609 - Distance Learning Impressions 2

Well, I was running the cameras this time and that changed my perspective entirely. All in all I think it went OK, except I didn't realize that what the Ann Arbor students were seeing on the screen of themselves was not necessarily what I was broadcasting to Berkeley. What they saw was what I was previewing. This will hopefully change so that students will know for certain when they are on camera and when they are not.

What does this mean? It's another loose link in communication between us and them. It sure would be nice to know when you're the focus of attention. In real life, if everyone were staring at you, the social thing to do would be to speak, or smile or shrug helplessly. And conversely, if no one is looking, it feels awkward to speak - rude in fact.

In general, I thought everyone acted a little more comfortably. Discussion was smoother and less stilted. Talk in general was about the social impact of new information rather than the difficulties of distance learning. I even saw a few people move around in the room during class.

I was a little distracted with the camera work. At times I was more concerned with setting up the next shot than paying attention to what was being said. Also, sitting next to Howard and being 4 inches out of his camera angle, I became effectively invisible to Berkeley. There were no other camera shots I even had a chance of entering into. Considering that it isn't a comfortable situation to talk out of the blue (to Berkeley), I didn't participate in the discussion until the very end. That was frustrating.

With the problem of camera angles in mind, I tried to give students on the edges of the room equal air time, but it didn't work all that well. So if you want to be well known at Berkeley, then talk often and sit at the center of the room.