Tuesday, October 1, 2013

In the search of the omnificent Web 2.0 tool

It is very interesting to hear and look up the examples Wynne includes. The dictionary is just made up as a blog with different entries and organized as tabs. That is very clever. Wynne's post resonates with me at this time since I am preparing this week's online assignment for my Hybrid class. I always dread the time when I have to make my students login to several platforms, learning managing systems (LMSs), or web 2.0 tools. It adds to the hassle and confusion and even sometimes jeopardizes the success of an online assignment.  

I am in the search of the omnificent Web 2.0 tool... but I have not found it... The closest I came to it was Blackboard (Bb) by far but it lacks of the social aspect. Maybe Google+ or Google Sites  is toward that utopia... but still feels too stiff. 

In this assignment  I planned for the students to build a Wiki for terms of the chapters covered in the next exam. I created wikis before in my Statistics courses since Fall 2010 in Bb (which I lost... a sad long story). Last semester I started using Wikispaces in my Spring 2013 connection with Cyndi Casey from CLIP. I selected that wiki platform based on it easiness and social openness. 

This semester, I am trying out Piazza for my Fall 2013 connection and also as an LMS. As replacement for Bb, it allows me to add students from a different class that can be managed in as a separate group. 

I am connecting again with one of Cyndi Casey's groups from the CLIP program. The connection consists in participation of all students registered in Piazza in the Discussion Boards. During the semester, there are going to be 6 Discussion Boards with topics that vary from the usual presentation to discussion of research paper and articles about Statistics in our daily life. The main goal of the connection, is to promote critical thinking through quantitative reasoning. 

If you want to see a demo of my Piazza course, click here.

Using Piazza has been a great experience specially since it supports math language writing. Unfortunately, it is not suitable (at least for my taste) to create wikis. There are creative ways to use it for that purpose which don't convinced me. Specially, to track individual changes to a page. I cannot use Bb again since I want to leave the chance open for using the wikis as an add-on to my connection. These conditions leave me with the only option of using Wikispaces again and drop the possibility of using a great math-language writing feature. 

... I hope I can explore Piazza more to use it for wikis as well... 


  1. Hi, Milena,
    I think you are OMNIFICENT! You have such great ideas and challenge yourself with these online tools. But you also reveal and share your anxieties and dread around getting students to sign in. That happened to me last week in lab. It's challenging working with my ESL students this semester because both their technology and English language proficiencies are the lowest of any class I've worked with. When Irwin and my class connected last week, I thought I'd have to physically adjust each of their blogs (long story). But even in three weeks of class, I was happily surprised to notice how much more comfortable with English, technology, and the language about technology they had become. Can't wait to find out how Piazza went!

  2. Hi Milena,

    Thanks for introducing me to Piazza. I connected my hybrid classes and already had a discussion on discussion board. I posted a question, 'describe in your own words what mean and standard deviation indicate. Give examples within your major. (Note: You are not asked to describe how mean and standard deviation are calculated.) I actually got very interesting responses. Piazza is definitely far better than Google groups for my classes. I was so happy when a student posted a question regarding the HW on piazza and a student from different section responded to that question.

    Anyways, I am exploring piazza too. Maybe, we could share more in this regard when we meet.