CCLDPOnline students need a computer that meets (or exceeds) the following specifications:
Pentium 200 MHz processor
64 MB of RAM
56K or faster modem
Sound card and speakers
Color monitor with at least 800 x 600 resolution
E-mail account-per MSU official email account
Fax access (on occasion)
Printer access (on occasion)
If you are using Adobe Connect or Dimdim to communicate with your students synchronously, then you and the students must use a headset (microphone and ear phone combination) for best results. Even though most computers have microphones and speakers, they are unsuitable for synchronous communication. Just one student without a headset will cause annoying feedback that will make it impossible to talk as a group. This should be a required item in your list of course requirements. For most computers, a headset with a USB connection is the easiest to use. Students are frequently confused about where to plug in headsets with two connections. Logitech offers several USB headset options that can be purchased at BestBuy, Staples, OfficeMax, or other office supply stores for about $50 but less expensive non-usb items are also available and reliable. They can be purchased online. Two such units are below:
- ClearChat Style $26.00 (non-USB, but adequate)
- ClearChat Pro USB Headset $53.00 (excellent unit)
You might also want to consider using a webcam during your synchronous "moments." Students will be able to see you as well as hear you. If students have webcams, the instructor can yield the video to the student and the student would then be visible to all participating in the discussion. This requires some training and practicing on the part of the instructor who is the moderator of the session and who can control who has the microphone at any given moment.
Whenever possible incorporate PPI presentations and video componentd into your course. This may not happen until you have become comfortable with the technology, but there is a vast array of videos available for general use at any number of sites. A little Google exploration will usually yield some excellent supporting materials.