Further Thoughts on Distance Learning

One of the great advantages of studying with people in the same city is that you have a chance to interact outside of class. You see them in the computer lab, in the library, in the bar and at the coffee shop. At all of these places, there are opportunities to discuss the previous class, new assignments, what we think of the professor and our fellow students. In addition, there is an opportunity to get to know students on a more personal level.

One of things which I have found to be very frustrating in this class is that I have had limited opportunities to have contact with Berkeley students outside of class. I know that forums have been created to support this interaction, USENET, CU See Me, and even e-mail, but we have not really taken advantage of these yet. In the last few days, I have realized that I really miss this aspect of the traditional classroom setting.

I still find it very frustrating that I cannot see all of the Berkeley students in one camera shot. I want to get a feeling for what is going on in the other classroom, but am not able to do this because of the camera.

On a more positive note, after a few sessions of videoconferenced classes, I am beginning to associate faces, names and points of view with many of the students in Berkeley. This recoginition allows the discussion to be "seamless," as they refer to it in groupware. More so every class session, my awareness of the presence of thesupporting technology fades. I am able to see people on the TV monitor as if they are close to me, often unaware that they cannot see my face as I see theirs.

Goals for the coming 2 weeks:
1. Increase my participation on USENET groups. Use this as a vehicle to begin discussions with students on both campuses.
2. Create bibliography of working group readings for class, both on USENET and on HomePage.
3. Learn more about activities of other working groups.