Saturday, March 27, 2010

Courseware vs. Web 2.0

My post for this week is about 'web strategy' for institutions and educators. (I used to write a lot about 'web strategy' for enterprise software as a journalist). As we all approach the tension between courseware (Blackboard, Sakai, Moodle) vs. the DIY (do-it-yourself) ethos of Web 2.0 (blogs, Ning, Facebook, social networking, etc.--that's us in this faculty seminar), a few thoughts struck me as I got stuck with a simple Blackboard task....

For one of my classes, I wanted to look up a course handout that I didn't have on my local drive at home. No big deal, I thought, I'll just look it up online on Blackboard. But it wasn't as easy as that: the handout was last used--it had turned out--a few years ago for the same course. But Blackboard's search capabilities are non-existent. I had to go through my individual courses one at time and search using my browser's find button. Ugh.

This is, of course, less than ideal and it got me thinking about the problem we're already having in keeping track of content across different platforms and tools (blogs for my class). One of the appealing things about Blackboard is it is a 'portal' that gets you to contents (your courses) easily across time. We can expect Blackboard (eventually) to get social networking and blog abilities (and maybe even proper searching!) It won't be perfect, but institutions and standards are good (especially when it comes to making sure students can access the software and for re-using courses over time). Once you've used Blackboard once for one class, you can use it for all your classes, right?

For the world of Web 2.0, re-use is a problem. My wikis for my courses including LIB 200 will need re-launching every semester (with content for a new class). Re-using a blog (as a substitute for courseware like Blackboard) is not easy. I wouldn't relish having to use Blogger as the main entry point for a class. (Right now, I'm still using Blackboard to post materials--and I have several extra pages for research links, class notes. There is a blog roll there to connect students with Blogger.) Yes, shouldn't all this content--on Blackboard or on blogs--be available to everyone in the College? Well it could be with a proper search ability, for example.

For searching, this are obvious solutions. Institutions might investigate tools like Google's Site Search engine (about $250 and up to index a modest number of web pages). Students and faculty would be able to search relevant content across a pre-defined set of blogs and so forth--for example, the content for our Community 2.0 courses.) That's what we would need for the different types of users who might be interested in a 'vertically or horizontally linked' set of courses: current students for a course, loyal students who take several courses by the same prof., prospective students to an institution, and indeed other faculty members interested in seeing what is being taught across classes.... I could add that as we think about online/distance learning and/or hybrid courses, all these problems become even more pressing. (You don't want to re-invent the proverbial wheel with Web 2.0 when teaching online.)

The bottom line? Well, the DIY aspect to Web 2.0 is wonderful in some ways, but it makes it difficult to search and find content across different tools and platforms, and reusing course content (not to mention general administration tasks, like remembering all those passwords!!) is another problem. I'm actually betting on Blackboard and other courseware platforms to get smarter. If they do, we'll be able to work within a standard set of tools that support the best features of Web 2.0 for all.... Anyway, it's exciting to be doing it ourselves, but there has to be a better way in the near future mixing standards, best practices, etc., and platforms (like Blackboard or Blogger) that we can share and one day agree upon as an institution....

Have a good Spring Break everybody!

Lost in Blog Land vs Trying to Get Off the Path

Dr VAN raises an interesting issue because it speaks to the experimental nature of using blogs for coursework. Which is to say, even if as an instructor you regularly employ student blogs in your courses, your students will not generally be accustomed to it, so there's a certain amount of tweaking and adjustment that goes into adapting the form to an academic context. One of the biggest concerns in this range seems to be tone/style of engagement: it can be difficult to strike a balance between the horrible extremes of blog as informal chat/blather (the beloved house style of the internet) and blog as dead repository for student assignments.

My class actually started out the semester at the opposite end of the spectrum from Dr VAN's, posting only assignments and offering feeble peer-review style comments ("good use of quotation"). After some class discussion, we seem to have worked the comments in the direction of dialogic engagement with other writers' ideas; now and for the next few weeks I'll be in the process of getting them to loosen up a little bit and take ownership of their blogs, so that they can find their way into the course materials on their own. I framed the situation this way when I chose to lay first emphasis on individual posts as graded responses, which is the first tier of my blog grading policy -- I figured it would be easier to work backward from formal, alienated writing (i.e. homework) than forward from txtspk. Now I'm pushing the second tier of the blog grades, which is the overall grade for their blogs based on the rubric Priscilla posted a few weeks ago. You can find my notes on this point here. In other words, I've tried to "discipline" them first, then introduce the idea that they can take a more creative approach to their blogs outside of the formal assignments as an easy way to raise the "low stakes" portion of their grade. After the break, I'll be announcing a two-week contest for the most creative blog, to be determined by class vote.

I hope this two-tiered approach will produce a mix of dynamic blogs punctuated by occasional "formal" responses. I'll post later in the semester to let you know how it works out.

I do think it would make an enormous difference if I could have these students in a computer lab once a week, as I will when I teach the cluster next fall. (I've tried the laptop classroom, but the connections are so dodgy that the students get discouraged.) In the fall, I'm also planning to structure the blog assignments differently at the beginning of the semester: the first post will be a personal introduction (pass/fail), the second will be a formal (graded) response to a class reading, and the third will be an informal (ungraded) post on a topic related to the class. Thereafter, formal responses will be due about once per week. For the informal responses, I'm going to experiment with "lightning round" (10-15 minute) contests about once a week to see who can produce the most interesting/creative/funny post -- so there will be immediate incentives for informal as well as formal engagement with class blogs. I have a sense that this will keep them thinking about the discussion topics throughout the week, since it will be easier to win the contests if you already have something in mind. I've found that little games like this are also a good way to shift the pace of a class and keep the students engaged (plus they can be used as a reward/punishment system since they are usually well-liked). However, you really need a lab to do this kind of activity with blogs, because you need everyone in the same room during the contest to generate excitement.

Spring Break!

This week didn't involve too much Web 2.0 stuff, but they're working on their blogs over the break. I already got one post back and it seems pretty good.

Now that the class seems to have fallen into a rhythm and I feel like there's a relatively solid foundation laid down for the class, I want to spend the next nine weeks or so working on some collaborations with people here. I'm posting this goal here to create a public shame factor for myself.

Also, Ximena just left me a comment on my blog that Jason had his students get Creative Commons licenses for their blogs.

We actually discussed copyright and Creative Commons in class Monday, so this is a great idea for my students, but it's probably great for any class that's creating publicly available content. It protects their work and shows them their work is worth protecting. Also, it helps them to get a better handle on the double-edged sword that is copyright.

So thanks to Ximena and Jason for that great idea!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Good news and Updates!

Hey all—

Great news! As some of you already know, thanks to our Dean and co-participant Paul Arcario (and, of course the CTL), we have a full seminar next year with stipends and all--hosted by yours truly, Phyllis, Ximena, and Craig from the CTL! We may not know exactly what we are doing, but we are certainly doing it well, right? If you want to apply for the Community 2.0 seminar, please go to The application is due Monday, April 15, 2010. We'd  really like as many of the core group to participate as possible.

Now, a few organizational and technical items:

1. Please tag every post if possible. The easiest way to tag is to click on SHOW ALL next to the “Labels” window on the post. A list of all our labels will open. Tags should be separated by commas or they will be read as one tag. (FYI: If you use the "show all" option, it inserts the commas automatically).

2. If you are using Blogger and getting RSS feeds when linking to your students, be sure to have them post an initial blog entry (of even two words). Until then, you will go right to an RSS feed page.

3. I have considered blocking out our blog to “anonymous” posters as we are starting to get some odd responses as well as ads. I am currently deleting them all, but that could become tedious. We can discuss this as a group here or in our jam if you like. We are still currently un-moderated and anyone can post, though I get alerts via email when there is a post or comment.

