First Distance Learning Essay

The first day being in a distance learning class felt very different to me than any other class I have been in. I actually felt awkward and a little intimidated by the fact that a camera was bringing my image to Ann Arbor. I usually have no trouble at all participating in class discussion, even on the first day, and I am also not bashful in front of cameras. Somehow the combination of the two caught me off guard.

When speaking, I believe I spent most of my time looking at the camera (it just seemed like the right thing to do, although it had little consideration for the people around me in Berkeley). Some people said they could not help but look at the image of themselves. I'm not sure I had this problem, but I also noticed some people look down when speaking and I wonder if this is only due to the presence of the camera; I have a feeling most of those folks look around at their classmates when speaking in a normal class.

The topics of discussion in class vary a bit too much, and I am not especially fond of the OJ theme. I would like the discussions to have a more structured feel. In addition, some of the comments people have made seem a little long winded, in few cases totally off subject. Before you accuse me of being condescending, let me say that I caught myself once running on when I only meant to simply convey an other point of view. I think this is an important problem though, because it feels as if my attention span is reduced somehow by the remote aspect of the class. Which leads me to the question: is it my reduced attention span that is making the comments seem long, or are the comments really not conveyed as concisely as they should be?

Lastly, at this point I can't really tell where the class is headed and I do not feel comfortable with the uncertainty. I still don't know what to expect and I don't know what is expected (especially with respect to our projects and other large assignments). Until later...