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Project Wrap-up

As of the writing of this last post, our project is pretty much finished.  We are collecting the data from our online survey and are planning to analyze it in the next couple of days, especially since our instructor is going to be evaluating this project web site soon.

On an interesting note, we got some publicity on the WiZiQ blog.   Jeff says:  “We are famous.”  That is funny. We hope you enjoy reading about our project.

To sum up our final conclusions:

The winner is:

  1. Voice / Video = WiZiQ
  2. Whiteboard = WiZiQ
  3. Chat = Adobe Connect
  4. Content / File sharing = Adobe Connect
  5. Overall (by decision, not a knockout by any means) = Adobe Connect

We believe that as WiZiQ progresses through further stages of development it will continue to increase in features and compete more strongly against Adobe Connect and other commercial online conferencing systems.  Once WiZiQ solves some of its technical difficulties and becomes more robust, we see it as a very viable free online conferencing solution for education and business.

 

Instructor Evaluation

Jeff, Gerry:

Thanks for your well developed, designed and presented technology demonstration tonight. You were well prepared and did an excellent job of presenting the capabilities of WiZiQ and compare it with those of Adobe Connect.

I bookmarked WiZiQ to show it to one of my consulting clients. They are using Desire2Learn for their LMS. D2L’s “LiveRoom” is limited to text chat only and for a high price! So, this could be a potential solution for them. You have received full credit for your technology demonstration. You will receive another email from me in which I will review the website of your technology demonstration and notify you of your grade for it, as well as your grade for the course.

Fred

Self-Reflection: Gerry

Surprisingly, I thought our presentation went very well.  It was somewhat of a surprise because Jeff and I only did one partial run-through of the presentation.  But I believe the strength of our presentation lies in the instructional design work behind this project.  We followed the ADDIE model very closely throughout the entire process.  ADDIE also is the foundation of this web site’s organization and navigational menu.We followed the design process that we set for ourselves carefully.  Even though we skipped some of the storyboarding steps for this web site, we did follow the process I came up with in our design flow chart.  I have to say that my experience the last three years working on an instructional design team really paid off on this project.  I incorporated aspects of our design workflow in my professional setting into the design of this project.

Jeff and I found it challenging to collaborate because of the time and physical separation between us.  We live in different time zones four hours apart, so our time was limited given that my free time is mostly in the evenings when Jeff is already asleep.

Sometimes I did find that our various experiences in instructional design were very disparate and sometimes frustrating.  But once I realized that it was a learning experience for Jeff, I think we were able to collaborate more effectively because I think Jeff learned a lot from working with me.  And I also got a glimpse into his professional life as an international teacher.

Overall, I thought the experience of preparing a technology demonstration was very valuable, especially for relying so heavily on technology over the Internet to complete this work.  We were also very fortunate to have experienced no technical difficulties during our live demonstration, which seems to have been the exception rather than the rule.

  

Self-Reflection: Jeff

Gerry and I have finally completed our technology demonstration for EDTEC 550: Introduction to Distance Education.  We chose early on in the semester to compare two online conferencing systems.  We chose Adobe Connect (the system we use for our synchronous class meetings) and WiZiQ, a new web-based, free online conferencing system.  Neither one of us had experience with WiZiQ, but we were interested to see how a free web-based conference system would matchup to Adobe’s product. 

Working collaboratively with another person can always present some challenges, especially when you are both on different continents.  Additionally, a 4-hour time difference can really present some challenges.  Gerry and I found it difficult at times to find ample time to meet with each other online.  Often we would meet using Skype, and then we would open up two concurrent sessions in Connect and WiZiQ.  This allowed us to compare the conferencing systems side-by-side and to see where there were differences between the two.  Initially, I don’t think either of us expected much from WiZiQ being that it is still in the Beta stage of development.  Additionally, we didn’t expect much because Adobe Connect has beome a bit of a standard for online conferencing systems.  However, as we explored WiZiQ it became apparent that it too is a legitimate and free replacement to Adobe Connect.  Furthermore, as our experimentation and development progressed, WiZiQ came out with three major advancements in terms of features offered including expanding the range of supported and uploadable files, tweaking the already user-friendly interface to increase usability, adding multi-user video capabilities, and enhancing features to the whiteboard.  In a span of a few months WiZiQ has developed nicely and it will be interesting to track their progress as more and more updates are made.

