Image of Dr Jeanette Mathews

The creation of a community of inquiry and practice is the foundation of our teaching ~ Dr Jeanette Mathews

Dr Jeanette Mathews is the Bachelor of Theology Course Advisor and  Senior Lecturer, Biblical Studies, School of Theology. She teaches Old Testament subjects at St Mark’s National Theological Centre, Canberra.

Many lecturers in CSU use Adobe Connect for teaching distance subjects. In the School of Theology, several of us are using a blended form of teaching by simultaneously lecturing in a classroom setting and livestreaming via Adobe Connect to online students. These lectures are also recorded for students who are not able to join the live presentation.

What were you trying to achieve?

  1. An equitable learning experience for both modes of student experience (internal and online)
  2. Opportunity for online students to ask questions and interact as the lecture is progressing
  3. Rapport between students in different cohorts, especially as cohorts are typically small
  4. To give students a range of choices in accessing lectures (in person, live, recorded in a variety of formats)

What did it look like?

My Adobe classroom has a lecture PowerPoint as the main focus of the screen, and this presentation can be seen by both in-class and online students. I have the webcam activated in the top right corner, and a chat box in the bottom right corner. This enables online students to ask questions and contribute comments relating to the lecture material. Students in the classroom can alert me to new comments or questions which I always repeat. Likewise, when a comment or question comes from the internal students I will repeat the gist of it for the sake of the online students and recording. Lengthy discussion from students is not encouraged in the lecture format as it becomes a detriment for students accessing the recording alone.

Usually I freeze the webcam picture to enable more rapid and trouble-free download of material.

How can I make this happen?

The Adobe classroom is well set up for the way I deliver lectures with a focus on a PowerPoint presentation, but there is flexibility to use other aspects of the classroom as well. In biblical language subjects I frequently share my screen to use a bible software program, and I have occasionally used the whiteboard facility in language subjects also.

The biggest technical problem has been clarity of microphones. When a dedicated microphone is used by the lecturer, the sound of the lecture is clear, but comments or questions from students in the room less so. When a room microphone is used, the lecturer’s voice is less clear. So I prefer to use the first set up and repeat comments and questions.

*Jeanette is happy to chat about how using Adobe Connect helps her create a community of inquiry and practice between on campus and online cohorts. You may also like to visit the Adobe Connect WIKI page for more information.