I just wanted to post a few thoughts in response to the class we had last week online. I thought it turned out to be an interesting experiment that demonstrated the pros and cons of digital communication.
People seemed less intimidated to contribute. Although at times questions became too numerous, I felt that the class on a whole was more involved in the conversation.
A degree of anonymity that I think may have allowed people to talk more freely about subjects such as .xxx sites.
The comfort of your own room. I usually travel 1 hr each way on the bus to class. Meeting online saved me a nice chunk of time.
Written transcript of the class. We could refer to it later if need be.
People could be "present" in the room, but absent in the discussion. This is probably only a problem for the professor who has to take attendance. For the students, it's a nice way to the folks who want to be there to stay, and for those that don't care, to surf the net.
Tempo of the conversation could seem very rushed. Especially at the beginning, when questions flew at our guest.
Some people monopolize the conversation. There is no easy way "not to call on someone" online. If they want to say something, they will.
Harder to thread topics. I constantly felt like I was scattering and trying to figure out what response was to whom.
Overall, like I said, an interesting experiment. It had its perks, but I say will full conviction that I am glad that we meet regularly in person.