Sunday, February 06, 2005

Super Sunday

As the football fans in the crowd know, today is "Super Sunday" the day the American Football Conference winners play the winners of the National Football Conference for the "world championship" of the NFL.

I intend on watching the game this afternoon and hope that the game is a good one. I don't really care which teams wins, as long as the score is close throughout the game and it's entertaining.

Ahead of this afternoon's tilt, I thought I'd check in to my course at OISE/UT and see what's up on the server in the way of posts. I'd wanted to look in today and catch up on the posts my colleagues had made in the last 24 hours, and then "turn the page" on this week's discussion.

Seems there'll be no access, at least currently, since I can't get a connection to the server. Of course this is a HUGE issue for online learners for a number of reasons:
  • New and beginning "users" are likely to be more "unsettled" by technical difficulties than experienced participants. When in the process of just getting comfortable with the "human-computer interface" as a learning tool and "technical issues" have the potential to alienate, or "turn off" these participants before they get started

  • Many who take these part-time, online courses at OISE/UT have a finite and distinct timeframe in which to participate in each week's discussion. This is particularly true on weekends when many schedule "school time."

  • Even experienced stakeholders of the community affected may become discouraged and become less involved in contributions to the ongoing discussions, even though they themselves are fully aware that software "upgrades" often present challenges [staff @ OISE/UT is currently upgrading/reinstalling software/servers for Knowledge Forum].

That said, my heart goes out to those who are no doubt scrambling as we speak to get the server up and running again. It's no fun to have disappointed "clients" looking to access a server that you're responsible for and can't get to work. I think it also bears noting that these types of "hiccups" are going to be "the Rule" versus "the Exception" when it comes to working and learning with technology, and that all stakeholders better be prepared to "roll with the punches."

Suffice it to say, again, that this learner would have given up on technology a long time ago if I hadn't become familiar with the workaround.

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