Skip to content

Recent Articles

5
Aug

ENG102 Screencast: Formatting Assignments

Formatting Assignments
This screencast will show you how to correctly format and save your assignments before you submit them for grading.

http://www.freshmancomp.com/screencasts/PaperFormat/PaperFormat.html

5
Aug

LEARNtech #3: Notifications & Messages in Ning

picture-1.png

This lesson covers the Ning Social Network: Turning Off Notifications & Checking Messages.

19
Jul

Are Online Classes Right for You?

If you have registered for ENG101 or ENG102 Online, you have come to the correct place. These sections of ENG101 and ENG102 are taught completely online, and we will be using Blackboard as the course management system. To participate in this class, you will need to successfully log-in to Blackboard and learn to use the system.

If you already know your Blackboard Username (MEID) and Password, log in to Bb and complete the course orientation in the START HERE tab. If you don’t know your MEID, visit https://eims.maricopa.edu/MAW/SPAT.html and choose the option: Forgot Your MEID? If it’s not your first visit, and you know your MEID but you’ve simply forgotten your password, you can look up your password if you have forgotten it, by choosing: Forgot Your Password?

Class begins January 19th for the Spring 2010 Semester. The Blackboad site will be available by the 11th. You must enter Blackboard and begin the class by Wednesday, January 20th or you will be dropped for no show.

When you enter Blackboard, read the current Announcements and complete all the orientation activities. (If you need help navigating around Blackboard, watch any of the first six orientation video clips: http://www.maricopa.edu/blackboard/help.html

If you have any questions, call or email Dr. Cooper at email or 602-325-3259.

Distance Learning Facts

1. Distance Learning students sometimes can end up neglecting their course work because of personal or professional circumstances, unless they have compelling reasons for taking the course.

2. Some students prefer the independence of Distance Learning; others find it uncomfortable.

3. Distance Learning gives students greater freedom of scheduling, but it can require more self-discipline than on-campus classes.

4. Some people learn best by interacting with other students and instructors, but Distance Learning may not provide much opportunity for this interaction.

5. Distance Learning requires you to work from written directions without face-to-face instructions.

6. It may take as long as two or three days to get comments back by e-mail from your instructor (such as over a weekend or holiday).

7. Distance Learning requires at least as much time as on-campus courses and in many instances up to three times as much.

8. Distance Learning uses computers and other technology for teaching and communication.

9. Printed and/or online materials are the primary source of directions and information in Distance Learning.

10. Distance Learning classes often require written assignments and projects.

11. Students who have dropped a college class often don’t have the self-discipline or motivation to work independently and complete an online course.

Based on IS ELI FOR ME? by Bob Loser, Joan Trabandit, Barbara Hatheway, and Teresa Donell.

©1989, 1998, Extended Learning Institute, Northern Virginia Community College.

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.

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.

27
Dec

LEARNtech #2: Signing Up for Ning Social Network

http://www.freshmancomp.com/screencasts/Learntech2ning/Learntech2ning.htmllearntech2a.png

Hi. This is Professor Cooper and this is a screencast for the ENG102 course. This screencast is one in a series called “LearnTech in 5 minutes or less with Dr. Cooper.” This lesson will cover signing up for Ning, our class social network. It’s kind of like Facebook, but better and private – just for students in my classes.

26
Dec

LEARNtech #1: Using Bedford Bibliographer

http://www.freshmancomp.com/screencasts/learntech1bedford/learntech1bedford.htmllearntech12a.png

Hi. This is Professor Cooper and this is a screencast for the ENG102 course. This screencast is one in a series called “LearnTech in 5 minutes or less with Dr. Cooper.” This lesson will cover registering and using the Bedford Bibliographer, an easy-to-use Web-based application from the author of The Bedford Researcher that assists students with the process of collecting sources, and generates bibliographies in MLA, APA, CSE, and Chicago Styles.

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.

31
Oct

High Tech, White Boards and Developmental Writers


Okay, first notice that I didn’t say Smartboards. I said white boards. I would love to be posting about the use of Smartboards in my developmental writing class at GCC, but that is not the case today. I’m posting about the technology of white boards and markers and technology use in developmental classes. I often struggle with the protestation of using technology in developmental writing courses. Some say that developmental writers are not ready to use technology and that many will struggle with the technology and miss out on learning the necessary writing skills. Others, including myself, feel that the use of technology only enhances the writing and learning experience. The debate is on going.

From the Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Basic Writing:

According to a survey of basic writing teachers across the country, a disparity exists in the use of technology in developmental programs. Reinforcing the claims of earlier empirical studies, Stan and Collins find that using computer technologies in developmental classrooms positively influences students’ attitudes toward writing and improves both the appearance and quantity of student writing. However, numerous institutional issues effect successful computer use, such as differences in the levels of technology currently available, resistance among faculty and students, lack of infrastructure, uneven access to professional development among staff, and lack of visibility for successful efforts.

Stan, Susan, and Terence G. Collins. “Basic Writing: Curricular Interactions with New Technology.” Journal of Basic Writing 17.1 (1998): 18–41.

I can say that I’ve experienced both views. Students in my developmental writing courses at SMC have been inundated with technology. They are using wikis, blogs, word processors and a course management system. The level of technology skills in those classes is broad with students coming in with absolutely no computer experience to those who have experience in basic word processing and email. Very few have experience using the new web 2.0 features like blogs and wikis. I lose a lot of the students early on in the developmental courses. Some semesters I’ve lost close to half of my students by the end of a semester. I’ve always associated most of the drops to the students fear of this new technology and have tried doubly hard to train students in the proper use of the technology. Well, I don’t feel that way any more.

I’m teaching a developmental writing course here at GCC, and unfortunately I have no access to technology in the class itself besides my shiny white boards, overhead projector from 1950, and a vcr/dvd combo and television. This of course is no reflection on the college; it’s just a this is what’s left situation. This late start 8 week course loaded with 24 students, and 20 showed the first day. The second class 15 came back, and now in the 4th week I’m down to 8. Where did they all go? It’s the same pattern I see in my courses at SMC where we have abundant access to technology in the class and out. So I’m fairly confident that it is not the technology scaring my students away. It’s the “I can’t do this” attitude that many of our developmental writers come into college with.

It’s not the technology. There is too much research out there that states the positive effects of technology use in developmental writing courses as well as the negative effects of a new generation of apathetic students. We just have to keep trying to find ways to keep them interested and to educate them.