Monday, February 28, 2011

Seminar 3/4/11 Preliminary Reflection

Please reflect on your preliminary experiments using Web tools to network your classes during the Fall I 2010 semester.  Where were your efforts successful?  What didn’t work so well?  Based on your insights from this initial run, what do you plan to do differently in the Spring I 2011 implementation semester? Please "reply" to this post for your response.

11 comments:

  1. I am new to this seminar so I don't have much to reflect on yet. I did play around with creating a class FB group over the winter break and am hoping to use that as my web platform this coming semester. I'm also looking forward to meeting and working with everyone in this group.

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  2. I found that - between blog entries and formal papers - I asked my students for too much writing. This semester I am scaling this back to a more managable level.

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  3. Using blogger for my Liberal Arts cluster last semester went great. I had a lab for two hours each week, so students always had access to a pc and I was around to clarify issues. Connecting with Ximena's ENG 99 class was a very good experience as the students saw commenting on 99 students as a task with real value and not just an exercise. Students had a bit more difficulty with examining Magda's class as a forum. Because I had not spent time examining a print forum, the different threads and authors made it hard for them to grasp how all of them were a single forum. I plan on spending some more time on that.

    Since I am teaching the same cluster again and also teaching an ENG 99 which I will network, I am looking forward to connecting these two classes--in fact for the first few weeks they cover a lot of the same material though with a different focus each. I also have identified some classes I want to connect to, and I want to plan that early on as I saw that planning the interaction with Ximena's ENG 99 helped make the process really smooth

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  4. What worked for me was the connection made with the other instructor and with a few of her students. A few of them started conversations with me online which was great, but our intent was to connect our students without much intervention. This did not work out so well. A lesson learned was that it would probably work better to simplify the partnering process. I thought they would like to pick their own partners based on research topics and profiles. This (plus having to sign up for Blogger accounts) seemed to hold them up. In the future, I think partners between classes should be assigned if the collaboration is limited to one or two projects, and perhaps even create accounts for them if time is limited.

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  5. I will be doing different courses this Spring, but I will be using blogs as part of all three of them. There will be 7-9 low-stakes assignments, which ask students to respond to source readings, develop research paper topics and sources, reflect on their writing and also prepare for in-class essays. These writing prompts will be based on what has worked before. There are wikis for distributing research materials. These materials will change a bit, but mostly I'm using wikis to ensure that the class can get to sample essays, articles and archival materials easily. (Most of this will be mirrored on Blackboard.) I'm really centering on blogs for the near future, which have gotten some great responses from students.

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  6. Over Fall I & II, I did a number of Web 2.0 activities - wiki, Voicethread, digital stories, Office Apps, and plenty of Blackboard work - Discussion Board and Voice Board. While my students learned, I know we were all overwhelmed. I am looking at cutting back on some activities in my online FPA class since many students never come to see me and don't reach out until they are lost. Only one student really failed the class in Fall (two disappeared) and that's more impressive than my face-to-face class. I guess I'm doing some thing right but still need to work on the amount of writing I require.

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  7. Even though my "blogger experiment" turned out to be better than expected based on my post-survey, I have decided to experiment with facebook in the spring. Overall, students seemed to enjoy blogging and documenting their experiences online and to varying degrees, reading/commenting each others' posts. I will also try to connect my class with my coworkers class by creating one large facebook group. Limited class time continues to be a challenge as well as homework assignments (FSG is zero-credit course).

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  8. While I really liked using blogger, and most of my students, granted they composed their reflections on the last day of class,prior to my doing their grades, felt the same way, our class' connection with the Library Research course's Ning, did not work out so well. I attribute the main cause of this networking experiment failing to my oversight- the Ning students needed to be invited to the blog in order to be able to post comments :( Also, I think the connection would have worked better if I created some kind of logical or creative process which would get them to make each other's acquaintance, chat about their interests and projects, and then proceed to work on helping each other with research and MLA documentation. So at this point, my master plan or at least the first step of it, is to start with baby steps: identify the instructor/course and the platform I'd like to connect/network with my class/students, make that connection early on in the term, ask students to establish a line of communication with the student(s) in the other class, and then ask my students to -let's say- work with the students from that other class on peer review or research support.

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  9. Teaching a very intensive course of biology, with enormous amount of material to be covered in the class and eleven exams!, it was a challenge to motivate students to network via web 2. After several considerations and feedback from the members of this seminar, I tried Google Groups. The idea was to encourage students to write their questtions about anything they were not clear about from the lecture and others could respond, including myself at the end if no one else could. But it did not work due to the fast pace of the course. Towards the end of the course, however, I learned that facebook is something most are on. With some concerns I think it is still worth a try and I am going to try that in Sprin I.

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  10. Posting for Dr. Van:

    reflection--last semester and going forward
    Last semester I was very happy with Ning for blogging and fora (forums for the non latinate)--Ning also has a facebook section so each student has his/her own page. I want to expand this function so students can connect around group projects (on novelists). The blogging function of Ning works really well and I am interested in finding good connections for one time blogging conversations with anyone interested in my novels' themes. Am also willing to use a poem or even short short story (we are reading 6 novels) from an English 102 class so that our students can have a conversation, debate etc.

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  11. Posting for Corbett:

    Corbett's Spring Courses
    Good morning and hello again. As usual, running ridiculously behind on all of this. Have revamped everything in recent week and am still working on finalizing the calendar, but syllabus and tentative calendars for ENG 101 and 102 classes are available on the course website:

    cunycomposers.wetpaint.com

    The plan at this point is to have students in the two courses collaborate on 1) a wiki project and 2) at least on peer review students will be assigned a support buddy from the other class).

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