“Beam me up, Scotty, if you remember how”

computer nerdOK, so I had my first “synchronous” session with my online class two nights ago. This is when you all log in together at the same time, using a service such as Adobe Connect Meeting. The description that follows is an illustration of the phrase, “pride goeth before a fall,” since I consider myself somewhat tech-savvy.

The meeting was to begin at 9:00 pm, so at 8:45 I got set up and logged in. No one was there yet, so I dashed to the fridge for a soft drink and went back. 8:50–still no one, not even my cohost for the session. 8:55–still no one, so I sent out a quick email reminder. 9:00–room empty. What was going on? As I stared at my screen, it suddenly hit me–I had logged into the PRACTICE session I’d had a week ago to become familiar with the software. I frantically logged out and logged back into the right session, and there everybody was. I felt like the stereotypical freshman who reads his schedule incorrectly and ends up in the wrong room.

To make matters worse, my connection wasn’t good, so I kept getting booted out. Jennifer, my cohost and one of our reference librarians, dutifully kept everything going smoothly as chat messages appeared at the bottom of the screen: “Is Dr. Gobin back yet?” “I think he was for a minute.”

“YES, I’m here,” I practically shouted into my microphone, which had turned off during the reboot. It was like a bad episode from The Twilight Zone, where I was trapped in a parallel universe and nobody could see or hear me.

I may be being a little melodramatic–the evening went fine overall–but I did wonder why I was having connection problems especially since I was using a wired connection. I discovered the reason the next morning as I went to reconnect the yellow cable to my Wii console. I had in fact unplugged the wrong end of the yellow cable, meaning I was plugged into nowhere the night before and had been using our wi-fi connection without realizing it. This from a guy who does actually know how to program a VCR (what’s a VCR, you ask).

I will never again feel smug when a student asks me how to save a file.

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