On October 16th, Teaching and Learning Technologies met with faculty from the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business to demonstrate how to integrate Adobe Connect into the MBA program. For those who are unfamiliar with Adobe Connect, it is a web-conferencing software that can be used to make online classrooms for teaching, collaborating and presenting with a group of people in remote locations.
How the virtual classroom works
Through an account with Adobe Connect, you can create a classroom space (known as a “meeting” within the program). You can reuse the same meeting space for your classes by changing the place and time. Then, you can adjust your classroom’s privacy settings, which work similarly to privacy settings on Moodle.
With the multiple pods, or features Adobe Connect provides, you can construct a space that works efficiently with your course. Both video and audio access allows for multiple levels of interaction among students and professors.
What you may enjoy about Adobe Connect is the level of control you have over the online classroom. You can designate who speaks and when. You can change your students’ roles in the classroom, so they can make presentations or take class notes. You even have the ability to invite guests to speak in the online classes. The features and controls enable you to create the classroom dynamic similarly to one you would have in person but virtually.
In Adobe Connect, “pods” are features you can use to change the interface of the classroom. Pods have a huge role in structuring your classroom because you will utilize these features to recreate the classroom dynamic online. Here is how each pod functions:
- Sharing: This is a feature that you will likely use most often in your online classroom. It allows you to share your desktop, PowerPoint presentations and media files with the rest of your class. You can also use a whiteboard, where you and your students can brainstorm and collaborate on various topics. For guest presenters, there is a space to put a picture to show who the presenter is. As a tip, our TLT staff members suggest using the Share pod with an MP3 file at the beginning of class to make sure everyone’s audio is working correctly.
- Files: This feature lets you upload documents, PowerPoints or images for your students to download, read and follow along during class. Once you upload the file into Adobe Connect, it is saved in a comprehensive history of all uploaded documents, so you can refer to a past document without hassle.
- Notes: The Notes feature provides a space for you to post pre-written notes for your students to follow along with during class or to record notes during class discussions or collaborations. From the participant status, students cannot edit the notes, but you can promote them to a presenter position. In this role, they can take and edit notes for the other students during class.
- Q&A: The Q&A acts as a platform for questions only. When a student asks a question through the Q&A pod, professors can answer privately or share the answer with the entire class. While this can also be done in the group message or through a private message, the Q&A provides a collective space for questions, which can later be exported and shared or e-mailed to students.
- Polling: You can choose one of three different types of question formats to poll your students on the material. You can broadcast the results to show how the class as a whole is doing or see how each student answered to track individual progress.
Features to benefit students
Adobe Connect provides a number of features that are valuable for students. For example, students can set statuses throughout classes to interact with their professor and other students as if they were in a real classroom. For example, they can “raise their hand,” “agree” or “disagree” with a comment, or ask a presenter to “speak louder.” A student can then be called on, which gives them audio and video access to share their insight or even present to the class. This makes the online classroom seem less daunting, because it follows an actual class structure.
Additionally, with the chat feature within the classroom, a student can message his/her professor privately to ask a question (but professors can disable the chat feature between students). Features like the Notes pod and the ability to record an entire online session enables students to access past class sessions at their convenience.
If you’re interested in learning how to use Adobe Connect with your course, contact Teaching and Learning Technologies at 336.278.5006 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an individual consultation.