Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yes, I'm Watching You!

To say that televisions are ubiquitous would not be an understatement. We spend hours everyday watching TV. Add to this the hours one spends in front of a computer monitor, and our lives are wrapped around the tube. We work, play, eat, and even take a shower or go to the bathroom with one of these things on. The tube is a part of us and we do not even know that its there at times.

Enter videoconferencing!

Videoconference technology has been growing rapidly along with the growth of Internet bandwidth. Its use in education, business, and medicine is spearheading many other uses including personal uses with the use of simple webcams and technologies like Skype, Wengo, Gizmo, google video chat, and many more. The use of these technologies has become a commonplace. People have got so used to the technology that they forget where they are and who is watching!

The FLC at OSU operates a first-class videoconference center for distance learning (and other purposes). I have come across my share of ‘odd’ conversations during my short management of this room/technology. We have had slip-ups, loud conversations, alien echoes, boisterous music, strange backgrounds, and even wrong people ‘happen’ in this room. But the following takes the cake!

During a videoconference for Dr. Smith’s class with an American University classroom in Iceland (all names changed) members of the other party decided to have a shout fest! It started with a break in communication, but when we were reconnected (2 minutes later) they were having a mini party during which literally every member was yelling at each other (not fighting, yet) and banging on the table and passing/dragging items around the table. Mind you, every sound gets amplified with the microphones set on the table. The oddest thing about this was that the faculty member was not only present but was very much a part of this party (but that’s another blog too). It took a good 10 minutes to get them to calm down while every single one of their activity was broadcast on high def TVs here to an audience of 25.

So everyone, yes by all means, video chat away all you want. But please be aware of who is on the other end. Cause I’m watching you (I’m watching you)! Please be courteous not to yell, scream, shout, drum, bang, kick, scratch, pound, hammer, drag, tug, monkey and other noises/behavior that would in other ways be disturbing to the ears/eyes and the mind. Videoconferencing is a great technology and will only get better and popular, but please know the guidelines and lets keep it quiet and simple for everyone sake!

Technologies: Polycom videoconference , Skype, Wengo, Gizmo, google video chat, MS Word, Mozilla Firefox.

Contact me:
Sujan Manandhar
Instructional Aids Associate,
Foreign Language Center
Ohio State University

Monday, December 15, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog….

New city, new job, new responsibilities, and new ideas! Having amassed degrees and experiences, I come into this new job brimming with energy and ideas. I also would like to share these ideas with faculty and fellow Educational Technologists and other people interested in educational technology (ET). The need for the right tool was dire!

There are many methods and tools to share such information (newsletters, forums, emails, wikis, etc) but I think a blog is the most effective. There are blogs for all topics under the sun and ‘experts’ dishing out the latest and greatest recipes from air-soup to retire-now schemes. However, I see a blog as a strong tool in this case since it’s:
  1. accessible
  2. familiar to most people who deal with ET
  3. Educational Technologists have similar issues around the world and can (are willing to?) exchange ideas and concerns with fellow experts.

My experience with blogging is light at best. Ok, I have blogged before and frequently read blogs, but to be able to blog consistently takes (I hear) patience and diligence. A command of the language is helpful too. My blogger friends advice me to keep at it though responses may be thin. In addition, I now come equipped with valuable advice from pros from problogger, dailyblogtips, and more.

So with the right tool in hand, I lunge forward to reach out and bring in the various issues in ET that concern my tenure at the Foreign Language Center at the Ohio State University. I hope the faculty and other ETs (around the world) can also weigh in and share their comments and advice to kick this into gear. So, without further adieu…Lets Blog!

Technologies Used : MS Word, Mozilla Firefox, google search (for articles on 'blogging tips', images on 'blog dummy book')

Contact me:
Sujan Manandhar
Instructional Aids Associate,
Foreign Language Center
Ohio State University

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Welcome to The Ohio State University!

I finally started my position here at the Foreign Language Center (FLC) of the Ohio State University (OSU), after months of waiting to clear out the visa process. The visa process can be very frustrating (but that’s another blog!) and a balanced mix of persistence and patience is essential.

The position here is that of Instructional Aids Associate, that which would require the wearing of (the proverbial) ‘many hats’. I am excited about the position and the prospects since OSU is a large university with potential to work with various talents and (hopefully) many new technologies. My position entails me to meet the technological needs of faculty in their projects/instruction (hence the title), and will involve the use of videoconferencing for distance learning, multi-media, various audio and video equipment, and the use of different educational software. Since I also have an MBA (I knew this would come in handy), some work in the promotion of the FLC would also go hand in hand.

My background and skills fit in well with the position (yes, yes... I know the interview is over!). My desire and capacity to learn about information and technology and to use it for educational purposes, my ability to work with people, and my business background will all get a run for the money with this position. I expect many challenges along the way and many milestones as well.

I plan to use this medium (and others) to keep the educational technology community tuned into the progress that I make. This will also involve postings on accomplishments, some growing pains, the new projects and technology that I work with, and the cast of characters I work with in these projects. I expect to keep up this blog and hope that you can provide me with the feedback and comments to make this blog a handy resource for all.

(PS – I wrote this a month or so ago, but took some time to arrange and post the blog. Lesson No. 1 – Anticipate time and time delay!)

Technology - Written in MS Word (Mac 2004 Version), Photo by Photo Booth (no editing/cropping), Firefox 3.03, Blogger (google).