Friday, November 27, 2009

Some Possible Networks

We seem to have some possible network themes bubbling to the surface already and, though I do not want to start pigeonholing courses to broader themes, the following seem to apply to many of the courses as we move forward and begin to think of tags for each of the courses:

Virtual Minds
Technologies of Gender

What I like at this point is the overlap that many of these have. We need to make linkages not only between the courses in one "theme" but courses int he others as well.

And thinking about tagging, I am thinking that we should pick keywords that a) are NOT in the course description, and b) that are NOT academic disciplines in their own right. For example, why would I keyword a themed ENG101 "composition"? It is a composition course, right? On the other hand, I should not tag my ENG101 course "philosophy" because it is not a philosophy course. Finally, the words should be attractive to students. So, I am thinking tags should be like the following:

ENG099; Theme: Game Nation; Tags: Video games, Teaching & Learning, Simulation
ENG101; Theme: Living in the Matrix; Tags: Media, Simulation, Reality vs. Illusion
ENG102: Writing Through Literature; Theme: Supernatural; Tags: Paranormal, Psyche, Reality vs. Illusion
ENG2XX: Themes in Literature; Theme: The Grimm; Tags: Paranormal, Psyche, Reality vs. Illusion
LIB200: Liberal Arts and Science Capstone; Theme: Virtual Culture; Tags: Media, Simulation, Reality vs. Illusion

Still thinking.

[IMAGE: "wwitter-network.png" ourtesy of]

Monday, November 16, 2009

Coming Spring I 2010!

New networks for teaching and learning are coming to LAGCC-CUNY in Spring I 2010!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Web 2.0 in and out of the Classroom: A Piece for our Campus Newsletter (Cross-posted)

I use Web 2.0 tools to connect with my students, to connect my students to one another, to inter-connect my separate courses, and to encourage all my students to be active participants in online communities of teachers and learners.

When I was learning how to conduct research, my sources were limited by what the campus library had available or could order in a restricted amount of time. Students today, however, are faced with a seemingly endless amount of information and they need to learn not just how to find and how to collect information, but also how to rapidly critique the value of what they find (to sort the wheat from the chaff) and then organize what they find into useable and accessible structures. Just as the traditional note cards ceased to be as efficient after the proliferation of photocopiers, so the research folder is now being replaced with the research blog, the wiki, and research based start-pages.

What the Web 2.0 instructor needs is a willingness to truly become a public intellectual and, more practically, an understanding of which tools are more appropriate for which tasks. Blogs, for example, by their very design, highlight progress over time, so I find them perfect for a longer research process with reflection. All of my students have blogs that interconnect with my professional blog (, my individual class bogs, and with one another. In fact, I use my home blog to discuss my courses in progress-what worked well, what could use tweaking-and upcoming course preparations. I also plan out my own research and writing research projects on my blog. My comments and thoughts are public. Anyone on the web can see them including my students, so they are able to see my own process writing over time and I am able to model for them in real time, with real work, how working writers write and how working teachers teach. The “mystery” that we often work so hard to reveal, is all but gone.

Now that I am taking Designed for Learning 2.0, I am adding more functionality to my classes-but slowly and with careful planning. I don’t want to overburden my students or myself while, at the same time, I do want for my community of learners to have the space and time to explore, experiment, and play with the possibilities that Web 2.0 tools allow; but with their help-for many of our students are truly what Marc Prensky terms “digital natives” (Don't Bother me Mom, I'm Learning!)-and I am the digital immigrant. (IMAGE: "Tag Cloud" Image courtesy of, ref. "Web 2.0")

Saturday, November 14, 2009

ENG 266: Shakespeare (Fall 1 2009)

Portrait of William Shakespeare (1610).
National Portrait Gallery, London.

Part of the Shakespeare class was conducted on a Ning.

To view our work, please e-mail me at

I like this image better!