Most of our meetings for SEA-D class have been online. The first online meeting was very uncomfortable for me for many reasons. I felt uncomfortable being in front of the camera while 21 students watched me. It felt very unnatural to me. Before the meetings would start I would get anxiety to talk with my peers through my computer screen. Furthermore, for about 15 minutes in our meetings there were always technical problems. Thus, the IT staff concluded that we would no longer use our cameras and only the teacher would use his or hers. It was great news because I really did not like being in front of the computer chatting as half of the time I would forget what I was saying because I would get distracted by how my hair or my room in the background looked on my computer screen. Nonetheless, I still couldn’t care much about the online meetings because I did not know what to compare it too.
Reflecting back on it made me realize how effective and convenient the online meetings were. I only realized this because I missed one online meeting last week in regards to our practicum and I felt like I missed a week of the class. I tried to listen to the recordings, but I could not get engaged in it. I was a little lost at times and couldn’t ask any questions because it was just a recording. Likewise, the online meetings provide comfort. You do not need to dress professionally, I would always join the meetings wearing my pyjamas! What was surprising for me was that I was able to join the online meetings using my phone. I was very impressed that I was able to do that. I remember I was sitting in the sky train when my teacher made a funny comment that had me burst into laughter. I felt a little embarrassed when I noticed people strangely staring at me.
What I have found different in one of our online meetings was when we had the SET-BC training online for which we were not able to use our microphones nor cameras. The instructor was the only one that could talk with us using a microphone. Our class had to use the chat box to express our ideas and opinions in regards to videos that were shown to us. This was a complete new experience for me. I liked how everyone was very engaged in discussing about a touchy video that was shown to us. During this meeting I had to quickly type my words before the topic was changed, this enabled me to improve my typing speed.
Missing that one meeting made me realize how imperative the online meetings were for our class for the most part. Not only was it convenient for most of us but it was a great opportunity to come together once a week to discuss what we have been covering and learning. Furthermore, for the online meetings to be effective it was crucial that the instructor kept the students engaged as it was easy for us to procrastinate behind the computer.
Thanks to the innovations in software and hardware to make online meetings possible. And thanks to Stenberg College for offering online meetings for the SEA-D class, and enabling us to take fully advantage of it.