Have you ever wanted to connect, or improve your skills when connecting with your students, colleagues, and peers online? The Ohio State University’s online meeting space Carmen Connect, branded from Adobe Connect, is a robust web conferencing solution available to faculty and staff. With a variety of tools and options, Carmen Connect has proven a valuable asset for engagement and collaboration within course rooms, distance meetings, and peer to peer connection.
Already widely used by multiple departments, teams, and faculty, Adobe Connect offers a high degree of customization for live meetings. Elizabeth Miller, Senior Math Instructional Design Technician at the Mathematics and Statistics Learning Center, is an active Carmen Connect user who suggests the use of Carmen Connect for a variety of learning activities including:
- Managing office hours with online students
- Placing students into groups for collaboration opportunities, which allows an instructor to collaborate from group to group. For a best practice, and to avoid whiteboard issues when in groups, hosts are encouraged to create “dummy” instructors in each group to avoid any loss of created materials during group time.
- Sessions can be recorded to encourage knowledge retention.
- Students can log into Carmen Connect with their OSU credentials, allowing for attendance or participation to be noted.
- Online quizzes can be hosted through Adobe Connect using the polling feature.
- Students can engage actively in the room through text, video, audio, and emoticon features.
- Students and instructors can write on a common “whiteboard” in the Adobe Connect room or in the breakout rooms- which can be saved and emailed for retention of knowledge.
- PDF worksheets and files can be uploaded wherein students and/or the instructor can write on them using Adobe Connect tools.
While the benefits are many, there are still precautions to take when using Adobe Connect. Participants might struggle getting microphones and speakers to work. To assist in this, Adobe Connect users are strongly encouraged to select the audio wizard feature before each meeting. As a meeting host or instructor, anticipate a significant amount of time during a first class or meeting session being devoted to helping students and colleagues with this, particularly if active collaboration is going to be an important component in the session. Also, minimal technology requirements are important. Participants and hosts can have issues if their internet connection is not strong enough.
Like any on ground meeting or course, engagement is vital in an online meeting room. Expect to be engaging as a collective for greatest success. If a host or instructor is not asking for active responses from the students or colleagues, either verbally, through text, or through engagement confirmation using emoji, it is very difficult to determine the level of comprehension. Finally, because Adobe Connect uses Flash, Adobe Air, and a proprietary plug-in, the experience is consistent across desktop devices, and hosts might find that they need to approve the use of audio and video and add plug-ins within their devices.
Take advantage of Carmen Connect as a wonderful collaboration resource, and enjoy the rich collaboration and engaging activities that will result in its use!
If you are interested in further information on Carmen Connect, click on the following resources available to you as faculty and staff at OSU:
- Carmen Connect Diagnostic Test
- ODEE Resource Centre
- CarmenConnect Help Request
- Carmen Connect Quick Start Guide