Adventures of a Technology Challenged Online Instructor

Creating Meaningful Online Student Activities (Week 9)
Creating Meaningful Online Student Activities (Week 9) avatar

I promised myself that I wouldn’t get behind in this POT course, but here I am, playing catch up for Week 9.

Ko & Rossen had some good ideas for creating student groups in Chapter 7.  As I’ve mentioned, I have wanted to add a group component in my online course, but wasn’t sure how to go about creating and monitoring these groups.  Chapter 7 gave me a little clarity, but I don’t think I’m ready to have students work on a group assignment just yet.  My face-to-face class works in groups for small class activities and quizzes, but the main focus for my groups is to connect students with one another who are working on similar individual projects.  I think what I’m going to try in my online course (since my attempt at a free-flowing, non graded discussion board failed misearbly) is to group 4-5 students at the beginning of the semester and make it a requirement that they “check-in” with one another once a week.  I could provide basics for discussion (how’s your project going, what are you including in you log, what barriers are you encountering, etc…) and each discussion would be monitored and given a small point value.

Then I was off to explore MERLOT.  All I could say was, “Why is this the first time I’ve seen this site?”  There is SO much information to look at – almost too much.  I could definitely get lost browsing all of the ideas.  It did seem a little difficult to navigate, but I’m sure once I get the hang of it, I’ll be spending A LOT of time there.  When browsing all of the content in MERLOT, I came across THIS SITE that I am going to include in my weight management unit for my Health 101 course.  Now if I only had countless hours to go through all of learning exercises in MERLOT.

I had never heard of Diigo either, so I was excited to start using it.  However, I think I’m definitely still in the learning curve, because I was getting very frustrated with trying to “highlight” text.  I would try to highlight, but the actual color highlight wouldn’t show up; but then when I went to my “saved” area, all of those areas I tried to highlight were saved.  I don’t know, user error I suppose.  I did bookmark and comment on Anderson and Dron’s article, but I’m not sure if everyone else can see my comments and highlights.  I added the toolbar to my web browser, so I’m going to try and make a point of using Diigo and see how I feel about it in the upcoming weeks.  Not only do I see it as a great tool for me – browsing information, highlighting, saving, making notes,etc – but I could see the benefit of students using Diigo as well.  I could see providing students an article to review and have them doing something similar to what we did – highlight and comment on what they found interesting.  Diigo may also work well for groups who are working on a common project.

And that brings me to Second Life.  I just don’t like this program – it gives me the creeps.  Maybe I’ve watched too many TV shows where people get obsessed with their online life that they “forget” about thier real one.  I don’t see myself using this as an educational tool for my class, but I have heard that people use it successfully in education and for business meetings as well.  I think if I wanted to meet a student virtually, I’d rather use something like Blackboard Collaborate, Google Hangouts, or Skype.  I guess I could see students meeting in Second Life for group projects or whatnot, but I don’t think this is something that I’ll be including in my course.

Now, I’m going to try to stay on top of the material this week, so I’m not posting late again!


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