Learning Solutions and Application, CITS
Adobe Connect is a web-conferencing tool used for hosting a live seminar in a virtual classroom environment, which includes an instructor, students, and guest speakers participating via their laptop’s cameras and microphones. It provides a space where lecture, learning, discussion, sharing of ideas and dialogue can actively take place in a virtual environment, in real time mode.
In Adobe Connect, students login with their computers for class discussion, share PowerPoint presentations, activate web links, answer multiple-choice questions or participate in chat.
In the virtual classroom, the faculty can provide an environment that effectively complements their teaching pedagogy and design with students’ digitally native skills. For example, students can use chat or instant messaging (texting) to further enhance the classroom and learning experience with active discussions about the subject matters being taught.
The Virtual Classroom in Adobe Connect (Image By: Randall Packer)
With growing interest and wide adoption of the flipped classroom approach, web-conferencing live broadcasted lectures effectively merge remote learning with virtual classroom activity by keeping everything in the live domain. The real effectiveness of the broadcast medium is to preserve the dynamic of the live lecture in all of its spontaneity, offering students a mechanism for immediate feedback, while still taking advantage of remote or virtual learning.
The web-conferencing medium also allows a professor who is on the move, to potentially teach their class from anywhere in the world virtually (within time-zone considerations). It dissolves the walls of the classroom, enabling remote students and lecturers to participate from anywhere in the world with presentation functionality enabled, using PowerPoint presentations and web-based media, all under the control of the presenter. For dynamic discussion within the virtual classroom, faculty can conduct the lecture themselves and appoint an assistant to moderate the discussion in the chat and answer questions from students. This ensures that students get their queries answered during the lecture without affecting the presenter and hence, it achieves a richer learning experience.
Key Features of Adobe Connect:
Adobe Connect uses different pods for different functions within the web browser. These pods allow faculty to make presentations, use different layouts for interactivity and motion in their virtual classroom, create and share web links, and create questionnaires for teaching their class virtually.
It also allows them to create a meaningful live interaction with their students on the use of video, audio and chat. With several customisable pods available online, faculty can easily share videos from YouTube and Vimeo, randomly post questions to students to improve their learning
How Adobe Connect is used at the School of Art, Design and Media
Associate Professor Randall Packer from the School of Art, Design and Media uses Adobe Connect for his classes. He uses Adobe Connect in many creative ways –as a means for live online performance to teaching his class remotely.
In his class Open Source Studio: Internet Art and Culture, he has been using Adobe Connect and web-conferencing extensively to stage live collaborative performances, including a performance at the Art of the Networked Practice Online Symposium uniting student mobile phones with live theatre.
Performance blending broadcasting with live theatre from the Art of the Networked Practice Online Symposium (Image By: Randall Packer)
He had adopted Adobe Connect to stage a live blended dance performance with Arizona State University, where students from Singapore and a dancer from Arizona State University danced together virtually and their videos were combined together electronically. This has enabled him to create a live dance performance while the dancers were physically in different parts of the world.
Live blended dance performance: A collaboration between NTU and Arizona State University
(Image By: Randall Packer)
He also used Adobe Connect to host an online symposium, with the Art of the Networked Practice Symposium, which had more than 500 attendees from over 40 countries around the world.
In addition to the performances and the symposium, Prof Randall uses Adobe Connect to teach his classes regularly.
Possibilities for the future:
Adobe Connect truly provides a dynamic virtual classroom space. It steers away from the passive e-learning methods and brings the virtual classroom to life with active debate and discussion between the students and the instructors. It enables students to access many resources without installing any special software and instructors to record and review interactions that happen in class to evaluate the pedagogies used for that class.
We can see from its use at the School of Art, Design and Media that Adobe Connect can be used not just as an extension of the classroom in the virtual domain but also for symposiums and live performances. The online interaction that Adobe Connect allows us to have with multiple students or collaborators can be exploited in many creative ways, encouraging our educators to be creative in their methodology of working with students in their digitally native domains.