At the College of Education at the University of Oregon digital media has built a system for students to interact with classmates and faculty outside of the classroom.
Students and faculty can use different media outlets for learning, teaching, and demonstrating, but confidentiality is important in the education school, so all client information must be given consent and used responsibly.
Videos have become a learning tool to help students in the education school. “Our students use little flip cameras and things like that to record sessions but then they are using that privately, like after therapy sessions, to go back and analyze someone’s language or something like that,” said Kathy Roberts, major director of the Communication Disorders and Sciences program within the College of Education.
Teachers also use taped client sessions for academic purposes such as evaluating speech disorders, Roberts said. These resources are not used on public media sites like Facebook; instead they use blackboard and the UO e-mail.
Blackboard is UO’s media outlet for academics. “We use wikis,” Miriam Choi an educational foundations major said. “Our instructors makes a group on blackboard and through that group you get to know what members are in that group,” she explained.
Choi and the group she works in are the only ones who can see the information shared. It allows them to connect and continue work outside the classroom. It also allows them to discuss questions and reading assignments as well as trade the assignments that need to be read, Choi said.
However, Roberts said they still don’t always post taped or recorded sessions on blackboard due to the risk of by-passers seeing the video off of student’s laptops. E-mail is also not as secure. Students are encouraged to use their secure UO e-mail instead of yahoo, gmail, and other e-mail providers.
Despite the tight security on client’s information, public sites like Facebook cannot be ruled out as resources in the education school. Outside of client sessions for learning, student and teachers are using them for other purposes.
Valentino Vasquez a professor for American Sign Language is deaf and uses media like Facebook to communicate with his friends.
“When I’m communicating with other sign language teachers or my deaf friends, I type very little. I mostly send videos of me signing,” said Vasquez. “With my hearing friends and my family, it is the opposite. I type a lot and don’t use the sign videos,” he said. Live-video chat or video messaging can provide different outlets besides text over the Internet.
Choi also uses Facebook along with Wiki’s for academic purposes. “We have our own Facebook page and we also make groups and pages if we have a certain assignment or it’s a group project so we can just invite people and talk on there because it’s just easier to communicate with others,” she said.