Sunday, December 14, 2014

A discussion forum for on-line office hours

The problem
I would like to hold virtual office hours.  I have considered Skype and Adobe Connect but it's not clear how they would show me their work, how I can give feedback quickly and effectively, and avoid answering the same question again and again.

I anticipate that most questions will be a photo of their handwritten work with the question "What am I doing wrong?"

The solution

* A discussion forum with threads on different subjects like, e.g. Reddit.

* Login is required to post questions and I control who can log in

* There is a teacher mode and a student mode

Student mode:

* Text-entry that supports equations (e.g. Mathjax)

* Students can easily post photos of their work, so seamless integration with webcam, tablet and smartphone is needed.

* It should also be possible to write/draw using a tablet.

Additional features in the teacher mode

* When answering the question, the question, including any pictures, is copied and it is possible to write/draw on the picture using a tablet.

* When answering questions it is possible to record the screen + audio and embed the resulting video automatically.

I need this feature so I can answer quickly, but I don't want the students to be able to pose questions as recordings because I can read the question much faster.

* Optionally: a feature where I can choose to get email notification when a new questions is asked (for off-peak hours).

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Smartphone wireless microphone apps for asking questions in large lecture halls

Just came across this app called Crowd Mics.  The price is pretty steep but they leave the door open for negotiations with academic institutions.

The same search also uncovered Beekast, but there is very little information to be had at the web site.

If you have used these or similar apps please share your experience in the comment section.

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