Four courses just started with Zoom…
Tric Topsfield The Pleasure of Reading
Our group has met twice using Zoom. The first time with only four participants went very well in terms of clear communication and good quality of sound. The small number obviously demands that each participant needs to be well prepared to contribute to the discussion in order for the meeting to proceed smoothly.
The second time with eleven participants provided more of a challenge with echoing causing difficulty with hearing for me as a hearing aid wearer but that seemed to vary with each person. I suspect I had the most difficulty and even so I managed well enough to enjoy the experience. Feedback from members having their first Reading for Pleasure on Zoom was that the meeting went well. Conversation was engaging with every participant contributing.
A further challenge is accessing scheduled books with restricted library services so the order of books has had to be altered to meet this challenge. Meetings with Zoom will continue until we can all rejoice in seeing each other in actuality rather than on screen.
PS A plus for me has been learning how to use a new IT communication skill which I may need to use in the future.
Renate Tonks German Advanced Conversation
Dace Darzins is the Tutor and I manage the class on Zoom. We have a Pro licence paid for by u3a so we can go for longer than the standard 40 min.
Unfortunately the group is quite small, maximum so far have been 8 participants, but this makes the group quite manageable. If the group were any larger I think we might struggle to have spontaneous conversations.
Each week we agree on a topic and each person has an opportunity to express themselves, which generates questions from the other participants. We have found that a relaxed conversational style session, as compared to a formal presentation followed by discussion, works best when using Zoom. Once everyone got used to giving one person at a time the floor and not interrupting the sessions now flow very smoothly.
I don’t believe that we need the whiteboard in Zoom as most people are taking their own notes and asking if they don’t understand something, whereby Dace will explain the meaning and spelling of words.
Kay Bennetts Free to Air Film Club
We have just had our first session and it went very well indeed. The film was chosen from the enormous number available on SBS On Demand.
There were eight participants who engaged in lively discussion. Everyone felt that seeing each other all the time was very important in this time of social distancing, and that 8 was the perfect number to enable a natural relaxed conversation.
Everyone is keen to continue and was impressed with how easy it is to have a conversation in this manner. People like the fact that you can see everyone in the group all the time.
[Enrolments are still open for this group and for a number of the other new online courses.]
John Travers Book Club
I recently lead a book club discussion of twelve in Zoom and we asked each person to hold their hand up if they wanted to speak. This worked very well, better than a regular discussion, because we were all looking at each other and could see if someone had their hand up. The Chair simply said a name, and on the conversation went. It was a more orderly conversation than usual and more personal, surprisingly.