TY to Ximena for the handy visual aid above!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

rubric link on right (under our names)

Here's the link to the rubric in a more prominent location than tucked away in my blog. Sorry to Phyllis and anyone else who wanted it sooner - clearly I need to check my gmail for this project more often!

Exciting stuff is brewing here! Keep up the good work - and the tolerant, good-natured responses most are having to occasional tech glitches.

ps--they love the idea of talking with another class!

Students in my world lit class responded very positively to the idea of blogging across classes. We had an intense discussion last night about race, class, poverty, violence and crime in relation to the novel we are reading. The are excited about reading Scott's students blogs on causes of crime... now let's see what they say...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lost in Blog Land or Perhaps Swirling Around? Confessions of a New Blogger

Hi everone--we've discussed four short stories on blogs--by Orwell, Lahiri, Danticat and Nam Lee--they set the tone and open up themes for World Lit Written in English and students seem to be liking the stories a lot--we are now transitioning to Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian...I contextualized one of the main themes of the book (barriers to education in a colonial-pocol context by having them read excerpts from Frederick Douglass and Richard Wright--both of which they loved). Big themes that are surfacing--how colonialism is inscribed on the body, how writers use language to survive, to speak back, the problem of hybridity--a hostile space you have entered, requiring a mask, a denial of student commented, "we all have to bear the problem of learning too much, knowing too much about ourselves and the injustice around us...I sometimes wonder how many students at LaGuardia have had to face the same problems as Douglass, Wright or Alexie..."
Before I began living in blog-land I had students write reflections every week--a page--responding to text and I used these to start class discussion, and as a gold mine for essay topics--I could see what in the text spoke to them--so I want to take a moment to compare my experience with blogs so far with my earlier experience with HANDED IN WRITTEN REFLECTIONS. Point number one--they took the reflections more seriously--a greater percentage of students wrote them and gave them to me--now it is only week 2 1/2-3 so I am trying to adjust and be patient--but there is something about the blog that they may not take as seriously--and I have tried to lower the boom but the results are mixed: "I ordered the book the first day of class but it hasn't arrived yet" was one response--I made this student go to the library...Point two--they are very interested in GRADES--and I am using the blog evaluator that Priscilla gave us--great--I showed it in class and they seemed....intimidated! Point three--some are preferring to write reflections because they like the privacy and so far I have given them that option but am trying to win them over by responding to blogs quickly. On the positive side--they love posting pictures and they are talking to each other--so I am trying to think about how to encourage new kinds of communities--tomorrow we will be getting groups together for each of 5 novels--and they have signed up on NING--
Finally--tomorrow Scott and I are going to set things up (thank you Dr X) so my class will be reading his class blogs on the Causes of Crime--then they will be applying ideas from Scott's students to Alexie's novel and reservation life--will let you all know how it goes!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blogging the week away

Let me first add my two cents to those frustrated with the technology issues. I am teaching in an incredibly non-smart classroom, a reality that initially had me rethink my participation in any online projects. Nonetheless, I decided to go the "laptop+ projector" route. For reasons known only to these portable laptops, blogger never fully loads on these. For example, when I wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to follow a blog by clicking on the "follow" link, said link would never appear. Reloading (repeatedly) on the slow server brought no result. Miraculously, students where able to do it even without me being able to demonstrate. Laguardia technology 0- Laguardia students 1 (I am getting ready for the world cup this summer by keeping score).

What I found interesting is that even though I never mentioned customizing blogs, many students went ahead and did so; furthermore, in their first entry, which was to be a short personal note, many made sure to include key aspects of their biography and interests. I saw some of them discuss these in class before we started, and even seeking out people based on these. If nothing else, a solid sign of community building. But I want to come back to the issue of personalization, because that is one of the elements that drew me to blogger--students being able to take control of their space, and feel that they are also holding the steering wheel in the learning process. It was exciting to see how much thought a lot of the students put into template selection, background picture, fonts, etc. Since I tend to see such fiddling as fun and not work, I am hoping the same is for them.

Next: This week students start posting on the ENG 102 stories, so I am eager to see how the application on the texts will proceed. Soon after we will start connecitng with blogs from other ENG 102 classes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quick Report : Week 2

This week my students began to share their ideas and comment on each others' work via Ning blogs and forums, and --in my research courses-- via Diigo.

I have pasted a typical exchange from The Writer's Life blog below. As you can see, the students are working hard at sharing ideas. And while many of these ideas could have been shared face to face, the link that student "C" includes to the cool "Rebirth of Venus" T-shirt could only happen in an online environment!

Student thinking about a topic for her paper:
I am actually interested in two topics- one i am considering to do is about eating disorders and how this affects teenagers. Another one i was thinking about is on how plastic surgery can do more bad than good. Like i said before, i love plastic surgery, but when it is reconstructive. However, the other day i was watching this channel which was showing some documentaries about people who had gone under plastic surgery and ended up being really sick. So I was thinking about writing about how unnecessary plastic surgery can ruin a person's life, and the negative results it can bring along. Although this two topics are very interesting, i have also considered to make a research paper about sexually transmitted diseases, and how serious the consequences could be.

Comments on her blog:
Me: I was just watching a lecture by a Yale professor on the subject of happiness. He was summarizing the different findings on what makes humans happy. The section I talk about below comes rather late in the lesson.
As it turns out, our average happiness is not affected by much (no, not even death), but there are a few things that do seem to affect it long term: NOISE (negatively) and PLASTIC SURGERY (positively)--what would you know?

Student A: Both of your topics are extremely interesting and can perhaps be creatively combined. Eating disorders, from my understanding, can occur to people who have body-image issues. They may have a warped perception of what they look like and may therefore be convinced to have a negative relationship with food. I am NOT referring to people who eat lots of food to fulfill an emotional need and are grossly overweight or are morbidly obese, I am referring to those who consume very little food or intentionally vomit their food so that they do not gain wait. Perhaps this is a poor man's way of avoiding surgery. Nevertheless, both plastic surgery and this type of eating disorder in a quest for "the perfect body" can both be researched as the lengths a person would go through to get the body they desire. Does that make sense?

Student B: I think the topic about eating disorders is interesting, because this affect to many teenagers and also to many children in this country. The new generation is going to follow to characters like famous and models getting illness like bulemmia. Another point is that many children are getting obesity , the cause the fast food. i think that this topic has many information.

Student C: I think plastic surgery is an interesting phenomenon too and I think I have the same opinions as you on the good that reconstructive surgery can do, but at the same time I think if someone has the money and really wants to get something done they should have the right to do it. But I'm also aware of how social forces can affect someone's perceptions of how they look... maybe there should be mandatory psychological counseling before anyone gets elective surgery? Your topic reminds me of this shirt I have.

Student D: i think that your topic on eating dissorders would be a good topic to write about since this is an issue that unfortunately is taking place in our society. Its affecting the younger generation and it can cause great harm. Its good information that can benefit teenagers that tend to look up to famous celeberties and go through what ever it takes to look slim just like their favorite celeb's.

Student E: I think the topic with the plastic surgery will be good to write about On vh1 there is this show about plastic surgery and it shows you what happen when people go through it some get very sick and other surgery turn out very horrible

Student thinking about topic responds:
Guys thank you very much. Your comments are very helpful. :)) im looking forward to writing a very interesting paper.

Student F: There is alot of infoformation on all your topics. I like your last topic, about sexually transmitted disease because it would be a good idea to inform teenagers or young adults about this topic. You can't go wrong with either of your topics.

