Friday, June 8, 2012


Dear Community 2.0 Participants 2012-2013,

Signing up for Community 2.0 was a wonderful extended-learning experience.  Looking back, I cannot believe all the things I did not know about blogging and creating meaningful connections within academia by using social media platforms for our students.  I knew my blogging would be a bit different from my Community 2.0 counterparts, with the exception of Prof. Meangru because he and I co-facilitated MathBlogLaGCC.  (Most faculty and staff hosted English and Humanities’ courses).

I joined this venture to capture and lessen students’ apathy towards Math and in turn motivate students to attend tutoring, ask questions online and to support each other as they navigated their MAT096 or MAT115 courses/experiences.  The most valuable lesson in planning was at the of the fall semester, as we learned that running the interactive Fall Activity should have taken place earlier in the semester, as opposed to the first week of December, when students’ anxiety rise and all papers are due and looming finals near. For the Spring Activity we had better results.

My advice to all technology related new/old platforms is to begin with a strong plan and then allow yourself to be defeated at times by technology. Practice at the lab you will hold your activities and blogging exercises.  DO NOT ever try to show a blogging activity and/or a social media platform on a new setting (lab or computer you ever used yourself).  Not all the computers will have all the I-movie set up you want to run a short film from YouTube and the wireless connection may be a little slow or completely gone.  Never trust technology and have Plans A-Z ready!

I synchronized our TumblrBlog with a FacebookFan Page and a Twitter Timeline to allow students to follow our posts from the social media of their preference.  What we learned is that the meaningful interactions surprisingly took place rather on the blog and not on Facebook. We assumed that that ALL of our students love for Facebook would lead them to comment and interact on the Fan Page.  Boy, did we learn it was quite the contrary!!!  During class the interactions were intense, but outside the meeting times, traffic was always slow. Was it because it was Math and/or school related?  Whatever you do, Do Not take it personal and emphasize that participating in the blog is either mandatory and/or part of the course.  Once the students begin participating, it will be hard to stop them.   We just have to use the right bait.
My long term vision is to maintain an open dialogue about Math and Communications courses.  As hard as it was to maneuver writing and talking about Math anxiety I deeply believe there’s a lot of work to get done for our students at LaGCC.  The remedial math dark cloud will continue to challenge students personally and academically and it is our roles of faculty and staff to provide that emotional support to encourage students to keep trying and to use all the resources we have on and off campus (online or not).  Ten years from now, I hope our blogs can be used as archives to learn how our students learned and how we continue to evolve with technology.

I wish we had more in person seminar meetings. I know. I know... you may roll your eyes, as LaGCC folk do not need any more meetings, but once you join the seminar and understand that we’re so lucky to have Ximena and Jason run this seminars with such efficiency and open creativity, you’ll understand my wish.

To end, this seminar hands-on experience is so easily transferable to our student population and to keep things “fun”, but as I mentioned preparation for worst-case scenarios is key!

You shall not be disappointed--Carpe Diem and enjoy the summer and the year ahead!

Best,

Prof. De León

5 comments:

  1. Hi Ingrid,

    I totally agree with two of your points- planning ahead is critical using platforms you are comfortable with and either two or so more meetings or a two year seminar would go a long way to really integrating the material into the classroom.

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  2. Hi Ingrid,

    I, too, agree that more meetings and discussions in person would be nice, though I wonder if people's schedules would permit it... perhaps more "meetings" of the online type (Skyping, synchronous chat sessions, or even asynchronous chats/discussions) could accomplish some of this. However, in-person discussion and demonstrations of new platforms and new activities is currently hard to replicate online.

    I'm surprised students didn't take up on using Facebook more. Perhaps the lack of doing so indicates that they separate their school and personal social identities, and while they probably use Fb with friends, they felt that the blog was more connected to the classroom.

    We can keep discussing Web 2.0 things in the B234 suite!!

    -Rebekah

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  3. So who knew math could be so EXCITING with so many uses of technology. I think back on my own college math experience 8AM on Monday morning in Sheldon HAll and what you have offered is clearly a lot more exciting. I have also discovered that Facebook is sliding in interest a little bit and being replaced by endless texting. So maybe our next mode of communication is texting and expansion of Twitter.

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  4. Dear Ingrid,

    You are correct that it is best to roll with the punches when it comes to using web technologies in the classroom. I run into problems on a weekly basis, ranging from difficulty creating accounts and posting, to Blackboard going down to campus connection being too slow to access content. This can be as frustrating for the students as it is for us. However, I find that as long as you always have a back-up plan in motion, students won't interpret the technical difficulties as a lack of professionalism on the part of the instructor.

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  5. I like your passion for math, Ingrid! It is funny that you say you wish we have more face-to-face meetings. I think that means the seminar is extremely successful (I feel the same way!) and our goal would be that our students would feel the same way after the finals: "wish this class continues forever!"

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