We are the Program for Online Teaching, a group of volunteer faculty helping other faculty teach better online.

Our focus is on pedagogy as the guiding force for using technologies for teaching.

Many of us are from MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California. MiraCostans may access the Teaching/Technology Innovations Center for technical help, resources, news and more.

The POT Network

  • POT Diigo group
    (see tutorial on how to save bookmarks)
  • POT Facebook group
  • POT Vimeo Channel (workshops)
  • POT YouTube Channel
  • Twittter (please use hashtag #potcomm)

POT Newletter #42 (July 2012)
POT Newletter #42 (July 2012) avatar

Program for Online Teaching Newsletter #42

July 2012

POT All-Day Workshop: Strategies and Tools for Online Teaching

Tuesday, August 14

9:30 am – 3:50 pm, lunch included
Flex time: 6.5 hours

Limited enrollment: 40 participants (contact Lisa if it’s full and you want to get in)
Cost: $20/person includes lunch (sign up in flex and send check made out to MCC Academic Senate (put PDP on memo line) to Debby Adler, MS 8C. Deadline to pay is August 13, or you will lose your spot to someone on the wait list.

Instructors of all levels and styles are welcome to join us for an all-day exploration of the strategies and tools that can be effectively used for online, hybrid or on-site classes that use web technologies. Beginning with developing good course design through individual pedagogy, participants will work hands-on with a
selection of proven teaching tools and explore how they can be used to realize instructional goals.  If you have attended an all-day POT workshop in the past, there will be some new additions this year.

Please bring your laptop computer, tablet or smart phone if you have one – that will open up more computers in some of the sessions.

Participants will receive 6.5 flex hours for participating (attendance of less than 6.5 hours may be recorded on the sign-in sheet).

Other fall flex week workshops of interest to online faculty

Monday, August 13

  • 9 am, OC4612 Bb 101: Introduction to Blackboard
  • 10:30 am, OC4612: Creating Exams and Practice Exercises in Blackboard
  • 1:00 pm, OC4611: Internet Basics I: Critical Concepts & Browser Basics
  • 2:00 pm, OC4611: Internet Basics II: Better, Safer, More Effective Web Browsing and Searching
  • 3:00 pm, SAN107: Bb 101: Introduction to Blackboard

Wednesday, August 15

Thursday, August 16

POT Online Teaching Certificate Class starts September 1

POT offers a very special opportunity to learn how to teach online in our free, year-long, open online class!

Our next class begins on September 1. There is a textbook, and activities for 12 weeks in fall and 12 weeks in spring. Participants learn about teaching online by putting their pedagogical goals first, and learning to use various technologies to fulfill their objectives, whether teaching online, hybrid, or in a classroom. The class is free and open and led by POT participants, moderators from around the globe, and graduates of the certificate program.

The draft website is currently being put together at http://pedagogyfirst.org/wppf12. If you would like to join us, just email Lisa.

We will also hold a pre-class workshop in the POT Facebook group beginning August 19 – all are welcome.

POT First Fridays at Oceanside 4804

Laura Paciorek hosts our successful First Friday workshop series again this fall.

Come and discuss your online teaching adventures with fellow faculty members.  Individuals with no, little, some, and a lot of online teaching experience are all welcome.  Each First Friday will focus on what the group wants to discuss; however, prompts will also be provided to start the discussion.  Questions are welcome, too!

September 7 – 3:00-3:50 p.m.: Engagement – What do you do to engage your students in online classes?

October 5 – 3:00-3:50 p.m.: Time/energy management – How do you manage your time/energy as an instructor and how do you help your students manage their time/energy?

November 2– 3:00-3:50 p.m.: Evaluation – How do you have students evaluate your classes and how do you evaluate your students’ work?

December 7 – 3:00-3:50 p.m.: Renewal – What are your plans for your future classes?  What did you learn or what do you want to try next?

Sign up at the flex website.

Online Tool News

No more Talkback Badge

One of the great tools POT recommends has disappeared. Google’s Talkback Badge could be put on any web page to allow students to instantly chat with you, without downloading or having an account. It’s been discontinued.

This summer we’ve been testing plupper.com, and think it provides a good alternative, although it needs a client (such as iChat for Mac or Miranda for PC) to work. Information and other options can be found on Lisa’s blog.

No more Meebo

Pilar reports that Meebo is also gone, so plupper may provide a solution for that also.

Textbook or Wikipedia Book?

We’ve discovered Wikipedia Books, which allows you to put together (and edit) books for students comprised of collected articles from Wikipedia.

Diigo for student annotations

Diigo, the social bookmarking service, can be used to have students annotate documents. Each student needs a free account, and Diigo will give you a URL for saved documents with annotations so students can see each others’ work. You can even use Diigo’s Educator features to create a class account.

Just need a gradebook?

We’ve been testing a free gradebook, and can recommend Engrade for ease of use. It does set its own student passwords, however, which must be given to the students so they can access their grades. Intended for K-12, even with its new features it’s simple to use.

Add a Twitter widget to Blackboard

Blackboard isn’t always good at taking code from elsewhere and displaying it properly. The trick is to switch to HMTL mode and make sure the Text Editor is disabled. To add a Twitter widget to your Bb 9.1 class, see these instructions.

Create a quick and simple web page

Sometimes you just want to make something available to students on the web. Try checkthis.com.

