Monday, June 13, 2011

C2.0 and me: past, present, future

Hmmm: lessons, things to learn, favorite moments, suggestions, future of my classroom with technology...(I might mix these up a little :) Dr Van here (I hate having to read whole post without knowing who is talking...)

Is it ok if I start by whining just a tad? I was relieved to read Ximena's post on glitches connecting with Justin because I spent the first 20 minutes trying to enable cookies which for some reason blogger told me (the lack of such enablement) was keeping me OUT! This is perhaps symbolic of my general frustration and inexperience with the online world--it seems like there is so much gatekeeping going on that if I have been off a particular site for more than a few days, someone in cyberspace has decided I have to start at zero or remember a pw I haven't used in months...enough of that ...

sidebar to Susan--I think you have a couple of very helpful points in your posting, about the omnipresence of English folk and the need to have more F2F with faculty group. When I started the seminar, I too was a little nervous that I wouldn't find people to connect with because I was kind of "theme bound." What the Seminar taught me is that there are multiple ways to think about connection--in this way it took the concept of learning communities in a very positive direction for me--maybe we need to brainstorm together with the new group all the possible ways of connecting and get a little more creative in our thinking. I agree with Linda; Susan has a lot of expertise and perhaps going forward (suggestions for future category) we can draw on seminar participants expertise for some mini lessons--we did this a little in the new group last Friday (which yes is much more balanced I think--did not do count though...)

btw I read posts by Jason, Ximena and Susan--each time I had to go back to main page to find the next--are there more??? I am not yet agile--feel a little like Frankenstein's creature in online world...

so what did I learn? and what were best moments?

--Corbett's wiki project is at top of my list--it was a blast to walk through her examples from classical and popular culture on the use of "apostrophe" (A Donne poem and "The Sound of Silence")--and when I showed it in class, my students loved it. Her assignment had lots of steps and lots of different media--visual and aural as well as text--it seemed a model activity for online format--and my students were invited to add an example of their own. I learned from Ximena that simplest way is to pair students, which I did, and about half of them were successful--some said they hadn't been confirmed and thought they couldn't do it (I wondered if they were malingering--also note to self--make this stuff count for grade more explicitly--none of that "I thought it was optional" stuff); one said the student erased his comment! I asked everyone to send me an email of what they did so I could give them credit for it--(this falls in category of accountability--working on that one); haven't heard from C so look forward to feedback to improve this kind of exchange. Also, my students wanted ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of what they did, not only from me but from the students whose wikis they added to. So this brings me to interesting topic of netiquette...I plan to talk more with partners and with my own students on this...

We also interacted with Magda --here the lesson learned was that I need to work more carefully with my students on the question of TONE--a few went in kind of strong and told hers to dump a particular thesis--Ximena tells me Magda said (I think Ximena lives in the CLOUD), in another post, that this actually worked out well in the long run--revealing another of my inadequacies--I couldn't find that post! I am used to the NING where if I want to see what a certain student/individual has posted in order I can go to that person's PAGE--can this be done on blogger?

From work in my own class on NING I remain committed to extensive blogging as great class prep for both me and my students--it's evidence of their commitment that conversation continued (their lead) on my NING over last weekend even though class is over and last assignment has been submitted! I thank Ximena for introducing me to NING last year (I now have 4 of them). I am adding WIKI in Fall in two capstone seminars--for GROUP RESEARCH--I'm very excited about this and would love to talk to others who us WIKI about how to best organize this venture. I'm committed to finding ways to make research fun and something they want to do--this is not the general tone of research among students but I am happy to report that students were so interested in a couple of issues in our novels that they did some amazing spontaneous online research and shared it on the NING--one even found a just published dissertation on Haruki Murakami and put it on the NING advising students to go to page 232 to see that the author made the same point that he (student) had made in class about this writer!--this brings me to one BIG goal for next year.

I want to make the online work more student centered--I want them to create as many fora (forums for the non latinate) as I do--my current NING shows 27 of mine and 6 of theirs--and while I am not as much of a data person as Jason (just kidding) I am really interested in evaluating their online work and their experience of this world. To this end I created my first survey monkey asking them to evaluate my class after the end of semester--with special emphasis on online activities. Am very proud that I figured out how to do this all on my own :). Let me see if I can figure out how to link it here: SURVEY.

On subject of evaluation, special shout out to Dr S and X for giving the new group the site on "how to create goals" that fit with Bloom's taxonomy--I am super excited about this and suggest you share it with the "old" group. I can't really speak about 5-10 years ahead--will I be here??? but I definitely want to continue to learn (despite my whining) how to use more tools and make my classroom like Jason's "newsroom"--well, let me qualify that--I am jealous of my classroom time--I don't want to work in a lab--I want to be in close personal conversation with my students because that is what I love the most (I guess X and J would say they are too and I'm not arguing with that) but for me, the goal is to get them to be online together and in conversation together and creating together--outside my class (I just use a smartroom--and btw this works just fine--no issues whatsoever about access).

Finally, advice to others: stay focused on what works for your teaching goals and style and for your students' learning, and develop skill in one internet tool at a time. I have worked with NING for two years and am now ready to add WIKI. I think this is a reasonable staging for me and for my students too--and all this is a personal choice--I can see, for example, how Jason can do a student centered active, focused class in the lab and appreciate his forthrightness about his methodology because it is about who he is! We each, as we venture forth into the cloud, need to keep our own style in mind...

OK signing off for now but will try to hunt down other posts and see if I have more thoughts...


  1. Hey Dr. Van--

    To easily find other people's posts, use the name tags, then scroll down.

    So: Bogacka + the post is "Video Peer review and connecting to Prof. Van's Honors Lit"

  2. thanks! will do--and who else has posted? I guess I do the same? Go to each person? Can't belive I am a troglodyte...

  3. Dr. Van expresses her satisfaction with NING and is looking for the perfect tool for online collaboration. Technology should add to the personal conversations that take place in the "real" world and enable students to collaborate and create beyond the classroom.

  4. Dr Van,

    I'm sorry we haven't gotten a chance to talk yet about your students' connection to my students' wiki project. I had a feeling the excuses must have poured in for you. So I think 3-4 students signed up for the site and applied to be writers when you assigned this. From talking to the student of yours I have been tutoring (one of the 4, BTW), I knew a bit about when you were assigning this. I would check the site to change students permissions every day once I knew you had assigned them to add commentary and an example. (FTR, they can use the Discussion Forum section to respond even if they are not designated as a "writer"). After a week there were 6 students. As of a week ago there were only 9 or ten, and two students tried to sign up this weekend, on June 11th, I'm assuming way too late to complete the assigned task). I changed permissions on their profiles within 24 hours of their signing up, but they could have entered text in the discussion forum even without that.

    Point being, in future yes we would absolutely need to communicate some way of demonstrating that students have completed their end of a task, and a way to make their activities transparent to the other class/ instructor. I had a feeling, seeing the lack of participation and response coming from your lit class, that this had become something of an EC assignment, but apparently this was not the case. I'm surprised it didn't work better since it seemed pretty straightforward. (And FTR, I did give them permission to be writers really quickly, so if they're claiming that's what kept them from completing the assignment, I protest).

    I know i should respond to other things in your final reflection, but food is here, and I am starving.

    Talk soon?