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Teaching in SL

Over the years, I have been incorporating more and more technology into my chemistry classes. Here's a PP presentation I gave not that long ago. This fall (2010) will be my 3rd semester at trying to incorporate optional weekly review sessions into SL. Optional for a few reasons. (1) My classes are large; I teach two classes of about 250 students each, so obviously I cannot have everyone in SL at the same time. (2) I do have a few students under 18 - which is problematic. (3) Some students are very uncomfortable in SL. Here I'll be blogging about the trials/tribulations of encouraging students to get involved in SL. Here's the link to a video clip of a tour of my area:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Streaming My Personal Sympodium into SL

One of the most important parts of running office hours or a review session for a chemistry class is being able to work out problems.  So how would I do that in SL?  Our TAMU Instructional Technology Services folks and I searched for months before we found Wirecast from Telestream, which turns my own PC computer into a streaming server.   It did cost $450, but it was well worth it.  About a year ago, I bought myself my own Sympodium.  With Camtasia I was able to make videos that I posted on my website - they are definitely not professional, but my students find them useful.  Wirecast was fairly straightforward to install, but I admit I had my buddie, Ranil, from ITS, take care of it.  Initially, some students couldn't see the stream, but now that I tell them they must have Quicktime on their computer, and if they are off-campus, they must set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to get past TAMU's firewall, I think we're good to go.  I spent this afternoon at a local pub, Fitzwilly's (with free wireless) outside TAMU's firewall to make sure that off-campus students could see my desktop.  We'll have to see - the test will be my SL review session this Sunday......  As a note - the review session went great - all could see the board just fine, once VPN was in place!!  Whoop!!