Sharing web images with Pinterest

The latest tool for selecting and displaying collections of images and videos, kind of like an online poster, is Pinterest. You “pin” images from the web on a page, and can talk about them and share.

 Public Domain resource

Public Domain Review is a website dedicated to curating text, images and video available in the public domain.

 A style guide for citing Wikipedia

Wikipedia has a full page on the formats and methods for citing Wikipedia pages in research and student projects.


Happy online teaching and learning!



MCC WordPress Tutorials
MCC WordPress Tutorials avatar

Faculty at MiraCosta College are welcome to set up a blog in the WordPress installation hosted at MiraCosta.

Laura Paciorek put together video tutorials to help.

There are three steps to acquiring your MiraCosta College WordPress blog site.The first is to email or call Anthony Ginger or Karen Korstad and request a MiraCosta College WordPress
site.The second is to choose a user name if you don’t have one for the college’s WordPress, which most people would not. And you could make it the same as your email, Surf, Blackboard user name or you could choose something else.
But you will need to tell them what you would like your user name to be.And the third thing is to choose a site name to be put in the URL. So, for example,”spartanonlineteaching” becomes the URL http://wordpress.miracosta.edu/spartanonlineteaching. Pretty much everything else you can customize after this is created. So, follow these steps and get your site and then there will be some more tutorials about how to make it work for you.
One nice thing about the WordPress site is that, when you have a new one, the first thing the “Dashboard” will invite you to do is to customize the site and make it more yours. I already went over how to rename it and things like that.But they go through how to set up the basic settings that you might want to do. How to get rid of things that they put as samples. Create things that you want to create. And even things like adding widgets. Work through these. I wanted to show you “Widgets” quickly. Because there’s already some things that are in that side bar in your blog that you may or may not like.Maybe, let’s say, you don’t want categories for some reason. You can just drag that out. And maybe you really want to add a calendar, so you can pull that in. And it’s really that simple as far as customizing your site even more. Hope you have fun making your blog your own.
Once you give your blog a new name and a new tagline, you can further customize it by choosing a new theme. There are currently a few themes inside of MiraCosta College’s account. But you can request a theme be added by contacting Anthony Ginger if you see a theme at WordPress.com that you like. Once you look through them and look at what the different benefits are for each theme and decide if that works for you, you can preview what it will look like by clicking on the theme of your choice.If you like what you see, you can activate it. And once you go back and look at it, you can see how now it looks a little different, there’s a different layout and you can go back in and change this at any time. Hopefully this helps. There’s more ways to customize. This is just one basic way that you can make it look different.
Now that you have your blog set up, you might want tocustomize it a little bit.  Let’s say the first thing you want to do is maybe change the name of it and the tagline.You do that by going to the “Dashboard.”  Once you’re inside the dashboard, you go to “Settings” and choose “General Settings.”  And here you can rename the title for your site and the tagline, a bunch of things.  So, maybe instead of “Laura’s Blog,” I want “Online Teaching Adventures” or something.  Then, save your changes.  And I can actually see that the name has changed and when I visit my site, it looks different here. Hopefully this is helpful and you have fun thinking of a name for your blog and customizing it.
Now that my blog has a new name, a new theme, I’ve renamed a page, added some posts… I want to show you what you can do directly from the “Dashboard” that’s quick, so you can keep your blog updated.  When you go to “Posts,” you can see all your posts, but you can just go right to “Add New” if you know what you want to write about.  And name your post.  And add your content.  You can save it as a draft.  Maybe you want to not forget something, but you’re not totally ready.  You can preview it.  Or, you can just go right to publish.  Once it loads, you can go right to your blog again and see your new post.  That’s a quick way to use your dashboard to add to your blog.
If you want to reduce the amount of spam comments on your blog, you’re going to want to install a plugin.  To do this, go to the “Dashboard” for your site and then go to “Plugins.” I already did that, so I’m going to scroll down. And the plugin that you want to active is this first one: Akismet.  Click “Activate.”  And after you do that, keep following the steps over here in the instructions.  You go to “Sign up for an API key.”  Choose “Personal.”  And if you don’t want to pay anything for it, you slide that down to zero.  Fill in all of the information here and click continue.  I already did that and what it did was email me a code.  And, so what you do after that is you click on this third part, which is to go to the configuration page.  And you’re going to put that code here in this box and click “Update options.”  And after you do that, you’ll be all set up to reduce the spam on your blog.  Hope that this helps and have fun blogging.

Ed-Media presentations: POT Certificate Class and Simul-learn
Ed-Media presentations: POT Certificate Class and Simul-learn avatar

Video of Lisa and Laura’s presentation at Ed-Media conference in Denver, June 2012.

On-site or online? How about both? Creating simul-learn experiences
On-site or online? How about both? Creating simul-learn experiences avatar

Lisa and Laura’s presentation at Ed-Media 2012 in Denver, a Best Practices session about the Simul-learn setup for our workshops.

The POT Certificate Class: A SMOOC for preparing faculty to teach online
The POT Certificate Class: A SMOOC for preparing faculty to teach online avatar

Lisa and Laura’s presentation at Ed-Media 2012 in Denver, a Best Practices session about the Program for Online Teaching’s Small to Medium Open Online Course. The last slide links to the POT Certificate Class: Pedagogy First (2011-12).