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Posts from the ‘Teaching’ Category

24
Aug

Mobile Learning Takes Shape in ENG101

I’m about one semester away from teaching a fully mobilized ENG101 course. What do I mean by a mobilize course and mobile learning? Mobile learning is learning that happens when the learner takes advantage of the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies. Mobile gadgets are everywhere, and just about every student has a mobile phone in his/her pocket. Why not take advantage of these learning tools, as like to refer to them?

So this semester I introduced a mobile learning opportunity to my students in the ENG101 class. I created content that could be viewed, read, watched and listened to on a mobile device. Then I created this video to tell students about it. How they take advantage of what I’ve created and to what extent is yet to be seen.

5
Jul

Video Essay Option Available to Students

For two semesters now, I’ve written into the plans an option for students to do a video essay for the argumentative essay instead of writing a traditional position paper. So far only two students have attempted a video, with mixed reviews. In the first case, the student did a good job with using the technology, but the argument itself was a bit confusing. It’s unclear if this is due to the use of the technology or if the student just had trouble rationalizing her argument. In a written paper it is easy to quickly dismiss the argument as poorly written and unsupported by the evidence in the paper. But with a video, it is not as clear. With so few students choosing this option, it seems a waste of time to dig into supporting arguments in video form. This is something I will have to do as more and more students choose to do video.

Presently this is the only criteria I have listed in the instructions:

  • 3-5 Minutes in length
  • documentation required (use APA style)
  • work needs to make a claim and support it (in other words, this work should have a thesis and support that thesis just like the position paper)
  • research (at the very least, for images, video, and audio) required

Grade will be determined by how well video essay meets criteria and how the essay is suited/developed for the video format.

In preparation, I ask students to:

You will need to script your work. Beyond the obvious (you need to determine what claim you will make and how you will support it), you should storyboard your work. An easy way to do this is by creating a table using a wiki (why a wiki? this way, you can keep it as a resource for your final portfolio). To create a storyboard, simply create a two column table in a document. In the left hand side you may put an image or a description of an image. In the right hand side, place any notes or voice overs that you may include. I’d suggest you list your purpose in a brief heading/ abstract.

I found most of this assignment on the internet and have adapted it to fit my needs for this assignment. I also had to update the technology instructions to fit the tools available today.  I give them an example of the storyboard and then give them some steps to follow in creating their video using Windows Movie Maker. Students are required to submit their storyboard and a works cited page with the video essay. I won’t have an example until we work out all the kinks or until a student knocks this assignment out of the park.

16
Feb

New Player for ENG101 Podcast

I’ve been experimenting with flash players for my weekly podcasts in my freshman composition courses. I this one from MyFlashFetish.com was pretty cool. I’ll paste the code into the course blog and see how students like it.


music player
I made this music player at MyFlashFetish.com.

16
Apr

Using del.icio.us for Research in ENG102 Course

Yes, just this semester I tried implementing del.icio.us into my ENG102 (research) class to help students share their research with each other. I wouldn’t say it was a huge success, but I still believe it is a worthwhile assignment. The main problem was that many students are not familiar with social bookmarking and can’t see a need for it. Students tend to “live for the moment” meaning they search for something in Google, find what they need, use it for whatever purpose, and then they are on to something else. It’s hard to get them to think in terms of “saving” for later or even sharing it with someone else. I also had to teach students how to download the bookmark extensions for the browsers in class and how to use the extension. This is all time consuming.

The assignment was based around a unit theme for the course, personal freedoms. This was an exploration assignment to get ideas for topics that fit into the theme. We used the notes section to practice summary skills. They wrote 3-5 sentence summaries of what the web pages covered, and we used the tags section to come up with keywords related to the topics. They could later use those same keywords to do further searches for periodicals and books. A requirement was that one tag must be: personal+freedoms. By using this tag we created a repository of web pages on the topic of personal freedoms, which then becomes a starting point for students exploring a topic to research and argue. Here is a list of our collection: http://del.icio.us/tag/%22personal%2Bfreedoms%22
We needed to spend more time on the tagging and keywords. They did do very well there.

I then used the RSS feed to port the collection into Blackboard, explaining to students that they could view the collection right from there, and whenever anyone added more to it, it would automatically repopulate with all the new content.

The evaluation part came in later. We were only concerned with gathering and sharing ideas with that assignment. The next assignment was to choose a page from the collection and evaluate it. The lecture discussed how web sources are not always reliable and are not always the best for college papers. My guess was that many of the pages collected would not be great sources, so an evaluation would point out some major flaws. They were then asked to search and share again, armed with this new knowledge, but I’m not so sure the second batch of pages collected were any better than the first.

I hope that explains it. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask. I’m already think of better ways to do it next time.