August 14

These r my students…

The course is almost over… I created this video as a farewell for you.

This is also an example of a really cool tool, animoto. They have a free upgrade to pro for educators

Always ask services if they will upgrade you as an educator. I always ask and tell them that i am an educator and that i am evaluating the instructional potential of their tool. I very often get upgraded. : )

May 14

What past students have to say about this course…

The one thing that hindered my learning was my misunderstanding of the forum posts in the first weeks of the course.  It was several weeks into the course before I realized that these were actually research based; this was new to me because I hadn’t ever been asked to research something so intensely for an online course before.  Once I realized that posts were like small research projects, I did much better. …It’s been a very intense course, but I learned a lot and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn a new skill that I can hopefully build on in the future.

Donna Angley, summer 2011


Because I only read the top of the discussion rubric, I thought I was being “metaphorically killed” most of this course time. I believed my grade was 50% -failing – because I never saw the point spread rubric below the discussion rubric.

The process included  confusion, anxiety, frustration, despair, hope, satisfaction, and elation (when I did my first audio). My attempts were impaired by poor internet connections and an ongoing dilemma I often experience – if it can go wrong, it will

…confusion, disappointment, and frustration. However, I countered with determination and hopefulness. I spent hours learning to prepare for my posts. I lost time in the learning. The posts made me  organize my learning, in order to share my learning. I pushed through the negative thoughts and simply hung on for life. I hammered away at the different tools until somehow I figured it out…sometimes I actually forgot how I figured it out and had to do it all again.  Guess what hanging on works!!!

Diana Gusa, Summer 2011


Reflective Writing: I have to admit, at the beginning of the course I thought the blogging activities were just busy work.  I viewed the assignments as busy work, and treated my entries as such.  As time ticked on, I started getting into the blogs and realizing that it was my personal space in which I could reflect on my work on my course and my learning throughout the week/module.  So much of life and learning in school is sort of thrown at you, and if you don’t take the time to intentionally deconstruct the events and make sense of them, then you’ll never grow and improve.  I’d rather grow.

I think I have learned that most hindrances to learning and success are often all in your head.  If something’s in your way, it’s usually because you’re letting it be there.  So, you have to learn to change your frame of mind before you can change your life.  And lastly, in the spirit of hard work, if it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing right…which will require a lot of work.

I have learned that online teaching is a lot of work, and takes practice.  The hours poured into completing this class and building my online course have been numerous.  I will be walking away with this great skill now beginning, and something new to put on my resume.

Kim Barass, Summer 2011


I learned about myself, others, and the world. I learned about my emotions, my mental capabilties and strengths and weaknesses. I learned about others and how they learn. I learned about my students and students in general. I learned about the political, cultural, social and legal environment of the US and educational practices of other countries…and…and…and…

I feel empowered – that is how I know that learning has taken place.

I learned that building a course takes lots of time – to do it right!

I would have loved to have learned without having to balance work and personal life. However, I am grateful that I am working and was able to grab from my work experience and use it in this course.

The difficulty that I have had in the course is having the time to read and review ALL of the various (and great) resources that are out there for teachers. I am baffled by the sheer amount, but this course has disciplined me to focus on quality over quantity.

This course allows me to learn the theoretical underpinnings of learning and teaching online, but also allows me to apply what I have learned and “make the connection” to my professional life and to the greater world! And this…is a great thing?

I am thankful for this experience!

Kristen Dellasala, Summer, 2011


It’s been a very trying 12 weeks. The nature of the summer course is unforgiving. I started late because I had to register late to fulfill tuition requirements and it was catchup for the entire summer. However, I did learn an awful lot. I forced myself to think in new ways. I was exposed to new ideas from classmates, the beauty of social learning I guess and I challenged my assumptions.

Mike Lucatorto, Summer 2011


What students said in the summer of 2009.

What students said in the summer of 2008.

February 2

I heart diigo!

I have been using diigo for several years now in my online course and in addition to delicious for my social bookmarking… (I started out in delicious and then moved to diigo… but could not let delicious go … still have it and have diigo update my delicious bookmarks)

I LOVE diigo and characterize it as “delicious on steroids” : )

I have a diigo group for my course that is open to the public for viewing, but private to my students for contributing to.

In my course i use it to co-create with students an annotated bibliography of shared resources for the course that <and this is KEY> persists beyond the end of the term and outside the boundaries of the LMS – because their access to their student-generated content and contributions to that bibliography would go away when the course ends, if it were not external to the LMS.