Student G: Plastic surgery , eating disorders and STD's have a lot of documentaries especially on T.V. umm maybe you can talk about eating disorders and how it effects the younger generation like children who look up to celebs. and plastic surgery can fall under this category too because a lot of " role models" are giving the wrong message to others by saying beauty requires perfection so plastic surgery is needed to fix whatever it is your unhappy with , and than you can talk about the negatives like whoever tried to fix their nose and it turned out wrong than that one surgery multiplied into 3-5 surgeries

Student H: I think the topic on eating disorders and how they effect teenagers is goin to be a good topic of choice.There are many ways they affect teenagers internally and externally. I read an article on eating disoreders in one of my english classes and i found it very interesting because i found out a lot of things that were very intriging.

Assignments Completed
Click on the titles to go to a copy of the assignment.

Using Diigo
This week both my ENG 101 and ENG 103 used Diigo to annotate resources for their papers. The students in ENG 101 are already sharing their findings in a group. The students in ENG 103 will do it (probably) next week (we only meet once a week).

Understanding Plagiarism
The title of this assignment is pretty self explanatory. I have used this assignment to great success in all my classes. I think it could use some revision to include blogs and images, though I usually cover those topics orally in class.

Let The Tutoring Begin!

This Monday and Tuesday, My ENG 220 "The Seminar in Teaching Writing" students will respond (via blog) to Jason Smith’s ENG 102 class’ drafts of their first paper. Thursday night we looked at Jason's course blog and each chose two of his students to respond to. The ENG 102 students will be posting draft essays Monday the 22nd. So my students will respond to their assigned writers between Monday around noon (the time the paper draft should appear) and Tuesday night at 5:45 (our class time).

You can check out the assignment on my course blog. I give what I hope is very specific advice about how to respond to other students. If anyone has ideas or responses to my advice, I'd love to hear it! I'm still learning how to do all this!

I'm very excited to see how this goes. Jason and I will let you all know!

Bye for now!

Facebook is going real well thus far!

I'm sharing a Facebook chat conversation I had with a student this morning. The fact that the student had access (through Web 2.0) to get an answer to a question on a Saturday morning is priceless! Additionally, the student didn't have a Facebook account before the class and is already using additional features. Student learning is evident in this brief conversation as she relates what we talked about in class (FIAT MONEY) to another class (BUSINESS LAW). Additionally, she expresses interest in attending a free financial seminar offered by the college that I posted on the Facebook group page. The student's name has been changed to "student" for privacy concerns.

good mornig i have a question were r we suppose toget theanswer for inflation rate also i went into site GDP and look but dont know were i get current rate
Ah....the GDP site gives you information about CALCULATING GDP; think about where else you can go to find that data...(HINT: START WITH GOOGLE SEARCH).
i did goggle it and found many sites so I will look through them and print it
how about inflation rate
Regarding the inflation rate, are you talking about the question using the inflation rate calculator?
11:15am Student
no...just the answer is fine...unless you want to give it a shot on your own!
Wanda, I want to commend you as you weren't even on Facebook before we started and now you're chatting!! Good for you!
11:17am Student
the 4 questions on blackboard are the only questions we have to answer
11:18am Santo
Yep...and the definitions.
11:19am Student
thanks hope u enjoy this beautiful spring day im off to school got a class 1-430 monday will explain how last night my teacher was talking about the same thing we are fiat money well see u monday got to go
11:21am Student
i didnt know about that credit class on thrusday from2-4 would like to come next week

Blogs Rolling!

This was a great week, technology-wise.

Tuesday, I spent the last 20 or so minutes of class getting everyone signed-up for blogs (I have two students who aren't digital natives, so I was glad I could actually sit with them to help them get going).

Friday, they spent around the last half of class posting to their blogs, and so far, the material seems pretty good.

I've used blogs in my online class before and it's always worked well, but I was very happy that so far, it seems useful face-to-face.

The students were all quiet and focused as they worked on their posts, which had them reflect on their reading processes. Next week, I want to have them continue to blog as a place where they can write to learn. But I also want to facilitate their commenting on each other's blogs.

Right now, my big challenge is figuring out how to get them networking with students outside of my class. Like I want to work with Ximena, but her students are in Ning and I'm not quite ready to throw another platform at my students. And Ed and I talked about our students working together, but he's thinking about using FB.

I'm sure we'll work something out, but the platform issue is more complex than I initially thought.

There's a concept called OpenID, where you use one set of credentials to login to other sites. There aren't a lot of sites that use it, though, and I'm not even quite sure how to get it working for Google or Wordpress (I think they might provide OpenIDs, but don't accept them, accept for comments).

So I don't think it's ready for us right now (and it might not ever be ready as it's been around for quite some while already) but if some kind of single-sign-on protocol does ever get adapted, I think that could make our work a lot easier.

'Blog Rolls' -- Best Practice and a Time-Saving Tool

My post for this week is to point out the 'best practice' of maintaining 'blog rolls.' These are used all over the web (and on our Community 2.0 website of course) as a sort of portal to a known set of blogs. When you think about it, different blog rolls would be useful for different types of users--for students participating in a particular class, a virtual, vertical cluster, a prospective student, or even faculty coordinating all this. (Different sets of users in different classes and projects would be grouped and combined separately in different blog rolls.)

As we connect students across different content areas, er, courses/communities, we'll need to update these blog rolls with correct URLs and the names of each blog. Obviously, this might be an administrative challenge!

For example, I will be linking my students' blogs for LIB 200 this weekend. (After my handout on signing up, almost all of them signed up for a blog--hooray.) I created an Excel spreadsheet with their e-mail and blog addresses, so we can keep track....

I want to have an entry point to our 'blog roll' on Blackboard (yes, we're still using this traditional courseware) and on our course wiki....

So to facilitate this, I just spent a few hours writing a little web script that automates the generation of a 'blog roll.' First, you just type a list of URLs (web addresses) of student blogs (separated by commas) in the following web form available at (Alternatively, you can cut-and-paste these values from an Excel spreadsheet or Word with the same information.) Next, click on the Generate Blog Roll button.

The script will check to see if your students' URL is valid. If so, it will 'scrape' the title of your students' blogs and use this as the name of the blog in the 'roll.' This saves you the step of having to cut and paste this yourself. The script generates HTML for the links for your blog roll. In a browser, you can select 'view source,' highlight the HTML and copy that into whatever web page (into Blackboard, another blog, a wiki, a Ning or whatever) and gain easy access to all your students' blogs. It just takes a few seconds.

Here is a link to a 'demo.' of the generated output of a blog roll for my class so far.

As with any experimental software, this is provided as-is. I've tested it with Firefox, and a list of about 15 students with blogs (some with broken addresses). It seems pretty handy.

**All this suggests non-technical folks need tools and admin. support to get the most out of blogs.... Let me know what you think!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Discovering the Joys of Student Blogs

OK for my blog this week I want to talk about how much I am enjoying students' responses to the readings--and their creative spins on the texts we are discussing. So far in World Lit in English we have read and discussed "Shooting an Elephant," "Interpreter of Maladies," "Love and Honor and Pity and Compassion. . ." (Nam Lee--the only one you might not know) and most recently Edwidge Danticat's "Children of the Sea" (about Haitian boat people trying to get to Miami--and letters/diary entries (not) exchanged between young man on boat and his girlfriend in Haiti. We've been talking about the effect of colonial interventions on the children of immigrants, migrations into and out of colonial spaces of origin, hybridity etc all of which students have much to say. But equally interesting is the discussion of voice and narrative strategy. What I would like Community 2.0 to help me consider is how some of this conversation might enter YOUR spaces--here is a little sampling from student, Alexander Irish who imagines turning parts of Danticat's story into a screenplay--if you'd like to see more go to my NING. (And finally THANK you Dr X for all your assistance in discovering NING.)

