When Things Go Wrong

In the 123 VC: Jazzing Up Your Curriculum with Videoconferencing workshop last week, my participants asked me to tell my stories of all the things that can go wrong with a videoconference.

I shared several stories, most of which I’ve written about before in Top Ten Reasons a VC Gets Cancelled.

Then we talked about what to do about it.

  • Have a backup plan. It’s always a good idea with any technology lesson plan to have a backup plan in case the technology (or electricity) fails! Have another lesson plan or simple activity students can do while they are waiting. Make a list of everything you know about where you are connecting. Brainstorm questions for the place you’re connecting to. Content activities. Puzzles. Etc.
  • Dressing up. If you’ve been partnered with me for Read Across America, you may have seen me in my Cat in the Hat outfit. I dress up every year so just in case the connection doesn’t work, the students have something interesting to see and they can share their presentation with me. Sure helps with some of the frustration.
  • Rescheduling. Sometimes rescheduling is all you can do. That in itself can be challenging. But this is a good reason to have the equipment in the building. Makes it easier to go back to class and continue on if things don’t work!

As we ended the discussion in the workshop, one of the participants reminded everyone of one of the optional articles for reading. It includes a checklist for videoconferencing that deals with this issue.

Turrell, G. “Good Practice in the Use of Video Conferencing.” ATHENA. May 7, 2004.

Do you have any creative ideas for what to do when things go wrong? Share them in comments!

About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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2 Responses to When Things Go Wrong

  1. Hey, Janine,

    techlearning.com published a little article about one of my “when things go wrong” experiences at http://www.techlearning.com/db_area/archives/WCE/archives/videobad.html if any of your readers want a little laugh. Cheers from Nashville!

  2. Janine Lim says:

    Thanks for sharing this Scott!!

    Actually I use this article all the time in my online classes. It’s excellent! Thanks for the reminder of it!


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