Friday, November 6, 2009

Remote Education

This week has been full of interesting food for thought around remote collaboration. Wednesday evening started with Sara Bly's talk at CHIFOO about her early work at Xerox Parc and their Media Space. This space attempted to bring two remote worksites together by allowing desktop video and open space video where co-workers could have non-scheduled interactions. Fascinating stuff, especially for 1985! ( a few references here and here)

Since then, I have been planning a guest lecture for a design research class at the University of Oregon. So far, I'm impressed with their forethought in this distributed teaching model. A few students attend class here in Portland and the majority sit in Eugene. There will be a tech on hand here in Portland, and I can share Powerpoint, paper samples and video through their network.

However, being a hands-on researcher, I wanted to engage the students in a hands-on activity so they might experience participatory design first hand. Now, the issue is getting clay and other "make" tools down to Eugene where 3/4 of the class will sit for the lecture.

Computers have made data transfer so simple and easy, that we forget, well I do anyway, how much more work it is to get 3-d elements from one place to another. When will that transporter be ready??

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