i was a big fan of the imagery which was used in the "Children of the Sea". the way Edwidge Dauticat uses the images on such simples things, like describing the way the sheets, which were being used as the "sails". "When i got on board i thought i could smell the semen and the innocence lost on those sheets. I look up there and i think of you and all those times you resisted". This part of the story doesn't mean much to alot of people, but as a amatuer screenwriter/poet/artist, this scene just gave me a vision i can tinker around with in my head, its something i can play with from that line, and maybe expend it into something big. that little scene, i could made into a 5 minute short, of a girl resisting sexual temptation but now the man looking at his bed sheets, and trying to rationalize the rape he just committed against her(this is mine...i'm copywriting it right now). Also, i can just see people raising their hands, and ripping out at Celianne and her baby, trying to take hold of the still born child, and trying to toss it over board. its almost like a extremely disturbing version of the famous scene in spartacus, directed by Stanley Kubrick, where everyone else says that they are spartacus, but instead of sweaty people in a country side in rome (probably not really filmed in rome, but i'm just saying), its people saying, "i'll throw that baby over", then someone says "no i'll do it." its a very abstract view of it, but its very similar in a way. i did like how both parties in the story were writing to each other, but not really writing to each other. it's almost like you're getting shown both sides of the argument, with the a measure of unrest, unrest in the boat, due to sun, lack of food, etc. and the unrest which is plaguing everyone back home, in haiti, mostly do to the violence of the regime, and the constant running and hiding, people being killed. You are receiving both sides of the coin, from two different parties, whose letters will never be seen by the other party, but there is still a hope that they will see each other, but by the end of of the her last letter, we already know, he's become a child of the sea.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My first week and a half of teaching have been both rewarding and frustrating. I have some great students and am excited about the classes. The Comp. class I have of course taught many times before but am always tweeking, and this semester am including the archives for the first time. I'm thrilled to be doing Art, Politics and Protest class for the first time.

On the other hand, as it seems happens every semester, there have been a number of logistical frustrations. The bookstore didn't fill the order for my composition class. The projector in one of my classrooms was broken and the backup didn't arrive. I had hoped to do a laptop order on a few days but didn't realize you can't do this in the C building. It seems these are not only personal frustrations but very often make it difficult to present a clean, organized class to students in the opening weeks of class.

Part of the challenge is rooted in the computer lab issue. When I teach a cluster, I ask for a computer lab one day a week - two hours out of six. That seems like the perfect ratio for me. In a four or three hour stand alone class, I'm reluctant to give up the limited time that we have - I like talking, having them talk. The blogs seems like a supplement - it doesn't take the place of a discussion that gives them a real handle on the readings/assignments before they do their thoughts.

As a result of all this, they're setting up their blogs outside of class, and we're off to a bit of a slower start than some of you all. However, I'm still excited about the work we'll be doing & exchanging ideas.

My course blogs are: (Composition with a Work theme) (Art Politics, Protest)

Each will have student blogs linked as they get set up. Feel free to comment, link, and so forth.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blogging in Writing Class

I just want to note that there have been a few really amazing things happening in my blog-based classes.  Thanks again to Drs. X and Smith for helping me get up to speed.

1) The students are all becoming allies and friends because they read each others blog posts and comment on them.  Its really built a community in a very fast way.

2) They seem to find it fun.  They are writing 300 word entries, responding to peer writing & ideas and they think its fun.   I'm stunned. I always thought "making learning fun" was a myth created by Children's Television Workshop to make us all feel boring.   But no - students love blogging.

3) Due to all of this "fun and games" writing, students' normal defenses against writing and feedback (peer or teacher) seem to have been minimized.

4) I am enjoying reading and responding to this low-stakes student writing  a lot more than I usually do.

So, all in all, I am totally converted to 2.0.

Thanks again - I love it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Problem with "My Blogs" Widget

Kristen and I were just discussing a problem with the "My Blogs" widget on Blogger, and I thought I should post about it here. The widget is a great tool for keeping track of class blogs, because it sets up a list of those blogs in your sidebar that sorts them according to the most recent update and shows when they've been updated -- so you can easily see who's done their homework. Or it would be a great tool, except that the widget has a habit of automatically linking to the RSS feeds of some blogs instead of the regular URLs, and when it does that it won't sort them right or display the date of the most recent post. And it will probably confuse your students if you ask them to use the "My Blogs" list to reach each other's writing.

The widget seems to work fine with some blogs and flake out with others. I can't tell what the difference is -- anyone? I checked the Blogger forums, and complaints about this problem go back to January. It's not listed as a known issue and there doesn't seem to be a fix on the horizon.

I'm planning to use my Netvibes page to work around the problem -- manageable but not ideal.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Quick Report

All my students have joined their  respective Nings and posted one assignment:
Note: Sex and the City is a private Ning because of the potential private nature of students' work there. I told my students that we could make it public by the end of the semester, if everyone in the class agrees.  

If you and/or your students want to join the Sex and the City Ning, let me know and I will be happy to make you members.

Both the Sex and the City students and the Writer's Life students have also joined groups in Diigo.

As others have mentioned, I have made plans to connect my classes with Jason, Kristen, and (tentatively) Steve and Laura.

Projects assigned/completed this week

Click on the titles to get a full version of each assignment.

Tech Assignment
A handout with instructions on how to access/join the following tools/communities: Ning, Diigo, Wikipedia, LaGuardia e-mail, CUNY Blackboard 8.0. Adapted from one of Jason's assignments.

My ENG 101 students completed this assignment for homework from Monday to Wednesday. My ENG 103 students completed it in a computer classroom with my help. It took them about an hour. (Surprise, surprise, the hardest item was obtaining their LaGuardia e-mail...about one third of students got the INVALID LOGIN message.)

Reading Critically
A handout for reviewing the basics of  reading critically.

My ENG 099 and ENG 101 students used these instructions to annotate/annolight a short text during class. We then summarized the text and selected a few quotes/examples and discussed why they were significant. I plan to use similar strategies for when the students do research using Diigo.

Diagnostic Prompts
These are the prompts for Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" for an ENG 099 as well as for Margaret Sanger's "Awakening and Revolt" or Tommi Avicolli's "He Defies You Still" for an ENG 101.

Research Papers
Here are the instructions for a Research Narrative assigned to ENG 101.

Here are the instructions for a Research Paper to be published online assigned to ENG 103.

Week 1

Technically, my week one is still in progress as I'm about to go into class.

This first week I was trying to set the table in terms of ideas we'll use throughout the semester. But that idea of needing to get students ready for something can be a little addictive. I found I was putting off blogging because I wanted my class to be ready for it. But I'm not sure what ready even means. So we're full speed ahead with the blogs next week and I'm very excited. Plus, I think class blogs will give the class a reflective element that was missing in some of my earlier plans.

I need to thank Jason, though. Seeing what his students were already up to made me want to get my own class rolling right away.

Still no formal class-hopping collaborations going yet, but I've been talking to Ximena and Ed and Santo and Jason, so hopefully that'll start to come together once everyone is settled in.

First Week Comes To A Close with 63 Facebook Group Members

Students responded to the Facebook group page with alacrity, with membership growing from 23 to 63 students in the first week. I knew Facebook was extremely popular, but I didn't think that 98% of students in my two Finance Courses would have Facebook pages (as compared to 62% who have used Blackboard). What I like thus far is the ease at which information can be disseminated in addition to having instant access to chat with students in real time, reply to student questions via posts and private email, and the ability to upload articles and videos ...HAVING IT ALL IN ONE PLACE...makes it easier to manage!

