Using Google Hangout to Achieve Course Continuity in a Crisis (C3)

Introduction: This article presents our steps to implement Google Hangout during a mock crisis and a presentation of our thoughts on the subject. The context is a university course called Pharmaceutics. The class has 200 pharmacy graduate students. During the course the students complete two case studies in a problem based learning methodology. During the case study class is replaced by group discussion sessions. In the discussion sessions students can ask questions and instructors can guide students toward adequate solutions and rational approaches.

Section: Announcement and Practice Sessions First day of class, we announced that the class will be participating in an excersize to evaluate solutions for continuing class in the event of a crisis, and at some point later in the semester we will not meet in class as regularly schedule but will instead hold meetings online. The technology we will be using is called Google Hangout and you should set up a Google account and gather some headphones/microphone in order to participate. We also plan on holding practice sessions where you can join and test out your hardware/software so that there are no problems when you must rely on these during the class.

Later in the semester, we announce the dates of the practice sessions and make it clear that if you have problems getting connected you should let an instructor know and we will work to get it resolved.

Section: Instruction to Students and Notification of Crisis After two practice sessions we announce the crisis on the weekend, Sunday, prior to the date. One of the conditions of the crisis experiment was that we utilize Blackboard for the notification of the students because it is one technology that would not be affected by a crisis localized to the university community.

Students are informed to continue monitoring Blackboard for status updates and schedule changes. Within a few days we make an announcement that the regularly scheduled discussion sessions will not be held in the classroom on campus but will instead be held online via Google Hangout.

Section: Online Discussion Sesssions Discussion sessions are held on the day without major disruptions, almost all are happy with the arrangement.

Section: Observations OBservations while in the discussion session: Problems identified. Positive outcomes, negative outcomes, issues in general.

Section: Discussion Solutions to problems, general statements of opinion.

Section: Conclusion Conclusion about online discussion sessions: Conclusion about Google Hangout within a C3 plan: