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I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

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I've posted before about the Green Lantern movie(s) in the works. No cast has been announced, no real information has come to my attention at all about the live actionNathan Fillion as Green Lantern? - Tuesday TubeWatch

Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development: Image carving - Adobe hires imaging guru - Adobe Learning Summit Oh, man. If you have EVER spent time resizing an image, you owe it toDynamic Image Resizing

Sorry, all, for the lack of posts lately. There were some delays as Caddickisms moved to a new server, and I didn't want to lose anything here or on myServer move complete

Silence. That's all I was after. Just make the screaming stop (and prevent me from adding to it) - nothing else mattered. While the challenge presented by my youngest childThe Silence of the Lamb

I joined Facebook almost a year ago, if I remember correctly. I joined as an exercise for work. I was hearing a lot about how Facebook and similar social networkingI have a problem with Facebook, and it's Walt's fault

GateWorld - SCI FI confirms Atlantis cancellation, TV movie Stargate: Atlantis has been cancelled. The show will run through its 100th episode in January 2009 and end on a cliffhanger, whichStargate to die a slow, painful death

There is a lot going on in the world these days. The pace of life is increasing at an amazing rate. The progress we are making is incredible, and thereStop everything

Official Google Reader Blog: There's a feed for that?! I've never actually used Craig's List, but the article linked above points out that you can use feeds from that site andJob Search via RSS

Lee posted his "Nerd badge" score recently. He failed to get it, and rightly so. Not because of any lack of nerd-dom on his part, but because of the idiocyThe Nerd Badge is invalidly valid, therefore I get one

Well... "reviews" might be pushing the definition of the word. It's more like a couple of self-proclaimed geeks talking about the movie, which, as it turns out, is kinda fun. IfOld movies, new reviews

...there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying... Glory to God - Merry Christmas to everyone! (I've sung Handel's Messiah a few times,And suddenly...

Cheap trick. No, not the band. Seems like Deanna has the same sense of humor as Brother Cavel. But... we get another week of voting in, and everybody's back in play!BSG: The Last Cylon... not so revealed

Last night, my wife and I watched Star Trek: Nemesis on Syfy (I can't type that without thinking "dumbest name ever"). For those who are a bit forgetful, I'll remind youMy marriage's "Nemesis"

Brain interface: next best thing to telekinesis This is cool stuff. I'm quoting the whole article, because I'm not confident of the longevity of articles on the scifi.com site. Saving a lifeThe "THINK" system

It's very simple, really. They brought me this: I make jokes about awesomeness all the time. That is truly awesome. The dad in that video is a friend of mine from college.Why Facebook and YouTube are cool

Oprah’s Online Training – experience review

I’m currently watching the recorded version of Oprah’s first session of her “class” on A New Earth, which is about “new spirituality”. For the purposes of this post, however, the topic is irrelevant. What I’m interested in is how it’s being pulled off as an example of a massive, live, online facilitated event.

This is, I believe, the single largest event of its kind (Oprah says there are over 700,000 people connected to the course), and it’s being run by people who undoubtedly have the resources to pull it off, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

I had to download a proprietary player, which isn’t unusual for this kind of event. When I tried to get into the event (late, because I had some other commitments) for the live broadcast, everything launched, except the video/audio. Later I found out that was a common issue, because they ran into issues with so many people simultaneously trying to access the ‘class’. Nice to know the huge boys (not just the big boys) have the same problems we all do.

So I gave up.

Now I’ve gone back and am watching the recorded version in preparation for part 2, which begins tonight. I’m actually glad I got blocked out, because now I get to contrast the live vs recorded experience. As for the recorded experience:

The good

  • I’m getting no problems with the video or audio. Very smooth. Very clean. (I’m running through a cable modem, and the player reports I’m getting 706kpbs.)
  • The integration of Skype video phones is nice, and done very cleanly. (There’s a whole production staff making that integration happen, I’m sure, but the technology is out there and available.)
  • The presentation style is obviously interview, call-in show style, which is pretty engaging, though it’s still a presentation and not an interactive format (well, there are punctuations of interactivity for individuals, but not group-wide interaction). Still, I can understand doing that for an initial session. It doesn’t hurt that the presenter is an extremely talented and experienced interviewer (Oprah).
  • Nice integration of the callers’ inputs – Skype phone, phone, and email (though it’s funny that there was apparently a problem with getting an email to Oprah’s private screen at one point).
  • Extra-session activities: this is where the whole thing really gets exciting. Behind the “Talk with Others” link on the player, you get to a page that points you to discussion boards, a course-focused blog, and a way to find local reading groups. There are even links to specific discussions (Favorite Quotes, and Aha! Moments, specifically) to really focus your involvement for those who aren’t comfortable just browsing through aimlessly. This is such an important part of the experience – this is where the interaction and personal investment pays off, and likely where the most actual learning occurs. Providing these tiered ways to get involved (watching, reading, commenting, discussing) is what is going to make this a success.
  • Workbooks and exercises: Questions are presented, suggestions for ways to apply the concepts are given, and there is a place for you to respond and record your thoughts privately, in addition to the public outlets. It’s a directed study-guide. So important.

The bad

  • Commercials. Don’t put commercials in my classes. It makes it feel even more like a TV show.
  • Lack of audio control (or consistency of audio) for the commercials. I have my computer’s audio turned up because of some other audio programs I use. I turned the volume down on the course player to an acceptable level. When the commercials come on, there are no controls, and the audio jumps back to default levels. The first time that happened it almost blew my ears off.
  • Not mentioning the “extra session” materials during the session (except for one off-handed mention of the discussion boards). An orientation to the overall structure of the course, not just the presentation, would have been a great add to the first session. That’s a lost opportunity that could have helped involve those who are a little less internet savvy. Tell me how to get involved and make the most of the experience!
  • Along the same lines – the lack of an agenda hurt as well. I’d like to see an agenda for the overall class (i.e., topics for each of the 10 sessions), as well as an agenda for each session. How long is the setup/intro? How long are we going to have for Q&A?
  • The lack of live interactive moments: polls, for example, would have been of tremendous use in this session. There may be ways to get more interactivity that aren’t obvious in the recorded session (back-room chats, for example), but I’ll have to wait to see if they do that tonight.

Those are my thoughts on the recorded experience. We’ll see how it differs from the live experience I (hopefully) have tonight.

[tags]Oprah, A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle, distance learning, e-learning, online[/tags]

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