Overall, we found that overall Adobe Connect still has the upper hand for online conferencing.  Uploading files was faster and more reliable in Connect; and there are still some features that WiZiQ still doesn’t have.  Working with Gerry, aside from the difficulties in scheduling times to get together, was a good experience for me.  Gerry, being an instructional designer, brought a skill and knowledge set to the development of the project that I did not have.  Gerry and I divided up the workload evenly and I would welcome the chance to work with him in the future if the opportunity presented itself.

Survey

Design and Development Process

To design, develop, and implement the post-demonstration survey tool, we followed the following process:

  1. Conduct online teleconference to determine survey questions and technical requirements
  2. Write survey questions
  3. Create draft of electronic survey on Survey Monkey
  4. Edit survey questions
  5. Finalize survey questions
  6. Launch survey
  7. Administer survey after the live demonstration on December 12, 2007
  8. Analyze responses using analysis tools provided on Survey Monkey
  9. Publish results on project web site

Questions

Below are the questions we decided to ask our classmates:

Dear fellow EDTEC 550 students–
Thanks for taking the time to take our survey. These questions deal with your perceptions of the two different conferencing systems we used in our technology demonstration. The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete and we will try to share the results with the class when we have collected the responses.

Thanks again,
Jeff and Gerry

1. The Voice/Video pods and features are more easy to use in WiziQ than Breeze.

1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree.

2. If you answered less than 3 for the previous question, what features would you like to see in WiZiQ?

3. The Chat feature of WiZiQ is more versatile than Adobe Connect.

1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree.

4. If you answered less than 3 for the previous question, what features would you like to see in WiZiQ?

5. The Whiteboard feature of WiZiQ is more versatile than Adobe Connect.

1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree.

6. If you answered less than 3 for the previous question, what features would you like to see in WiZiQ?

7. The Content feature of WiZiQ is more versatile than Adobe Connect.

1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree.

8. If you answered less than 3 for the previous question, what features would you like to see in WiZiQ?

9. What qualities did you observe during the demonstration of WiZiQ that would be beneficial to you? (Select all that apply.)

Free
Easy to use
Robust features
Few technical difficulties
Access to worldwide network of online learners/educators in similar fields/interests

10. What qualities or features of WiziQ would you like to see improved?

11. What qualities or features of Adobe Connect would you like to see improved?

Results

Click here to view the data we collected.

Web Site

This web site was created to document our progress during the course of the technology demonstration project.  Originally, we had a Blogger web site, but I (Gerry) believed that Blogger was not as versatile for the requirements of this project, not to mention that most Blogger sites are just plain ugly.

Based on my (Gerry) experience with WordPress blogs, I knew that if our project site was powered by WordPress, it would have powerful functionality to create a well-organized, easy-to-navigate project site.

So basically, I (Gerry) chose a template with a top navigation menu, customized the banner graphic, created the menu tabs, and then populated the site pages with content that Jeff and I discussed. Because it was close to the end of the semester, we chose not to create storyboards for this web site.  The easy-to-use WordPress template allowed us to simply populate and edit each page on the fly.

We think it turned out very good.

 

Live Demonstration

Now that we have finished the Rapid Prototype and submitted it for evaluation to our class web site, we then developed an outline for our Live Demonstration.  After writing the outline, we then set up a time to teleconference to go over last-minute technical details in the LMS environments and go through a dry run.  Finally, we conducted our live demonstration on December 12, 2007 for our class.

Outline 

I.  Introduction

II. Overview of WiZiQ and Adobe Connect

III. Functional Overview and Comparison of WiZiQ and Adobe Connect
A. Voice / Video
1. Features
2. Comparison
B.  Chat / Text
1. Features
2. Comparison
C. Whiteboard
1. Features
2. Comparison
D. Content (file sharing)
 
1. Features
2. Comparison

IV. Wrap-up / Conclusion

V. Post-Demonstration Feedback Survey

Live Demonstration

Click here for the link to the Adobe Connect recording of our demo.

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