I feel that I have learned a lot more about distance learning in the past couple of weeks, but it still feels like a new experience. I am learning more of the advantages of distance learning, especially that more people from different locations can participate in a class. It has been interesting to hear the viewpoints of students on both campuses, which are on different ends of the country. Although we all live in the same country, there seems to be a difference in the cultures of Ann Arbor and Berkeley. Although both groups consist of students experiencing college life, we each have a local set of experiences that we bring to the class.
I still am feeling self-conscious during the class, although this feeling has decreased some. It is hard being aware that people are looking directly at you, even if you are not speaking. It is also very distracting to see oneself while speaking. It is easier for me to speak to someone in the room than to speak to someone on a video screen.
One interesting thing that I have noticed is how we focus most of our attention on the other group. Instead of speaking to the entire group, we tend to speak towards the group on the screen. In addition, a lot of students don't turn around to look at who is speaking, instead we watch them on the video screen.
One particular issue about distance learning that still concerns me is the cost. Although it is important to research for better educational experiences, we have to consider if the costs are justified by the benefits in the long run. I hope that the student's distance learning evaluation will be helpful in learning the advantages and disadvantages to distance learning.
Distance learning seems like an interesting topic to explore and experience; and, I think I will continue to enjoy learning more about the opportunities and drawbacks as the semester progresses.