Feel free to take a peek or join the group:

Interesting stuff:
One student changed their PROFILE picture to one that looks more professional.
Some students have requested me as a friend, and have also befriended other students.
One student emailed me a question about the web assignment; with that other students replied that they were having the same problem. I reiterated the instructions immediately by posting another message.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My "Getting Started With Blogger" Handout / Next Week's LIB 200 Topics

My first post begins with a handout I created to help my LIB 200 students get started with Blogger. It's posted here (as an editable .doc file) on my external server. It's a step-by-step guide to 1) signing up an Gmail account, then 2) creating a blog, along with screenshots. Feel free to download and customize this handout for your courses.

As I put together this handout, I was surprised by Gmail's new 'verification' step, which requires students to give their phone number before receiving a text or a voice call. As you sign up for Gmail, you must now provide this verification code. Obviously, most of our students have cell phones; many have smart phones. But not all do. Is it a way to harvest cell phone numbers? (I used to write on privacy issues as a journalist--perhaps there's a story here.)

Their web page states that Google will never spam anyone with calls, etc. with the extra verification step. I hope so, but this is a company with designs on taking over the mobile world, too. I wish that new verification step would go away. It just doesn't feel right to give your phone number (which has to be a real, working phone number) away like this. If enough users complained, Google would change this.... It should.

Topics for next week in LIB 200 include global warming and the impact of suburbia on our carbon footprint. The subtitle of my course is now "Science/Technology: Promise and Peril." Future topics include the promise and danger of robots, molecular biology, cloning, atomic energy.... The readings include an 'imaginative' text treating the same 'scientific' topics: YouTube clips from films of robots and Frankenstein, graphic novels on Robert Oppenheimer and Rosalind Franklin (unrecognized contributor to the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA), another graphic novel illustrating concepts from Darwin's On the Origin of Species and an excerpt from Ian McEwan's Enduring Love (which dramatizes the dilemma of altruism under Darwin), Richard Powers' Galatea 2.2 (talking to a virtual intelligence!), background readings on tech-optimist Ray Kurzweil and finally Caryl Churchill's terrific short play on cloning, A Number. Pretty neat, right? I've posted my syllabus here if you want a look. Finally, our course wiki will also get more content soon. This is a place to share research links with pages devoted to individual research topics started by the instructor and then built up by students. Hope this helps us find some connections....

Week One: ENG101/103 and ENG102

Hi everyone--

I've seen a lot of posting about potential connections so far. Thanks! If the first week has been as hectic as mine, then you may have been waiting until the end of the week to let us know what your are doing or thinking of doing. I managed to squeeze in a few minutes, finally, this morning. The connections outside my own classes and the cluster are, at the moment, theoretical, so I'll be working more on that next week. Also, If I haven't linked up your web space (whatever tool you may be using) to our collective blog yet, just send em the URL and I'll do so.

In my ENG101/103 cluster class this week we set up our blogs and began interconnecting them. The reading was "The Parable of the Cave" and we watched ""The Truman Show" (today). They will be writing their blog entry over the weekend. The ENG102 blogs are also up and I am connecting the two classes together. Both of these classes will be working with Ximena's classes farther down the road (we're working on this now) and I am also planning on connecting with Kristin's tutoring class as well as with the library (Steve and Scott). This weekend I'll finalize the schedule and start making those connections.

102 has read Warren's poem "Original Sin: A Short Story" and read about Jung's "The Shadow"; and they are about to read Rossetti's long poem "Goblin Market". We are specifically working on tone and symbolism for their first paper.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blogger Alert!

Hi all--

If you are using Blogger in the computer labs at school, you may have problems with students not being able to cut-and-paste from Word to Blogger. The most consistent fix to this is to have them click the HTML tab in the post window (See below). Then they will be able to paste.

Ethics of Food

Hi all. I've been blogging my course development for the Ethics of Food cluster here. By next week, I'll have my students' blogs set up and linked to that page too -- little setback when I suddenly discovered we didn't have a computer lab after all. *weeps quietly* However, I now have a standing order for the laptop lab, so we're pulling it together!

During the Learning Networks meeting, I talked with both Lizzie and Laura about linking our classes for some cross-feedback. There is a close overlap between my class and Lizzie's re the food theme, and my syllabus focuses a lot on labor and industrial processes, so there's conceptual overlap with Laura's. I've linked both of their pages to my course dev blog and will be in touch with them shortly to brainstorm some ways to get our students interacting!

Oh, I've also set up a Netvibes page to track the feeds from my different class blogs. This looks like useful tool because it lets you catch everything at a glance, and it was very easy to set up. Plus the Pac Man theme is cute. You can check out my Netvibes page here.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Need a tutor-team to read your student responses?

Hi Communiteens--

My course will be very different from others' in that it is the course to train Writing Center tutors (ENG 220). I hope to make my students available to respond to your students! Could be cool, no? Because we have our own course to complete, I only have time to make this available twice: Thursday April 15 & Thursday May 13. Our lab hour (when the responses will be posted) is Thursday evening from 6:55-7:55 PM. If this fits your schedule, let me know as soon as you can!

In order ensure quality for your students, my plan is to have my tutors work on responses in groups during our lab hour. Each group will be led by one of the 1-2 best students--that way the 220 students who are struggling will still be involved and have a chance to learn from working with those who are doing well, but they won't be out there sending bad advice to your students.

Of course, we'll be blogging and responding to everyone in more freelance ways from early in the semester, but this offer I am making you is for something more formal, more "online tutoring" and less "individuals responding." Sound ok?

See you in cyber-school!
I have been blogging my time away getting ready for the first week of classes!

I'm really excited about moving a great deal of the student's own writing and peer commentary off the page and onto the web.

However, I'm taking a leap of faith, since I'm not 100% sure how it will work or how my own evaluations of /comments on student writing will fit into the 2.0 model.

This should be an interesting semester.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Grading Blogs

Some of you have been asking how we grade students' blogs. Priscilla found a great rubric HERE.

Also, below are my instructions and grading criteria for blogs for my Spring 2008 Shakespeare class. All 10 blogs were worth 30% of the grade.

As part of the requirements for this course, you will keep a guided blog in Blogger ( in which you will explore your responses to concepts and issues raised by the texts and class experiences.

The blog will consist of 12 entries. I will discard the two entries with lowest points and calculate your grade using the other ten. That way you can afford a couple of bad/sick days.

Blog entries should be 250+ words. I strongly recommend writing and saving them in MS Word before pasting them into the text box, just in case the Internet decides to go wiggy on you before you hit “submit.” Do not overly worry about grammar and mechanics when writing these entries—what we will be looking for is evidence that you are thinking about the issues and readings we have covered that week. Also, do not worry about your ideas being “right”; remember: we are exploring ideas here. Feel free to add images, sound, videos, and links to your entries.

In addition to writing an entry each week, you should read the entries of at least two other classmates and respond to them. A brief one-paragraph response is the minimum length for these responses.

Your entries are due every Tuesday by 8:00am am. During Tuesday, I will check all blogs, read selected blogs, and occasionally respond to some of the content. Responses to two classmates’ blogs are due 10 minutes into Thursday’s class. You can either write them before Thursday or during the first 10 minutes of class.

You will earn points for submitting an entry on time (10 p.), for the energy and time reflected in its content (10 p.), and for the level of engagement with your classmates’ entries (10 p.). I will only give minimum credit to entries turned in after the 8:00 am deadline.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Plan

During our meeting, I talked to Chris and Lizzie about connections between my work-themed 101 and their clusters about food politics. I also talked to Ximena about how my art politics protest class would connect to work her students will be doing on Judy Chicago's Dinner party. While we won't be looking at that particular work, students will be doing their big project on a political work of their choice, so it will be great to see other examples of students asking those questions.

Because just linking the blogs will give our students lots of times to get lost, I'm going to be in touch with these folks and on the look out for specific assignments/writings I want to draw my students' attention towards.

