Well, we are in week 6 of the semester and it is amazing how quickly the time has flown since my last post. The Hy-Flex model we are using in “Animals in Society” is has been very well received by students. And, in spite of a few minor glitches here and there (like the day I forgot to hit the “record” button), has been implemented extremely smoothly. I cannot overemphasize the importance of having a good team assembled for a project like this. I can say unequivocally that the success of this project is due to the people that have been involved since day 1, and without the variety of expertise and perspectives we would not be having nearly as much fun!
The uptake of the use of the Adobe Connect technology as a course attendance option was very quick. We rolled it out for student attendance during the first lecture in Week 2 (after the students had tested all the technologies by participating in the “Safari” on Carmen). We climbed from approximately 20% attending online the first lecture it was available, to 40% for the second lecture, and quickly rose to approximately 60% attending via Adobe Connect by the end of week 4. Attendance via the online option has continued at about the 60% rate, with Fridays being a little higher than Wednesdays. A tribute to the success of this project is that the absentee rate for the Friday before the Labor Day weekend was a little over 6% (for a Friday afternoon class) – I don’t think that I am alone in considering this may be an indicator that flexibility in attendance could support improved class attendance patterns! Of course, we have a ways to go through the semester, including the mid-semester ‘doldrums’ we have been warned to anticipate. However, so far, so good.
We are collecting data by means of student surveys and will be utilizing a focus group strategy to gain richer input. With the information provided by both, we will know much more about how this project has been received by students and whether the use of the technologies we have implemented enhance the learning experience.
So for now, full steam ahead!