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Virtual Classrooms and Virtually No Data

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Sat Oct 29 2005

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Face it, you generally can't see participants' faces in a virtual classroom. How do we know they are getting it? Are they sorting spam in Outlook or checking sports scores on ESPN.com?

I remember quite a few high school & university classes where class participation counted as a relatively significant part of your grade. With most integrations between virtual classrooms and LMS products it seems like launching the classroom URL is about all that is tracked.

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This strikes me as the equivalent of getting credit for class participation by walking in the door. At least some of the better integrations check to see that you didn't walk out (leave the meeting URL) before the end of class, or they have a "completion" threshold of some sort (percentage of meeting actual duration or, minimum time spent in the session).

A good virtual classroom facilitator or instructor draws the participants into the content with chat, pools, simulations and all sorts of interactions. But how is that tracked or managed? I might remember the names of a few active participants, but then again eyewitness reports aren't always accurate. Allowing the instructor or leader to enter a value or description for participation after the fact is a start, but how about automating this too.

Could we have integrations that reported back individual's quiz scores from virtual classes, a participation status indicated by upstream VoIP, frequencies or length of chat entries, questions asked?

Is anybody else wanting more real data from virtual classes? What data would you want and how would you foresee using these reports?

Tom King, Macromedia

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