Also, I didn't try this tag, before, but along with music, poetry and so forth, I'll be talking about sports in my art, politics protest: specifically Mohammad Ali and the Mexico City games in 1968. Very curious as to if anyone has ever touched on this topic? A big part of many people's lives, and a window to so much . . .

Creating Community with Facebook

I am ready to move forward in my Principles of Finance class using Facebook as a pedagogical tool for the first time. I created, and would suggest to those that wish to use Facebook, a separate professional Facebook account as many students may wish to "friend" you. For the class, I created a public group (public so that the group is open to individuals outside of those registered for the class) called "Prof. Trapani's Business Students." (Feel free to join the group by doing a search in Facebook) Here I will upload articles, hold discussions, and ask students to upload their work so that other students (past, present, and future) can view what we're doing. Additionally, I will have members of the financial community (stockbrokers, financial planners etc.) join discussions. While I will still use Blackboard 8 for course content directly related to the text, the advantages and ease of using Facebook, in addition to creating an "open" space, will help in administering open discussions not limited to those registered in the class, and will also help ease the process of uploading articles, videos, and other content. Once a member of the group, students will have an opportunity to "friend" me, thereby creating a place to build community and nurture relationships with the ultimate long term goal of following the student along their journey at the college. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Race, Justice, Crime

So Scott White and I are going to connect students in his intro to criminal justice with my students in World Lit Written in English--who will be reading Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian--each group will blog and read each others' blogs and comment on questions Scott will raise--eg What do you think best explains crime? what role does race play in criminal justice? We haven't worked out exact questions but we did work out the mechanics of getting each of our classes invited into my NING and his BB be continued...

Here is a refinement of our assignment so far beginning with Scott's question to his class:Paper Assignment # 1, Part A. DUE Wednesday, March 24 (I could move this)

How do you think race affects crime? For example, why do you think minorities in America are associated with higher crime rates? Are arrested more? Are imprisoned more? Post on your Ning blog. These blog posts will be reviewed and commented on by members of another class. At the end of the semester, you will review their posts and answer these questions again. We encourage you to continue discussions with members of the other class throughout the semester.

I figured it could be sort of a pre and post test. They'll post what they think at the beginning, go through the class, reflect on their posts and conversations with members of your class, and then post at the end of the semester using the same guide questions. It will give us all an idea of how their thinking on this topic has evolved. This assignment will help them. I'm not sure how it can help your class, unless they are able to maintain a dialog during the semester.

I'll be doing all of these assignments for Part 1 in Ning. I'll be posting other questions (usually about some controversial issue or famous case) during the semester. Your class is welcome to comment on those posts. Perhaps something will organically present itself to us.

When students in my class begin reading about reservation life in the Alexie novel this will be the perfect time for them to read Scott's students' postings-we are still working on how we want students to respond--what makes the most sense for me is for my students to "test" the ideas about crime, race, violence in Scott's class, using what they are reading as evidence. . .

My Connection(s)

So yesterday I met with Ed. He's doing Fundamentals of Speech and I'm doing Information Strategies. So we're going to put together some cross-pollination around the idea of evaluation and bias. We don't have everything worked out yet, but we were talking about having students look at videos and then discuss the bias and accuracy of the information presented. It seems like an easier activity for students to do with a group of people, rather than alone.

I also made some plans with Santo to maybe do something business-y, since my semester theme will revolve around Google and privacy. We still have to get that nailed down, though. But I'd love for students to see how much of a business Google is (as oppose to a public utility...)

Also, below I mentioned preferring WordPress to Blogger. There are three reasons:

1. WordPress has a nice interface, with most of what you need right in your post window. Blogger has buttons and tabs everywhere.

2. WordPress seems to have more URLs available. Blogger blogs always end up something like

3. The WordPress registration process is super quick. The Blogger/Google one is a big more involved.

Not to hate on Blogger. The interface has actually gotten much smoother (and quicker -- it used to be pretty slow).

Post Meeting Reminders

Hi everyone!

With Ximena, I want to thank you all for a great meeting. I am really excited about seeing what neat ideas this fantastic group can develop over the semester.
  1. Please email me your course titles, numbers, section codes, and times for the courses you plan to use for our group.
  2. Be sure to post your follow-up blog about your ideas for making connections with other participants in our group.
  3.  Keep in mind that using the same tool (i.e. Facebook) is a way to connect classes even if they have seemingly different themes. You never know what may happen once you connect them.
  4. Work on both figurative (thematic) and literal linkages (web-links). If you want to connect with another class, literally add a link to them!
  5. Don’t forget to check our blog (if you “follow” you can also choose to receive email updates as well as read the summaries of comments and responses on the dashboard).                     
And that is it for now!

Posting Once a Week - or Thereabouts

Jason and Ximena suggest we post updates about what we're doing in terms of Community 2.0 once a week. Here are the types of questions to think about in your update post:

*What you are doing
*What you plan to do
*What you'd like to do
*Who you are hooking up with
*What's not working 
*Any questions that you think may benefit the group

We can post on our own blogs and publish the post here, or post here directly.

P.S. from X: Read Dean Arcario's comment below or HERE

Brainstorming and Critiquing

"Roles 12" from

One assignment that my Woman Trouble (ENG 099) and Sex and the City (ENG 101/103) will share is writing about the social construction of gender in print ads as they appear in The exercise is high stakes for the ENG099 students (they write a 400+ word paper analyzing one ad) and low stakes for my ENG 101 students (they write a Ning blog discussing how the ads make use of stereotypes to sell as part of a larger project about gender inequality).

Since the 099 assignment comes before the 101, I was going to have my ENG099 students comment on the 101 blogs. Jason also suggested that we have his Media for the Masses 101 students peer critique the 099 papers (which they rarely pass on their first try).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The ENG 102 Greek connection

Marisa and I disucssed our common tags of mythology and literature and we discovered that we have other thematic connections as well. Marisa is considering teaching a Percy Jackson and the Olympians novel, and possibly a classical Greek play as well. I have scheduled Oedipus the King as the play for my ENG 102 class, but as I told Marisa, many of  the other selections in the course are American and British and so I felt that students will experience too wide a leap to the classical era and that mythology. Since Marisa's students will be reading a novel that brings that mythology to modern-day America, I thought that having my students read and be engaged with blog entries from her class will pave the way for them to bridge the other literature they are reading with the mythological context of Oedipus. Since we both feel strongly that we need to find ways to emphasize the writing nature of ENG 102, we plan to have students interact and respond to blogs from the other's section and perhaps even exchange ideas on some assignments.

G-Mails (in case you need them; we'll have a complete list in a few)

Alexander, Christopher 
Arcario, Paul  
Cen, Ed 
Clark, J. Elizabeth
Dragan, Rich (blogging) (my public e-mail) 
Gallagher, Kristen 
Gallardo, Ximena 
Hickman, Tara J.
Klages, Marisa  
Lucca, Louis  
McCormick, Elizabeth 
Molina, Miguel 
Orgel, Ros 
Ovadia, Steve 
Romanello, Mary 
Smith, C. Jason 
Stadler, Priscilla 
Tanenbaum, Laura 
Trapani, Santo 
Troshani, Jetmir
 Vasileiou, Luke 
Van Slyck, Phyllis 
White, Scott 

Connecting to another English 102

So, Luke and I are both dealing with Classical mythology this semester and we envision doing some work together around this in terms of what our students are doing. This will probably happen later in the semester- and maybe around the Drama. Luke is teaching Oedipus, I might teach Oedipus or Medea or Lysistrata. We are going to meet the week after Spring Break to have our students miss face to face, though we will have them enrolled in each other's blogs this semester from the outset (or as soon as we get this set up). Once students meet, we'll continue blogging and having students read each other's blogs and then find someway to do other work together.


