May 26

The course starts today!

Today is the offical start date of my summer online course, etap687. It is a master’s level fully online course at UAlbany in the education department. If you are interested, here is a link to a tour of the course. I also have a cool prezi presentation that i am currently doing about my experiences teaching this course last semester, title teaching outside the “box.” I am excited and anxious and hope that i have set everything up right and that it will all work with no tech difficulties. I have about 8 students enrolled so far and am really looking forward to meeting them and learning more about them and the online courses they will develop as part of their course.

To prepare for this term, i copied the course from last term and updated it. I’ve had some challenges with this along the way. Links broke, i had to recreate several discussions, and any student-level documents that i had as part of the course i had to recreate as well. It has been interesting. i made a few modifications to the course based on feedback from the students from last semester. Mostly in the instructions to activities so that things would be clearer from the beginning. I also decided to keep the students from last term in the course diigo group instead of setting up a new one for the new course – to build community.

I am very concerned about the amount of work the course will be in terms of my own course management. Last term it nearly killed me. And my husband and family were not amused by the amount of time i spent on it. Part of the issue is manually having to tabulate all the discussion gradings. I have not made any modifications in my approach to discussion, and so expect that it will be a lot of work again. If only the course management system did this for me automatically, i could spend more time interacting in the course a less time trying to count and track all the discussion ratings. i have heard that a newer version of moodle does this… alas, i don’t believe that is the version we are in.

In any case, i am really looking forward to teaching this course and learning lots from my students. I still have to go check my rubric, and the sun is coming up  : )

You can follow our course announcements on twitter and have a look at our icebreaking activity.  I also really look forward to peering into my students reflections as they take their course through their own blogs. Links to their blogs are on this blog,

here we go!

May 13

online course goes live today…

cool… nervous… almost done, but not quite.

It doesn’t officially start till May 27th.

Still figuring out how students will get access. How they will create their shells. Working on their template… that is not working at the moment. And still working on rubrics.

May 11

got the course roster…cool

14 students enrolled so far… i am thinking about the course going live on the 13th and the communications i need to send out. Welcome note with : link to course… (not really sure how students will know where the course is… i did put a note and link and video welcome in the BB course shell… I also turned everything off there so that there would be less confusion. )invites to voicethread.invites to twitter.invites to diigo. 

May 4

stress… stressing …. stressed

the course starts next week. i feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of making this course good and of making it a good, positive and meaningful experience for the students. I have so much that still needs to be worked out. 

  • All my rubrics…
  • Trying to figure out how to foster, encourage, elicit, design for high quality interaction in a pass/fail course. 
  • how we will use diigo. I think i have to have the students help me figure that out, cuz i am just not sure yet. Have to use it to know…
  • How students will get their own Moodle shells… i have totally not worked that out yet. With little/no tech support for the students this is a HUGE concern for me. I want to give them a quickstart in their shell so that they don’t have to start from scratch … i need more time…
  • I am worried that the course will not be perfect…i am hoping they will understand… i hope it will be good… i hope i can do this… taking a deep  B R E A T H… 
April 28

if i am doing most of the work… who is doing most of the learning?!

I am trying to practice what i preach. present, engage/interact, assess. it is harder than it sounds. Pacing, sequencing, spreading the work out over 12 weeks and making sure they have enough time to do all the activities and trying to find a balance of activities in each module… will i let them work ahead? what will i do with diigo? how will i assess their reading of the journal articles for the course?

April 17


trying to figure out how to cultivate quality interaction and performance in a pass/fail course. I need to provide a grading scheme that will help students to know how to succeed in the course and to offer compelling enough reasons to do more than just pass…

April 7


diigo for etap687. I believe there is something very powerful  in this tool. I am in the process evaluating it for instructional and professional development purposes.

So far these are my thoughts:

  1. I think I can easily mark up online student work with this tool.
  2. I think online students can mark up each other’s online work with this tool. and discuss. One of the course activities is to use a rubric to evaluate an online course that the students will each be building as the main project for the course. The course review, I think, can be done using diigo. I think… not sure yet.
  3. Online students can easily create annotated bibliographies of web resource in directed learning activities AND share and discuss them with others in the class.
  4. This resource can grow and be available for the online course from term to term.
  5. In addition, for webenhanced courses, this is an awesome, easy, slick, cool way to incorporate some very cool online enhancements to a f2f course that completely bypasses all the extra unnecessary flotsam you get with a full on CMS/LMS. you get a lot of functional features bang for the “buck” in this tool. It is a slick tool with a lot of functionality to suport interaction/collaboration, etc.
  6. When i have my university administrator’s hat on i also see great potential as a tool to facilitate and enhance community and for professional development. I have an extended staff of 50-100 online instructional designers that i could use this tool with to aggregate links and info and resources and networking. We have over 3,000 online faculty that we could use this with to support them with info and resources and networking – differenciating between the needs of new online faculty and experienced online faculty… there is potential for discipline specific resources and info for online faculty… and it goes on.

As i said, i am exploring this tool for its potential, and i think there is something here.

I have several questions:

  1. Can a group be open for viewing by the public, but closed to participation unless you are a member of the group. I think so.
  2. Also, can you export stuff out… to archive it, keep it safe, take it to another tool?