Published: Oct. 15, 2011

Storm GloorStorm GloorStorm GloorA growing number of academic professionals are switching from traditional classroom lectures to online classes. Online learning and in person lectures are now becoming a popular combination of learning tools in academia. At the 2011 COLTT (Colorado Learning & Teaching with Technology) Conference held at CU Boulder, Storm Gloor, an Assistant Professor in the Music and Entertainment Industries at University of Colorado, Denver, expressed the need to focus on this combination of online and physical interaction. His presentation highlighted the importance of hybrid classes by specifically focusing on a feature in Adobe, Adobe Connect, that provides students the option of being physically in the classroom or attending remotely or even both, in real time.

What is Adobe Connect and how does it work?

Adobe Connect is a program that supports virtual online meetings and the use of multimedia and collaborative tools as a part of its features. Professor Gloor claims that he has adapted it to the classroom and given his students the ability to attend and participate in real-time remotely. In his classroom, students attending online can take part in discussions, watch and listen to the professor, or view any presentations or documents that are being presented in the physical classroom. He said, “I’ve used the technology in ‘hybrid’ courses I’ve taught, but have experimented with it in an offline class as well.” He also utilizes this program for virtual meetings with student groups and presenting the study guide.

The ability of students to log in from any internet-connected device makes this software crucial for its utilization by Professor Gloor’s students. In addition, this program also enables the course sessions to be recorded and archived by the instructor.

Some of its advantages and disadvantages

For Professor Gloor, the use of this program is experimental so far. However, among a few of the advantages of using this software is the increased level of attendance and participation by the students. He says, “They may simply find this type of learning environment more suitable to the way they learn or communicate or it may simply be a more practical option for their situation.”

The disadvantages of using this program however are obvious. Some of the common reasons range from technical issues to distractions. “Student attending remotely could obviously be easily distracted from the session, depending on the environment from which they are attending, “said Professor Gloor.

What kinds of classes will benefit from using this program?

Professor Gloor mentions that any discipline can utilize this technology. However, he is also doubtful of the use of this program in large classroom halls where students are prone to distractions. Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier, Professor Gloor encourages using this program to record classroom sessions as they are being conducted. He says, “A teacher can also pre-record presentations that could be shared online as supplemental content that may not be able to logistically or practically fit into the course curriculum.” He added, “For instance, an overview of Chapter Five of the textbook or a recent news article, or further explanation of a content presented there, could be created.”

Professor Gloor agrees that the way students learn is ever-changing. Thus, he believes in improving teaching techniques and effectively communicating with the students. Experimenting with Adobe Connect is his way of enjoying studying, learning and utilizing tools that might make students’ education more effective.