Program for Online Teaching – Week 7
Program for Online Teaching – Week 7 avatar

This week we had quite a few things to do and much to reflect on/work on.

One of them was to try Twitter. I do have a Twitter account/page but I haven’t used it in teaching yet. The textbook mentioned an instructor could send out text messages and/or short posts (under 140 characters). But I’d love to know how other instructors have used Twitter in their online classes (particularly language teachers). I understand its’ uses in terms of posts and chatting with others but don’t understand what advantages this might have in comparison to other tools such as a Facebook page, a blog or a pen pal website (in which students would be paired up to native speakers/writers)? Also, is text messaging students (even in a mass text messaging format such as Twitter) “too personal”? I don’t know the answer to that question yet…

I enjoyed Pilar’s workshop video: Building Community in Your Online Class which was very informative. I couldn’t agree more about the importance of keeping the format “clean” looking and easily accessible/readable. Nowadays, students want things easy and accessible right away so when something is hard to find or a page is difficult to navigate through, it can be very confusing and time-consuming. I think it’s important to keep in mind that students’ ages, marital status, ethnicity, background, hobbies and location will vary. Hence, it is important to make the online course appealing but I also believe it is important to stay open-minded. I liked what Pilar said about being personable and giving students a glimpse of your own family life. Students (even in an on-campus class) like to know the teacher isn’t just some “brainiac” with no life outside of education itself. I have found that when I say a thing here or there about my children and/or husband and/or hobbies, students enjoy knowing that I too have a life outside of school. Being an organized “freak” I definitely am pro-organization. How many times have I had a student ask me weeks ahead of time what was on the schedule for a specific date/class because of an appointment of some sort… It’s vital to have the semester planned out ahead of time, yet keep some room for flexibility. 🙂

As I progress into the “creating” and not just “thinking” of an online classroom Curriculum, I  have encountered various dilemmas. I have been asking my fabulous mentor (Pilar) as well as the POT Facebook group page what the difference (in uses) are between Dropbox and Google Docs? I have been using Dropbox and was thinking of recreating my Curriculum to include hyperlinks to each of the handouts/videos I want to include in my lesson. However, as I was updating some handouts, the old hyperlinks (in my Curriculum) didn’t work (for me–for students, the hyperlinks didn’t work at all since they perceived the document as a PDF even if I originally created it as a Word Document). I have been toying with the idea of using Google Docs so my students can view handouts simply by clicking on link. In the past I have had to upload each individual document on Blackboard. By using hyperlinks this will certainly make things easier for me.

Finally, I’d like to start making more videos but am still unsure of what software I should use for these videos. I like the suggestions from the textbook (and from Pilar’s workshop video) but still need to figure out what would work from me.

I’m looking forward to reading your suggestions. 🙂

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8 Responses to Program for Online Teaching – Week 7
Program for Online Teaching – Week 7 avatar

  1. Hi Rachèle,
    I really like the videos you shared on youtube. They seem to fit in perfectly with your comments about the importance of sharing something about your own life with your students in order to create a more shared sense of community in the classroom environment. I guess what kind of software you use for future videos depends greatly on what exactly you want to accomplish with them. Will your videos be mini-lectures for your online students, will they be providing additional comprehensible input for students to comment on or build a discussion upon or will they be examples for students of what kinds of projects you would eventually like them to submit? Each software program seems to have its advantages and pitfalls. I learned jing last year in the POT program but at this years’ all day workshop in August, we learned all about the merits of screencast-o-matic. As far as how to use twitter other than for conversation exchange, I scouted around to find more information for you on specifically what someone in foreign languages could do with twitter. I found some interesting suggestions on this blog: http://mmeduckworth.blogspot.com/2011/06/twitter.html where one of the first slide presentations entitled “Dear Foreign Language Teacher, if you were on twitter…” has a lot of information, especially for teachers of French which I believe is what you teach.

  2. Avatar Lisa M Lane says:

    You could use Google Docs, of course, but then Google has your docs, and they change stuff a lot. To control my own work, I have a web account at a hosting company, and I upload my documents to my own folders. That way the URL is consistent every time, and I can just paste it anywhere.

    • Avatar Rachele DeMeo says:

      Thanks Lisa! What do you mean by Google has my docs and change stuff a lot? I’m confused… I was hoping to hyperlink a lot of handouts from my lessons so students can view them (but not necessary change/edit them)… I’m still trying to figure some of this out. ;(
      Thanks for your help!

  3. Avatar Laura Carlsson says:

    Hi Rachele,
    I also have a tweeter account I never use. I cannot find the need for it.
    I want to respond to you about Google Docs (now Drive). I used them this semester for the first time after I went to a workshop during Flex Week and the instructor showed us all the material he does in Drive and how he shared with their students. He sets everything public!
    So I copied his idea. I open one Drive doc for the syllabus, one Google calendar (public too) and another Drive for the important information they needed. Since Drive gives you an URL for each document, I shortened it and gave the short URL to my students the first day of class. They used their phone to get it (I also gave them the QR code) and at least half of the class was able to leave the first day with three important URL in their favorites.
    I have not used them for anything else yet, but I will certainly do!
    I hope this helps

    • Avatar Rachele DeMeo says:

      Laura,
      I loved what you shared! I want to learn more about using Google Drive. I’ve had some issues synchronizing my Documents into Google Drive so I’m still trying to figure that out… Also, how did you shorten the URL? I don’t understand how you do that… Finally, can you make each document public/private or complete Folders or both?
      Sorry to bombard you with questions but I’m very intrigued in what you learned and how it has benefited you.
      Thanks for your input!

  4. I love dropbox, but I use it like a thumb-drive, works great when I need to pull-up info in class; but I think with google docs you have the right Ideal , most student are using it and I find it reliable and a good CMS supplementing tool, like for blackboard.

  5. Avatar Laura P. says:

    Sometimes I find that different technologies have different uses. Perhaps both Dropbox and Google Drive could be helpful, for different reasons. I am not sure how they will work for you, but I wonder if you will start to find different uses for each as you explore them. I hope you have fun trying everything out!

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