This week, we were asked what would be the best way for instructors to interact with students remotely. Specifically, this instructor wanted to know how she could supplement her screencast lectures by responding to specific questions with a video chat.
There are lots of options for this! The conference tool built into ECLearn is Big Blue Button, an open-source video conferencing tool. You can share your screen and use a webcam in real time, interacting with your entire class or just a student or two. Here’s some more information on that: http://guides.instructure.com/m/4152/c/23835.
You and your students might not be online at the same time. The built-in discussion tool is a great option for asynchronous video chat. ECLearn allows for voice or voice with video to be added to a discussion. It behaves the same as a normal discussion would, with posts and responses, but allows a more human touch to text-based online discussions. Here’s how to directly record video in ECLearn: http://guides.instructure.com/m/4152/l/41509-how-do-i-record-a-video-using-the-rich-content-editor.
We have some professors use Piazza, a tool built for exactly this type of purpose. Some people use it as a live backchannel for discussion during lecture, some use it as a place for students to post questions about homework assignments. Here’s some background about that: http://atig.emmanuel.edu/2012/12/18/tech-tip-facilitating-student-discussions-with-piazza/.
Let ATIG know if you’d like to explore any of these options further!