Marica's meanderings

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The miracles of modern communication

I am currently participating in an online course on distance education facilitated by Joe Levine from Michigan State University. Have a look at this link for more details. It has been an interesting experience for me as the people in this course are from different parts of the world.

There has been a lot of discussion on how many of the participants do not like synchronous chat as a part of their learning programme so Joe decided we should all give it a go and see what happens. To set up a suitable time for us to do this was interesting. Joe sent us all an email giving us the instructions on how this was going to work and the time and date he had chosen for the chat session. Then he had to work out all the different times for the participants - we are talking about people participating from different parts of the USA, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, Zimbabwe and New Zealand. Everyone else was going to be online on Monday 1 November but in my case it was to be Tuesday 2 November! You can work out different times around the world from this site.

The time of the session for me was from 7am to 10 am this morning. As I had a very late night last night and had a lot of things to do before work 7am was not a viable option. When I arrived at work I thought I would log in quickly and see what was happening. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of a discussion with someone from USA, Switzerland and Brazil.

My colleagues at work were busy wondering what I was doing as I was furiously typing messages as we discussed issues on copyright and intellectual property relating to online materials, research in distance education, the pros and cons of this type of virtual chat session and so on.

It was truly an incredible experience. I still marvel constantly at the miracles of modern communication!

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