I find that my impression towards video conferencing have improved. As I become more familiar with the technology, I grow more comfortable with distance learning. Now, the format seems to promote discussion. However, I feel that this is primarily because of the newness and the novelty of it. From my perspective, I am making an effort to participate. However, it is interesting to note that all of us have adapted fairly quickly to the unique structure of discussion. Because it is so easy to distort the transmission, the class demands that only one person speak at a time. Those with points must wait until called upon. The patience demanded of us is something we have become unfamiliar with. Elementary school was probably the last time we had to wait and raise our hands. Maybe this is good, in that it allows us to format our thoughts better, instead of just speaking at whim. It seems like everyone is making an effort to participate though.
The people in Michigan are becoming very familiar to me. Whereas early on, it was hard to see these video images as real people, now they are beginning to seem more life-like. It helps to associate names with the faces because this allows for some personal information about the images. I have become used to many of the faces and their mannerisms and behavior. However, those people that are not as vocal remain anonymous to myself.
All in all, distance learning seems to be improving from the first couple meetings. No longer is there uncomfort from using this new medium. However, the unique format of discussion has taken some getting used to. Most importantly, the technology does not hinder the distance learning. Though it still has some problems, these are easily overcome through constant use.
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