Video conferencing on campus

I just came from a meeting with representatives from three of the UT campuses interested in using or supporting video conferencing environments for teaching and research. Most of the people were from the support sectors like Info Commons and their parallels on the various campuses. Only 2 faculty came and the other faculty member wanted to use it broadly for tri-campus lectures in the physical sciences and math–a worthy goal, but I was surprised not to have more groups using it for distacne ed and other research projects. There was a representative from KMDI there and we talked about the relative affordances of Breeze Live versus E-Presence software. I talked about using Breeze in research and teaching and the advantages of the archiving functions.
There will be subsequent meetings to leverage some cross campus support for enhancing the technology capactiy for these kinds of initiatives. Won’t help us a lot directly–but will make a more solid infrastructure to tap into.

I also discovered that James in IKIT is developing a whole website on a content management system somewhat like the moveable type platfrom that these blogs and the GRAIL project website (soon to be released) are runnning on.

Public spaces private spaces

Thinking about how to structure the connections between the individual blogs and the course, and how to integrate Wikki’s into the online graduate research environment is making me reconsider the nature of public and private space online.

Knowledge Forum is big on public space of a particular kind, but short on individual space. The blogs give a particular kind of opportunity for recording evolving thought–they are temporal (which they can also be on KF, although they are mostly distributed in discussion threads except for the learning journals) and also linked to other conversations and sites (which they can be on KF) but in addition have the possibility of extending connections to other people from other communities. This is still a limit in KF.

Why does this matter? Hodgson and Reynolds (2005) talk about the possibilities of multiple communities in educational contexts being potentially more democratic contexts than singular communities where the implied consensus model can limit participation.

This is an interesting connection between the work I am writing about on online engagement and more cultural/social explanations of online activity.