SNAFU = Situation Normal All Fouled Up
I've got a tail, I mean tale to tell.
I had my Intensive English class three days ago. I had earlier installed the Ajax replacement for Moodle Chat on my Moodle site. Hmm, the text chat now seems to work faster compared to Moodle standard chat. Or so thought. Also had some other Web 2.0 Chat tools on my Moodle site.
I wrote 3 interesting debating topics on the whiteboard and informed the students that was I going to be occupied in an adhoc staff meeting (which I couldn't miss and that unfortunately clashed with the class slot), and then I wanted them to occupy themselves on the chat that was confined to those logged into the Moodle course.
I assigned 3 groups of students to "online chat debate". That was 21 students. Forgot that I only had 512Mb RAM for my server and that the Internet pipeline was 512Kbits. And I forgot that the chat activity is a major resource hog. Moodle site became bogged down almost immediately. Many were staring at white blank screens. ABORT! ABORT! ABORT! Worse was I didn't have my MP3 listening files and hardcopy worksheets ready to occupy them.
In panic and desparation, I then asked the students to (1) work on their speeches, (2) to do some online listening exercises, and (3) to practice their telephone conversations with one another, and then I reluctantly left them in the computer lab (horror of horrors!). My computer lab technician would act as the assistant or monitor in such a case, but this time he was on leave.
When I came back 30 minutes later, half xpecting chaos. In found all sitting very quietly and occupied at the PCs. They were, ALL, on Skype - text chatting. And were they debating the topics I had written on the whiteboard? Nope. They weren't exactly trash-chatting each other, but then again their text conversations were nothing to do with any of the debate topics I had written. It was a listening and speaking class, and the were all chatting online silently.
Anyone has a computer lab thingy go awry and lived to tell the tale?