Saturday, August 29, 2009

Being at two places at the same time

By Dr. Eduardo Mayorga

Imagine this scenario: The head of the eye department has asked you to give, tomorrow, the lecture to the residents he was supposed to give at 7,30. You had promised your wife you would take her to buy new carpets for your house at 9. You live 4o miles from your hospital. No way you can make it back in time. What do you do?

Some time ago Karl Golnik told us about Synchronous e-learning. Today we will talk about 2 more tools that can help us with this task: Being at two places at the same time. We will learn to combine Skype, a communications software and Google Docs Presentation, a presentation tool.

Why combine if, as Karl showed us, there are tools that already have these two functions incorporated? I personally like this combination because they work better than any other, when you are not on a high speed connection.

Skype offers excellent audio and video and Google Doc's Presentation offers faster screen synchronization between teacher and students because it does not use screen sharing, as other collaboration software. When using Google Docs, teachers and students are synchronized in the same web page.

If you are not familiar with Skype you can find help on how to use it here. If you are not familiar with Google Docs Presentation you can find help here
Once you are familiar with connecting audio and video with Skype and you have uploaded you PowerPoint presentation to Google Docs you arrange your desktop to look like this.

Remember to activate the "View together"  function, at the right bottom corner,  to take control of the screen of all who are watching.

Questions from the audience can be done using audio or you can have the students write them using the chat area and answer all questions at the end of the lecture.
At this time, Skype only allows 5 connections at a time. You only need one to connect to the lecture room where your residents are listening to the audio from one computer , so you could have 3 other residencies attending or an invited professor from other place. There is no limit as to how many connect to the presentation area, so you could have in the same room, several residents watching their own screen and asking questions through the chat area.

If you need help using this combination or any other software mentioned in our blog, please contact us at

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