HUC 101: Fundamentals of Speech Comm. Overview

Here's a brief description of some things that will be incorporated throughout the semester: theoretical aspects of organizational, public, and media communication. Students will also be surveying other key concepts throughout the field of communication studies. Among these core elements and concepts, students will be focusing on how to relate and apply these ideas to themselves, to current events, and the world around them.

Writing about Gender Issues

I am going to teach two courses I hope to interrelate through the themes of gender, identity, and social construction: the composition courses for a cluster called Sex and the City (ENG 101/103) and a Basic Writing class (ENG 099) called Woman Trouble that makes use of texts such as Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" and Ira Levin's classic novel The Stepford Wives.

For more specific details on assignments, etc., click on the link Dr. X's Stuff.

Smith ENG101/103: Living in the Matrix

Course description to follow.

Living in the Matrix Blog

Smith ENG102: Supernatural

This section of ENG 102 will be focused on the literature of the supernatural world and the psychological and social factors that contextualize these works. Some of the material to be covered will include the work of psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung, works from the Ancient and Classical World (including mythology and religion), Medieval and Renaissance works, as well as contemporary writers. The subject addressed will include gods and angels, demons and devils, ghosts and the undead, vampires and werewolves, witches and warlocks, and fairies and monsters, to name a few. 

Supernatural Blog

[IMAGE: Dante Gabrielle Rossetti, Lilith. Courtesy Wikimedia]

English 101- Food Poltics

English 101 - Food Politics
The way we eat has changed radically over the last 100 years - a fact hidden by the fact that many foods, like eggs or oranges, look the same as they always have. From the way we grow vegatables, to the way we raise livestock to the way we attempt to suppliment our foods, these changes have had huge impacts on our health, our security, our economy and our environment. This class will look at the darker side of food production, a wasteland that includes slavery, deformity and empovrishing the thrid world. We will also explore positive alternatives to ensure that we live heathier, safer and more productive lives while securing our national and global security.

My Areas of Work

This mini-blog is dedicated to provide a guide and support for instructors that offer useful avenues for student collaboration and learning.

Jetmir Troshani develops and provides training programs for faculty and staff with technology-related topics at LaGuardia Community College. As a designer and instructor, Jetmir also currently serves as Adjunct Faculty Member at LAGCC, where he teaches Web Animation Classes.

22 Different Projects Involved In:

Twitter Channel, @LAGCCISMD active
Facebook Fan Page, LaGuardia Community College/ISMD active
YouTube Channel active
Blackboard 8 active
CUNYfirst active
Novell GroupWise active
Web Attendance active
iTunes U active
Ektron CMS400 active
Student workshops active
Faculty and Staff Workshop active
ISMD Departmental Website active
POLYCOM active
B333 media Room active
SharePoint active
InterWrite Responce active
Lab Staff / Tech Support active
CUNY Portal active
E-sims Assistance active
The Student Technology Fee (STF) Web Site, Done
DegreeWorks, Done

53 Training / Support Area Covered
Below is a list of applications we offer training workshops and support by appointment.

Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro is a professional editing software application developed by Apple Inc.

iMovie is a proprietary video editing software application which allows Mac users to edit their own home movies.

Movie Maker
Windows Movie Maker is a video creating/editing software, included in Microsoft Windows. It contains features such as effects, transitions, titles/credits, audio track, timeline narration, and Auto Movie.

Dropbox is a storage application and service. The service enables users to store and sync files online.

YouTube Chanel
A channel on YouTube is the home page for an account. It shows the account name, the account type, the public videos they've uploaded, and any user information they've entered.

People on Content using POLYCOM
People On Content is an engaging and high impact way to share multiple types of content during a video conference.

Presentation function using POLYCOM
The Presantation function of POLYCOM is The Future of Real TimeCommunications and DesktopRich Media Collaboration.

Audio Conferencing using POLYCOM
Audio Conferencing connects three or more parties together to send and receive information via an audio conference.

Video Conference using POLYCOM
A videoconference also known as a video teleconference is a set of interactive telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously.

Audacity is a digital audio editor and recording application. Audacity is cross-platform and is available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and BSD.

Camtasia Studio is a screen video capture program, published by TechSmith. The user defines the area of the screen or the window that is to be captured before recording begins; it is also possible to capture the entire screen area. You can also talk, and use a videocam.

Interwrite Response (Clickers)
Interwrite PRS combines interaction and assessment to enhance classroom productivity.

Podcast with PowerPoint
Converting a PowerPoint to a video format, which later can be uploaded to iTunes U.

iTunes U
iTunes U puts the power of the iTunes Store to work for colleges, universities, and other education organizations, so users can easily search, download, and play education content just like they do music, movies, and TV shows.

Web Attendance
Online attendance roster application

Adobe Dreamweaver (2 Levels)
Adobe Dreamweaver (formerly Macromedia Dreamweaver) is a web development application originally created by Macromedia, and is now developed by Adobe Systems, which acquired
Macromedia in 2005.

Adobe Fireworks (2 Levels)
Adobe Fireworks, known as Fw for short, is a bitmap and vector graphics editor.

Adobe Flash (2 Levels)
Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) is a multimedia platform originally acquired by Macromedia and currently developed and distributed by Adobe Systems.

Photoshop (2 Levels)
Adobe Photoshop, or simply Photoshop, is a graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems.

A web-based academic advisement tool.

Ektron CMS400 (2 Levels)
Ektron CMS400.NET provides a complete platform with all of the functionality necessary to create, deploy, and manage your Web site.

Drupal (3 Levels)
It is used as a back-end system for many different types of websites, ranging from small personal blogs to large corporate and political sites (Open Source).

Wordpress (2 Levels)
WordPress is a blog publishing application and content management system (Open Source).

Blackboard (2 Levels)
Designed to enable educational innovations everywhere by connecting people and technology.

SharePoint is a collection of products and software elements that includes, among a growing selection of components, web browser based collaboration functions, process management modules, search modules and a document-management platform.

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets.

Users on Facebook can add friends, send messages, update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves and much more.

Blogger is a blog publishing system, and it is one of Google’s gadgets and you’ll need to create an account on Google so you can access it.

MySpace allows users to decorate their profiles.

The service is designed to help users meet new friends and maintain existing relationships.

Novell GroupWise (2 Levels)
GroupWise is a messaging and collaborative software platform from Novell that supports email, calendaring, personal information management, instant messaging, and document management.

Microsoft Word (2 Levels) (Version 03 & 07)
Word 2007 is Microsoft's word processing software. This version includes numerous changes, including a new XML-based file format, a redesigned interface, an integrated equation editor and bibliographic management.

Microsoft Excel (2 Levels) (Version 03 & 07)
Microsoft Office Excel is a spreadsheet-application. Excel 2007 features a new charting engine, which supports advanced formatting, including 3D rendering, transparencies and shadows. Chart layouts can also be customized to highlight various trends in the data.

Microsoft PowerPoint (Version 03 & 07)
Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 is a presentation program that can be used for custom animation can be used to create small story boards.

Microsoft Access (Version 03 & 07)
Microsoft Access, is a relational database management system from Microsoft that combines the relational Microsoft Jet Database Engine with a graphical user interface and software development tools.

My Courses - Spring 2010

I'm teaching three classes this Spring - two sections of composition (ENG 101) and one section of Art, Politics and Protest, which I'll be teaching for the first time. In the past, I've set up a course blog for ENG 101 - they then have their own blogs that are linked to that home page. All the student blogs from the two sections are listed together. This semester I'll also cross link the blogs from the two different courses.

My 101 Course is centered around the theme of work. For their final research project, they interview someone about their work life. We read Studs Terkel's famous Working as a model and this semester I'll also be using the archives for the first time.

