more responsible ones will have a disclaimer warning EU citizens that data will be stored outside the EU, and therefore not subject to EU regs.

My gut feeling is that rather than countries (any country now) looking at any other country & saying you can't store data there, they'll be thinking "we know our laws, we can't guarantee what other's laws are, so we'll assume they aren't as good as ours". It's much easier than trying to evaluate other people's laws.

Those of you who have used Eduspaces in the past will know that the server was going to be moved out of the EU (in that particular case, to Canada) - and in the end the difficulty of copyright, data protection etc., from something that originated in the EU was deemed to complex, so they stayed in Europe.

In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: another option--Elluminate

by Ardith White -

Hi Emma,

Information stored on US servers is subject to the US Patriot Act and as such may be accessed by the US government without requesting permissions. During the course of studies, students may inadvertently disclose innocent information that may be misinterpreted. As public institutions, we must ensure the safety of our students at all times. Thus, the cautious approach to using programs such as WiZiQ.

Ardith

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Mark Cruthers -

Hello Christin and everyone,

You may want to check out this interview between myself and Meri Walker.

Ignore the money talk, because that's Meri's audience, but listen to the interview.  I give my experiences as an online AP history teacher.

Mark Cruthers

In reply to Mark Cruthers

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by J. Leong -
how do we find your interview?
In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Emma Duke-Williams -

From new techniques and technologies for online delivery by chorgan on 07 April 2008 13:38:00:
In science, what are new techniques?

To me, it's the techniques that are really critical. We've just seen a list of the features that WiZiQ offers, and there are other tools with similar issues. However, I think that in many cases it's the way that tools are used that's really critical. Just as a great teacher can give a great (face to face) lesson with next to no tools, and a poor teacher can make a mess up ... so while new technologies might enable a good teacher to be really creative (& use them appropriately) so a poor teacher mayn't use them that well, and may use them inappropriately, thus alienating students.

In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Mark Cruthers -

Hi Emma,

No question.  The excellence of a teacher is critically important whether live or online.  For the teacher I think the online technologies like Wiziq  will facilitate that teacher's ability to reach his/her students with fewer geographic barriers.  If a mediocre teacher transitions to teach online, it's reasonable to assume their online work will be mediocre as well.  The skill of the teacher is probably the most critical factor to class success whether live or online.

Mark Cruthers

In reply to Mark Cruthers

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Judy Southwell -

Hi,

I've used WizIQ when working on assignments with others in my Master's cohort and have found it really useful.  However, when I was involved in a demo of this product a few months back I understood all data was automatically recorded and stored on US servers.  Unfortunately, our Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOI/POP) Act prohibits us from using this system for teaching and learning activities in British Columbia, Canada unless we first get student consent.  Otherwise, a great free product.

Cheers,

Judy

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Gina Bennett -
Hi Chris, you asked:
>>What are new technologies? (that we wouldn't use in Communications, for example)

The kind of technologies I'm thinking about are science-lab simulations (for example, look at the Transgenic Fly lab) or remote science activities (for example, see what Ohio State University is doing with remote science activities).

Your next question, "Is the general opinion that science can be taught at a distance? What are the concerns?" is even more interesting! I'm not sure that there is a "general opinion" on this but I do know that some science teachers feel very strongly that science must be learned in a lab under the direction of a science teacher.

What are the concerns? That's exactly what I'm hoping to explore in this discussion! What are the concerns? How can these be addressed with technology? Or can they? Are virtual labs and remote science activities enough?
In reply to Gina Bennett

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Sylvia Riessner -
Hi Gina,

I was lurking but thought I'd jump in and share another use of technology to teach science/do science.

Up here in the Yukon we have been blessed (thanks to a partnership between govt and telephone company) with broadband access to most of our communities. This means we have videoconferencing capabilities and that's been a boon to our smaller communities. It means students can take their Biology 060 and Math 050 and build credits before they have to leave home and community for the 'big city'.

We taught the first Biology class a couple of years ago and when it came to the rat dissection the instructor was a little stumped as to how she could supervise the dissection properly. Thanks to a little device called the document camera (similar to an overhead projector but with an amazing camera in it), she was able to demonstrate and watch her students follow her lead in dissecting the rat. And we were able to videotape it so that they could review it if they wanted (can't imagine popping that into my VCR !)

Anyway, this year the course is being delivered again and we've added a few more twists. We have a little device that we can hook up to the videoconferencing unit and the dissecting microscope and now the instructor can share tissue samples with the students in the communities.

We also used Adobe Connect (formerly Breeze) to hook the community students into the Whitehorse computer labs so they could use the meiosis / mitosis simulation software.

Yes, technology just provides the tools but it's amazing what we can help instructor to accomplish now.

Cheers

Sylvia



In reply to Sylvia Riessner

Re: new techniques and technologies for online delivery

by Gina Bennett -
Wow, Sylvia, I am really impressed by the innovation you describe in teaching Biology in the Yukon... We do have similar equipment at our college (i.e. videoconferencing, a document camera, AdobeConnect etc.) but they are NOT used for science lab delivery. It sounds like your Biology instructor was very supportive of trying to deliver a rich science learning experience to students in their home communities. Can you tell me... were there any barriers? Do you have any data that shows how the students who were taught remotely compare with those who are taught on-site?