Each semester there is a particular course that sends its students out into the larger university community at USM to interview professors. A worthy dispersal, promising discipline-specific conversations and discoveries about how learning happens. Thee professors--inhabitants of various discourse communities, in various offices, classrooms, labs--can meet students for a face-to-face conversation, type responses in an email reply, or . . .
If the first option is impossible for scheduling or location reasons, and the second option seems to overtake the job of the student (shouldn't they be doing the note-taking?), a third way can be found via a friendly technology tool.
Kaltura's recent entrance on the Blackboard scene makes it a good choice. But as I am still becoming acquainted, and because the student who sought me out for an interview was in a previous semester's class, I wanted an avenue to respond to her good questions (attached here) that would approximate the 'live' quality of a video feed but could be freely shared/accessed without needing the BB platform.
One good outcome of using the free version of Screen Cast-o-Matic for the video is that I can keep an eye on her questions while I'm talking, and I can be pulled off stage by the 15 minute mark. (At the outset of the video I reassured the student that 15 minutes would be more than enough, but as it happens, in our discourse-communities-of-prolixity, I nearly ran out of time before I ran out of breath.)
Outcomes: the student received her responses by the assignment due date and still had some note-taking to do to keep the project honest; the professor worked within the time limit through structured questions about research, teaching, mentoring.
By the end, the home-video-ing experience created an opportunity to make a pitch larger than simple Q&A sometimes allows: I felt as though I was exhorting a member of the new generation to care -- about my field, her eventual field, any field, as long as it can be pursued with an ethical drive and commitment to good citizenship. I can't say as though this could have come out in a standard, face-to-face interview experience, where that monologue-ish finale might have been curtailed by better 'listening' to the student's cues of facial expressions, body language, qualifications, etc. For better or worse, then, Screen Cast-o-Matic enabled inquiry, response, and, I hope, mentoring.
Note: the student has granted her permission for my inclusion of both her questions (below) and the video clip here (above).