If you’re a regular visitor to freshmancomp.com, you’ve probably noticed a LOT more posts recently. Well, don’t get too excited. I certainly can’t keep this up, but it has been fun trying to post everyday. I’m participating in a 30in30 self imposed competition. It’s nothing official that can be found on the internet, just a challenge for myself. The idea is to post 30 blog posts in 30 days. For the first 15 days, I did well enough to post one a day. But then school started and posting became a challenge. But I haven’t thrown in the towel yet. I just have some catching up to do.
I do a lot of reading of other blogs, and I really appreciate what others have to share with me and other teachers on the web. So I try to give back by posting about my experiences with teaching with technology. Often times I get stuck about what to write about. All my ideas seem so trivial to me. But I have to realize that what’s trivial for me, may not be so for others. So I’ll keep posting. I have to find a happy balance though. Going to bed every night and having that feeling that I’ve forgotten to do something is going to give me an ulcer, so I have set realistic goals for blogging in the future.
With 11 days left in January and 10 days left in my 30in30 challenge, I have 13 posts to meet my current goal. Piece of cake. However, when the challenge is over, I’m hoping to maintain a 2 times a week posting schedule. That should feel easy after completing this challenge. But if you don’t hear from me for a few weeks, be sure to post a comment to remind me of my goal. And if there’s anything you’d like to see here, let me know. I could use a few more blogging ideas.
As an online instructor, I’m always trying to find ways to reduce the amount of reading my online students do in my class. I’m not trying to eliminate reading, but I do feel as if some online classes are all about reading and writing, and there isn’t much media to break that up. It also doesn’t take into consideration the different learning styles. Some students are accustomed to learning from listening or watching an instructor. So I mix it up by providing a weekly podcast and lots of video lessons.
While reading my RSS feeds this afternoon, I came across a post on the Free Technology for Teachers blog titled Podcastomatic Turns Your Blog Posts Into Podcasts. That sounded interesting, so I thought I’d try it out with my blog, and it works fine if you don’t mind listening to a robot for a few minutes.
I clicked the link that the site provided for subscribing to the podcast, and my iTunes opened on my computer and downloaded my podcast. Now once I post any new blog post, I presume Podcastomatic will pick it up and deliver it to my iTunes. We’ll see about that. You can see below that it brought in my last 10 posts into my iTunes Podcast list. Read more
I’ve been teaching online literature courses for four years now. My lit of choice is ENH295: Banned Books and Censorship. I’m still scarred from traditional American and British lit from college, and those courses were already in the capable hands of my colleagues who also teach literature online at GCC. So I went for Banned Books. Makes me feel like a rebel or something, but I like it and the students seem to as well.
Many often wonder how we make online literature courses work when the core element in the face to face class is discussion. We read, analyze and discuss. Well, we also have to write, so moving a course like this online is quite simple actually. We use discussion forums and blogs. This was problematic in the past with our LMS, so I moved the course over to a WordPress blog years ago. I’ve since moved the core content back to our new LMS Canvas, but the blog still remains a central part of the online course. I only moved the core content back for a secure gradebook. I was always nervous about having my grades in the cloud of a non-approved web service in past.
So let’s talk about this blog and how it works for the online lit class.
Yep, I said it. I’m calling out GCC and their lack of initiative to get students writing for a real audience. Part of the problem lies with the lack of tools available that are supported by the college, but that’s really just an excuse. I even heard someone say yesterday that now that Blackboard is going away, she won’t be able to have her students blog any more. Well, fear not. Blogs live on, and the fact that they are not bastardized and hidden in a LMS should be liberating. For you, and the blogs. You have free reign to choose the tool that is best suited for your pedagogical need, not what is forced upon you by technology designers who probably have never taught a day in their lives. What the LMS might be pedaling is often something trying to be one tool for every need. We all know how that works out in the end. No one gets what they really need.
But there are blogs galore available for use on the web, and most are free. There are traditional blogs, micro-blogs, and micro-micro-blogs, like Twitter. You’re bound to find something to meet your needs, and all it takes is a little patience to learn the basics. I’ll be doing a workshop next week in the CTLE on Blogs for the Classroom, November 1, 1pm – 3pm in HT2-139. Join me in a discussion about using blogs for teaching and learning. There are many uses for blogs from providing content to providing students with a method to share their thoughts and writing with you and their peers. This will be both an informative and hands on workshop. To sign up go to our web page: http://www.gcca
To hold you over until then, I created a video to show you how quickly and easily you can set up a blog and start blogging today with Blogger. Blogger is available to us as part of our new Google Apps, so it’s linked to your school Gmail account. Look at all the tools that are just one click away from your email (image above). We have tools for videos, photos, wikis, websites, and blogging to name a few. We actually have two blogging tools available to us through Google, but I’ll just show you one today. Join us on Thursday more.