I don’t think the sound quality of video conferencing is very good. I’ve tried Skype and QQ. I hear Google is better but I don’t think it will be better by much. All of these things are going to get better and better in the future as connection speeds improve, microphones and cameras and the video conferencing technology improves. In short, video conferencing is the future.
I have seen some “videocasts” made by some bloggers and magazine journalists. They seem to relish wearing the big headset with the attached microphone. I’m not sure why.
When I’m doing video conferencing with my students, I think “TV news”. Teaching online by video conferencing is a whole new game and there is a lot of problems with it and even some general resistance to it. People always think flesh and blood face-to-face is better. I have to overcome that mindset.
So this is something I take as a direct challenge and focus on it and how to overcome it. How can I make the video conferencing experience as positive as possible. And so I have considered my video conferencing studio.
Pay attention to appearance. What is your student going to see?
The whole “work at home” SOHO idea embraces the idea of working in your pajamas but my students will not enjoy looking at me in my pajamas. I make a greater effort at looking nice in a video conference than I do at a face-to-face lesson.
I don’t want a big headset that makes me look like an airline pilot or NFL coach. I use earbuds and a clip on mic.
My window overlooks the garden which is full of mango trees. I turn the desk so that this scene is my background. It is very pleasant.
I look straight into the camera just as all professionals on TV do. They look straight into the camera and you don’t feel they are looking at a machine. You feel they are looking at you. I want my student to feel that.
It is important to be more focused on what the student is seeing and experiencing than what we are seeing and experiencing.
Teaching by video conferencing is a whole new approachfraught with challenges. We have two choices, wait until all the problems are solved and everyone is doing it or we can launch ourselves into it now and start working on these problems, solving them or minimizing them until the technology catches up.