Adventures of a Technology Challenged Online Instructor

It’s a Foreign Language to Me…. (Week 6)
It’s a Foreign Language to Me…. (Week 6) avatar

I scored relatively high on the internet skills quiz – missing only one question (the one about an “open source” program).  But I don’t necessarily attibute that to my internet skills; it’s probably due to the fact that my husband works in IT and I hear the jargon frequently.  My theory was proven when I went on to view the “Introduction to HTML” site.  After about two minutes, my eyes glazed over and my brain shut down.  Now I know what it feels like for our students learning new and difficult material!  I mean, I guess I understood what the site was explaining, but at the same time it felt like I was looking at a foreign language.

So then I went on to learn about the RSS Feed.  I was a bit familiar with this concept before, and I think the “Oprah Way” was about my speed.  So I went and set up a Google Reader Account (after having to reset my Google password because, honestly, I don’t even know when I would have ever set up a Goolge Account, but apparently I had years ago.)  Adding the Pedagogy First blog feed was simple and very straightforward.  However, I honestly don’t think I will continue using an RSS Feed.  To me, it’s just “another” place I  have to visit.  I “get” that it could be the ONLY site I have to visit, but it’s just not that appealing to me.  Plus, for any of the other blogs that I do enjoy reading, I follow in Facebook.  Most of those bloggers post their new blog postings there.  Yes, I understand that I could still be missing out on updates and new posts, but really, I don’t want to be that committed to having to stay on top of every post for every blog that I may enjoy reading.

I’ve just recently started adding embedded video to my Blackboard course and I think it’s tremendously helpful!  I try to include a short video each week on the topic we’re covering.  Sometimes it’s directly related to an assignment the students have to complete and other times I just post the video as additional information the students can use.  I frequently use short videos in my on-ground class to facilitate a discussion or open writing assignment.  My next step is wanting to not only include video from outside sources, but maybe even create my own videos on certain topics.

Here’s a YouTube clip that I like to use in my class when we’re talking about Nutrition.  It compares processed food vs. fruit and their nutrient content and gets students to think about not just the calorie content of food, but the nutritional content as well…


3 Responses to “It’s a Foreign Language to Me…. (Week 6)
It’s a Foreign Language to Me…. (Week 6) avatar

  1. Hi Melissa,
    I recognized in your words my own sensation of feeling overwhelmed by the amount of sources to be checked to stay up to date. Yes Google reader may help. I like to address this problem from the time management perspective: what is the benefit/time ratio of the different follow-up activities.
    I watched the video you propose and found it informative and persuasive.
    Nacho Giráldez

  2. Hi Melissa,
    You left a comment at my blog and thought I’d reply here. Feels less like I’m talking to myself when visiting another blog:-)

    Can understand how some students prefer online for the directness of simply taking a class without any interactions to complicate things. As a community college, many of our courses are first and second year prerequisites that are to be “gotten through” on the way to transferring to a 4 year program. A big selling point for us is the idea that local students can stay at home rather than move to the “city” universities with their higher living and tuition costs–not to mention being able to take extra courses and get the 2 years over even quicker.

    Generally I’m not concerned with these students. They are competent, know how to function in school and have existing peer support in place. It might be that because I was never one of these students my interests focus on the less well adapted students? That’s likely the case.

    Oddly, when I was in school it suited me to show no signs of interest in doing what was expected–it was an excellent cover for being lost and seemingly hopeless at the education thing. Lucky for me, being good at the building trades thing saved me from meaningless drift many of our not-so-adept students live with.

    For sure there are class groups who are entirely content with the efficiency of online studies. They want only to be left alone to do what they do well. That said, given the huge drop-out rate in online learning it’s not working for everybody. What I hope for is to design courses that hang on to those we are losing.

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