In Art, Politics and Protest we'll be focusing on the history of the civil rights movement as revealed through music from "Strange Fruit" to Public Enemy. Later we'll look at some theoretical writings on the role of art in political struggle, mass culture, satire, and so forth. Naturally, I'm looking to embed lots of video and audio files.

ENG 102

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live. . . We interpret what we see, select the most workable of multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images. . . .” Joan Didion, The White Album

The selections chosen for this Composition II section center around the epigram by Joan Didion and its idea that narrative (in all its forms), born out of the human desire to make sense of our experiences, defines the essence of literature. Literature is, nonetheless, its own reward even without such quests and we will examine both the pleasure we get from the written word and the satisfaction, puzzlement, and wonder we draw from the subject matter of the literary text.

English 102: Composition II Writing Through Literature

English 102 is a Writing Through Literature Class. In terms of the Writing Sequence at LaGuardia (beginning in Basic Writing) it is our "highest" writing course that is mandatory for students to take (especially since many students take 101 and 103 at the same time and those draw on similiar expository skills). English 102 focuses on developing student ability to read and write about literary works. I think I'm going to focus on Mythology and Monsters, this semester, though I'm not sure where exactly that will go. Since this course needs to use 3 genres, I'm going to use poetry, drama and novel. I think, in terms of readings, I'm going to use some of Beowulf (likely, the monster part), a drama (maybe Lysistrata) and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I'm happy to take suggestions here as well as I'm delving into stuff I've never really taught before.


DFL 2.0 Seminar

The year-long seminar DFL 2.0 is designed to help LaGuardia faculty learn about using new technologies as tools for learning and teaching. Throughout this year we've explored a range of tools: blogs, wikis, netvibes, diigo, and flickr. We'll also be working with wikipedia, nings, YouTube, twitter, and Voicethread. While we spend a lot of time on various technologies, we focus primarily on developing ways of exploring pedagogies such as inquiry-based learning, that technologies can enhance as effective and engaging ways of working with students.

Media Studies

Media and Society (HUC130) for Spring I, will be taught in two formats: as part of a Learning Community entitiled Truth, Lies, and Videotape (that also includes English Comp, Research Paper, and the Art of Film), and as a stand-alone course. In the Learning Community, there is a central, unified theme, and certain projects, such as the mid-term paper, are shared among the courses. The course covers media effects on society (and vice-versa), media and money, media conglomerates, media convergence, propaganda, and pornography. Students who take this course can take this course as part of the Mass Communication Concentration in the Communication Studies (A.A.) major.

My class: LRC102

I'm teaching LRC102, the Library's three-credit class that's an overview of the research process, meaning it covers everything from books to print periodicals to subscription databases to the free web.

I think it's going to be a game time decision, but I want to try out something called Weebly this semster. It's basically a blogging/page-building tool, but it allows some admin access over users, which I think might be helpful. But I'm scared I'll miss WordPress too much, so I might end up giving up on Weebly.

Intro to Language

I'll be teaching Intro to Language next fall. The course covers basic linguistic concepts, including semantics, syntax, phonology, and phonetics. In addition, I'll probably incorporate a variety of additional topics: language change, language & thought, first- and second-language acquisition, and sociolinguistics.

LIB 200 -- Humanism, Science and Technology

This liberal arts capstone seminar will examine how several science has been represented in literature (fiction, drama and a graphic novel) centering on the idea of utopia and social problems generated by science and the marketplace. For example, General Motors' Futurama exhibit in the 1939 World's Fair promised a vision of suburbia and car culture. Years later, the carbon-intensive lifestyle of suburbia has intensified global warming. Einstein's ideas of general relativity (and similar theories) are 'beautiful' (we will be reading Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams) but they led to the atomic bomb (in the work of Robert Oppenheimer, a main character
in Fallout, our graphic novel). Other topics to be covered include neo-Darwinism and the adapted mind and its challenge to altruism, robotics and Artificial Intelligence, the possibilities and dangers of genetically modified food, and the computer revolution and e-waste.
As a writing-intensive course, students will create a critical thinking blog and write a longer research paper using a variety of sources including journalism, scholarly essays, film clips, connecting their research to an imaginative text from the syllabus (a novel, short story, film or graphic novel).

ENG101/103 Ethics of Food cluster

My ENG101 and ENG103 courses this semester are part of a new cluster called "The Ethics of Food," which Aaron Rizzieri of Humanities (philosophy) and I have been developing. In my courses, the students will use writing and research to engage with a complex of food-related issues (health, labor politics, environmental issues, the ethical treatment of animals, public policy, "globalization") with an overarching emphasis on the political economy of the global food system: in other words, we'll use these separate issues to explore how we as individuals (consumers, workers, taxpayers, etc.) participate in the global food system, the effects of that system on ourselves, our communities, and the earth, and our options for individual and collective transformation of that system. Readings include Eric Schlosser, Raj Patel, Michael Pollan, Gail A. Eisnitz, Peter Singer, and Bob Torres.

Professor KG's Courses Spring 2010

This semester my two courses--ENG 220 & ENG 099--will be paired both in real life and also through Community 2.0. The students in ENG 220 will be learning how to tutor in the LaGuardia Writing Center, while the ENG 099 students will be receiving tutoring from the ENG 220 students. Community 2.0 will allow the students in both courses to further connect outside of class/tutoring time, using the wonderfuld worl of Web 2.0 to talk about specific writing assignments, reflect on the writing process in general, and also connect with several other courses being taught by a number of fabulous professors here at LaGuardia.

world lit in english

So I'm teaching World Lit Written in English, a new capstone course for Writing and Lit majors and lib arts elective...I organized the course around colonialism/postcolonialism and identity formation--we'll be discussing how issues of displacement, loss of community, homeland, affect formation of identity--the texts also focus on women's issues, a form of internal colonialism--the four main novels are linked by coming of age theme--each has a young narrator involved in political or social upheval, migration etc--who confronts issues of loneliness, isolation, exclusion--and each has to find a place, redefine self in new or redefined world

Introduction to Criminal Justice SSJ101

Class introduces students to the criminal justice system in America. Topics include criminological theory, police, court and prison structures and statistics. Students examine cases that describe these topics, and work through problems that introduce them to ideas considered when criminal justice professionals make decisions.

This is the first course in a series of five students will take if they major in Criminal Justice here at the college.

I was going to use a different course forthis seminar, but it was canceled. I'll try and incorporate some web 2.0 tools in this class.

Introduction to Business BTM101, Principles of Finance BTM102,

Introduction to Business BTM101
This course introduces students to various macro/micro business concepts, as well as the basic functions of business. Economic activity, fiscal and monetary policy, factors of production, marketing, human resource management, money banking and the financial markets, and international finance are some of the topics covered.

Money, Banking, and Financial Markets BTM102
This course is a study of the monetary and credit system of the U.S. economy and its policies. The Federal Reserve System, the history of money, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, portfolio management, and the influence of interest rates on markets are just some of the topics covered.

Agenda 3 March 2010 1:00-5:00 (E261)

Community 2.0
Teaching and Learning Networks at LaGuardia
3 March 2010



Paul Arcario: The Broad View
Jason Smith: Networks 2.0: The Idea and Semester Expectations


Jason Smith: Blogging and Connecting
Ximena Gallardo: The Ning
Introductions and Roundtable Tech Discussion


Google Accounts
Our Network Blog Basics
Overview of Themes & Tags


Blog Entry 1: Course Descriptions
Developing the Lexicon: Tags Discussion
Tagging the Blog Entries
Identifying Major and Minor Themes

3:30-4:00              Group Break-out Phase 1

4:00-4:30              Group Break-out Phase 2

4:30-4:50              Blog Entry 2: Making connections

4:50-5:00              RFA Form (for stipend)