Heeding advice from the instructor of my orientation course, I carved out a couple of hours yesterday and found a comfortable but work-appropriate spot in my house to get caught up on assignments.
And I did. I’m not done with everything that needs to be turned in this week, but I’ve completed a good chunk of it. And I finished the project I was dreading the most—using a video chat technology called “Voice Thread.”
I first read up on Voice Thread last week when I realized I was going to have to use it to give a presentation in my business course. And as I explored the site, I was like, “there’s no way I’m going to be able to figure this out in time.”
Thankfully, my orientation course required me to turn in a practice Voice Thread this week, so I really didn’t have an option unless I wanted another ZERO in that class, which I didn’t.
So basically you look into a web camera and give a presentation, which sounds simple but keep in mind I’ve never used a web cam. The program also allows you to insert PDF files if you need to include graphs or charts, so there are all sorts of cool things you can do with it if you know how.
For my practice video for orientation purposes, I explained why I’m in the class. I did grab a screen shot of my blog, converted it to a PDF and slipped it in just to experiment with the technology. No charts necessary but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to practice.
I absolutely hate seeing photos and videos of myself, so that was the really challenging part. And I apparently get animated when I talk for longer periods of times—I deleted my first attempt because my head was moving all over the place and poor Voice Tread couldn’t keep up. By the time you saw my mouth moving, my voice was three sentences ahead.
So I relaxed a little and tried again. My eyes were still all over the place and my mouth made some strange movements—apparently I use facial expressions to get my points across, which I didn’t really realize until Voice Thread came along. But I didn’t completely hate it, so I turned it in.
I’m feeling much better about my next Voice Thread assignment. I have to admit, I initially thought this second online orientation course was going to be an unnecessary addition to my workload, but it’s proving to be extremely beneficial. My advice for anyone just starting out in the world of virtual learning would be to take the orientation course seriously—and maybe even complete those assignments first because they really do make work in other courses go more smoothly.
So, while I know I’m going to have to keep putting in the hours to complete these courses, I’m feeling much better about the whole experience … and about the technology.