June 4

Tools I use to enhance my instruction and to actively engage online learners

They are project-based with opportunity to apply, authentically experience, design, practice.

I use a variety of social media/web tools that are external to the course management system.

  • To enhance the presentation of online course content.
  • To facilitate engagement and interaction with course material and between learners in the online teaching and learning environment.
  • To enhance the presentation of feedback.
  • To give the learners in the online course options and choices in how they make their thinking and learning (and their progress) visible to me and others in the class.
  • To provide access to course materials beyond the end of the term.
  • To build connection and community among past, present and future learners in the online course.
  • To self-disclose, demonstrate social presence, establish trust and a sense of class community and model the academic and professional uses of the social web.
  • To expose learners to tools and utilities that may have potential to enhance instruction.
  • To test the potential of these tools for instructional purpose and observe their effects on learners.
    • voicethread – An online media album of any type of media (images, text, documents, and videos). I user it as an ice-breaking activity. This example uses a video of my daughter introducing me from her perspective, as well as slides to do deeper more contextualized introductions including, experiences relevant to the course, prior knowledge, expectations, etc.
      • How I use VT
    • diigo – A social bookmarking tool.
      1. Used to bookmark, highlight, comment upon ,and share all references used/shared in the course and by all participants.
      2. Used to create a dynamic link roll of resources that automatically updates thhe latest additions to the shared class annotated bibliography of resources curated by the course participants – access to this bibliography remains available to students beyond the end of the term.
      3. Used to facilitate instructor feedback on learner-generated work posted on the web, e.g., feedback provided on learner blogs via the highlight and comment features of diigo make providing learning feedback more efficient and easier for the instructor.
    • edublogs – education-focused blog platform (wordpress for education with a .edu url extension and the ability to link instructor and student blogs in classes).
      1. Used to keep metacognitive journals and reflections/feedback on the online course teaching and learning experiences.
        1. Example instructor blog: http://etap640.edublogs.org
        2. See also learner blogs linked to off the instructor blog above.
    • netvibes – to aggregate and display student blogs.
    • twitter – micro blog.
      1. Used in this course for newsflash type announcements, questions, interaction. https://twitter.com/i/#!/alexpickett/etap-640-summer-2012 and https://twitter.com/etap640
      2. Used to introduce learners to the power of the social web, building an online digital network, identity, and voice that contributes to the online discourse on topics of academic and professional interest.
    • jing – a screen capture tool used to provide instructions, feedback, and clarification to online learners. (5-minute limit on the free version).
      1. Showing is often easier and more efficient than writing.
      2. Screencast-o-matic for 15-minute screencasts.
      3. Online learners can use this to present projects, critiques, etc.
    • screencast – a Techsmith repository affiliated with the jing project that gives me the ability to create a playlist of my “how-to” videos in my course.
    • audacity – a free audio recording utility used to record audio comments & feedback for online learners, as well as content in the form of interviews with exemplary online faculty.
    • podomatic – a podcasting platform used to deliver the audio feedback created with audacity as an embedded playlist widget. See podcasted student feedback examples on online course learning activities.
    • youtube – an online video platform to record and view course-related video materials.
      1. online asynchronous video discussion to bring “rockstars” into the class and blur the boundaries of the online learning classroom environment “box”.
      2. See also the course videos playlist.
    • vimeo – to post course-related video materials.
      1. See the screencasted feedback course reviews.
    • voki – a speaking avatar used for announcements in this course.
      1. Example: Welcome to ETAP640!
    • breeze – used to create voice-annotated powerpoint course materials.
    • polldaddy – survey tool used to collect feedback from students on the course.
    • rate my professor – professor rating tool.
    • jumpscam – a QR code generator used to create a scan-able QRcode with information about this course.
    • Facebook – to build community among and between course participant cohorts.
    • Padlet – an online multimedia bulletin board.
      1. Used for online learners at the end of the course to leave tips and comments for the next cohort of online learners.
        1. Example1
        2. Example 2
    • Powtoon – a tool to make graphic animated presentations.
      1. An option for student presentations.