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Posts from the ‘Social Media’ Category

27
Feb

Follow Up Questions from Cloud Based Technology Webinar

Today I did a webinar for Academic Impressions: Using Cloud-Based Technology for Learning and Engagement. The webinar lasted an hour and forty-five minutes, which means I had to talk for that long. This isn’t generally a problem for me if I’m talking about and sharing about what I love to do: teaching and learning with technology, so the time flew by. I was really surprised that I was able to keep to my planned timeline. I got everything in but a few questions at the end, so I’m hear to address them now.

One of the tools I used in the presentation to help give every participant a voice was GoSoapBox. I blogged about it in my last post about what I’d do with a $300 grant. I was able to address the remaining questions in there, since participants had posted them in the webinar and in GoSoapBox. Below is a list of a few questions I answered for participants.

I had a great time talking about cloud based technologies, and I really hope it was helpful for others. And I hope they get out there and give it a try. Remember to start small and play around with it before you make it a major assignment for a course.

 

14
Feb

Tweeting in Class – Not Yet

I’ve been on Twitter for close to five years. I joined right after they went big at SXSW March of 2007. In that time I surpassed 24,000 tweets, a combination of personal and professional. But it was a couple of years before I decided to try Twitter in my classes.I’m still not to the point where I will require my students to tweet for class, but I do see value in using it as an alert system. Although I’m not finding many students who are on Twitter already or find following my class account of interest. But it was easy to set up and use, so I continue to do it.

Here’s how I use Twitter in the class. I teach online, so I communicate often with students by posting announcements to the class blog. Previously I’ve used WordPress as the class blog, so it was easy to add a plugin that automatically tweets every new posts on the blog. I figured that if students followed the class Twitter account (@DrCoop for ENG101, @ENG102 & @ENH295), they could get quick updates when I posted a new announcement without having to check the blog. I probably rendered this feature pointless when I set up email subscriptions on the blog as well. Instead of tweets as updates, they can get the actual blog post delivered to their preferred email account. So I get very few takers on my Twitter updates.

But I haven’t given up the idea that one day students will find these Twitter updates useful, so I continue to find ways to keep Twitter automatically updating when I post announcements. Maricopa will be moving to a new LMS next fall, so I’ve been playing around with it and teaching 3 classes in it this semester. Just for fun, I figured out a way to get Twitter to autopost my announcements from Canvas, although this is completely pointless, as Canvas already emails students when you post new announcements. At this point I’m just experimenting for fun, not function. I set up an IFTTT (If This Then That). Basically you can create tasks that happen after a certain trigger (when something happens (this) then do something else (that)). So I set up a “when a new post happens on Canvas then tweet a link to the post.”

It works great, but presently IFTTT only allows for you to connect one Twitter account, so I can only do this for one class. They did tweet to say they would be offering that option soon, but I don’t foresee tweeting in this manner a useful feature of my online classes. Not yet.

22
Jan

Students are Loving the Network

I’m trying out a social network in my ENG101 and ENG102 courses this spring. I’m trying to make English fun, but there are also some very useful features built into the Ning social network. So far I’m loving just about everything but the adds. I’m not ready to fork over cash to get rid of them, but if I can make a compelling enough argument, make my division chair might consider picking up the tab. We’ll see.

One thing that is really neat is that the students just naturally pick up on the fun things there are to do in there. I instructed that there were only two required parts: discussion forum and personal blog posts. Everything else they do is just for fun and up to you if you want to participate. Well, it didn’t take long for them to fill up the site slide show. It’s neat to see all their faces and their families too!Find more photos like this on Freshman Comp

I’ve been using it to post my weekly podcasts too. It has an embeddable player that I can add mp3s to. I can either upload to the site or upload via a web link. I like to upload my content on my own servers and then link to it. This will save me later with having to deal with bandwidth and file size. Here’s our podcast player from the network.

Find more music like this on Freshman Comp

In case you’re wondering, most of the content in our class network is private, so content that students create for the class and a grade is private – only members can see it. But adding photos and videos is optional, not class related, and acknowledged that it will be public because it shows up on the front page. I could make the whole site including the front page private, but then my announcements won’t have a RSS feed and I won’t be able to subscribe and feed them into Blackboard or offer email subscriptions. So I leave the front page public, and protect the rest.

I’ll post more about this experiment as we play with it more. So far we’re all loving it.