There are so many things that i love about diigo. It helps me express my teaching and social presences to my online students, and helps me build class community.

It assists me to (1) present content, (2) to facilitate engaging and enhanced collaboration and interaction, and (3) it gives me tools with which to provide enhanced and engaging feedback to my students.

These are the 3 categories i use in evaluation of instructional technology, and diigo hits all three. I also evaluate with the following critera, “does the tool allow me to achieve an instructional objective <better, faster, safer, easier, or cheaper>. Diigo hits <better, faster, and easier>.

  • I use it to document resources for the course.
  • I use it leave comments, highlights, and sticky notes on online web resources for my students and on their course blogs.
  • My students use it to bookmark EVERY link, reference, citation that they mention in ANY part of the course.
  • My students use it to comment on each other’s bookmarks and on the pages themselves – highlighting passages, asking each other questions, pointing things out to each other. (I model this for them and give them feedback to improve their uses of the tool.)
  • I provide a directed learning activity in diigo during the course in which they must find, bookmark, share, and annotate 3 resources that they will use in their own online course and comment on each other’s resources in diigo. I even have experimented with having a class discussion right in diigo.
  • I give them feedback and evaluate their use of the tool throughout the course.
  • I create a dynamically aggregating link roll that i have in my course on the front page so every time students login to the course they see the latest links that we have all added to our shared bibliography.
  • My current and past students remain members of the group and all the artifacts from every time i have taught the course persist as members in the group so we have a community of practice being built and grown with each term.

Diigo allows me to create a resource for my course that captures links to stuff that would otherwise be buried forever in my very discussion-rich fully online course. It helps students learn how to evaluate online resources, how to tag and organize resource links, and provides lots of features and functionality – some of which i have not tried yet.

I also use diigo to curate resources for my instructional designer community. You can see an example here:  – on the lower left of the page and here:

Like i said i also use it for my own personal social bookmarking and have an extensive library and many groups that i participate in. It is a fundamental part of my PLN and something that i do and use daily. Twitter and diigo are connected in my mind as i bookmark all of the things i learn about via twitter in diigo, and use specific tags and their rss feeds to feed link rolls and tag rolls on a variety of topics or disciplines in the various social networking sites that i manage. The link rolls at the bottoms of all the country pages in this wiki i built for example all draw dynamically from specifically tagged resources in my diigo library, see

I have begun the internal process of recommending diigo as a university-wide tool.  : )

Diigo is really cool  : ) I <heart> diigo!

September 28

how to build a successful online community

  1. How do you build a successful online community for education and professional development?
    Create relevant value.
  2. What defines success in online communities?
    Members find relevant value in the community and engage, contribute and participate in the community.
  3. What elements of community building contribute to the ongoing engagement of members in an online community?
    -generosity and willingness to share what you know for the good of the community
    -shared passion, values, interests, purpose
    -positive non irritating communications
    -relevant content
    -rulz – aup – tolerance, respect
    -a continuum of expertise is represented in the community from novice to rockstar
    -leadership with cred, skillz, and willingness – it also helps to have heart, charm, personality, and a POV = passion
    -supports network and ways to contribute and a place to talk – interact.
    -TRUST and a shared sense of belonging.
    -continuous improvement with community input
  4. What role do community leaders play in the sustainability of their online community?
    depends on where the community is in its life cycle. at the beginning it is essential that leaders play a major role – Herculean effort that requires authentic heart, genuine passion. it requires being a force of nature.

  5. How do you encourage members to create content?
    ask questions, provide a focus and context for relevant affinity groups and discussions
  6. What kind of community features are most used?
    profiles, introductory discussions
  7. What community platform do to use? How did you arrive at this choice?
    ning. i could create it and support it by my self  : )
  8. Can you share any best practices for moderating a community?
    keep it fresh/updated, with regular current relevant new content. Work smart not hard. Guide, seed, cultivate, model, give generously of your IP and time. don’t trick people or use gimmicks.
  9. What kind of rules or guidelines will your community have?
    -new member guide – what you can do features – description of and links to all the stuff you can/should do to get started.
    -community guidelines- what NOT to do and what to do.
    -a way to report problems/suggestions/questions
  10. How do you measure success?
    People join, share, contribute, participate, interact, come back, invite other/more people, post content, initiate interaction, respond, express that the resources and community are valuable
    People value their membership and feel ownership of and belonging to the community.