A comment our instructor, Norm Garrett, made in the introductory reading for our module on asynchronous communication stood out to me. He stated “To introduce this module, I will be so bold as to say there cannot be an online course without some element of communication.” I totally agree! You can’t teach without communicating. Often in an online course, communication with and among students is more often handled via a discussion board. A blog is a great tool for communicating with others and is still asynchronous – something everyone likes since we don’t have be online at a set time.
Like my experience with Twitter, I had created a blog 4-5 years ago for our family and used it frequently for a few months to blog about a holiday period of time. Then, we moved onto FLICKR or Facebook, etc.
For this course, I was encouraged (actually required, but hey – the result was the same) to establish this blog and use it to share my experiences with various tech tools. My blog can be read at at WordPress (see http://wp.me/p2imUO-v).
I’m really looking forward to using a Blog in future courses. I believe a blog would add some “spice” to the course and allow communication in a different format. Blogging is certainly interactive, but is also a way an individual can journal about given topics. I believe a blog will help me assist my students in maintaining an engaged collaboration among one another. The blog will meet the need of students communicating with one another and could serve as well as a portfolio of sorts much like this blog is doing for this course.
I also use the blog tool within Blackboard to have students create a student homepage to introduce them to one another, post a photo and provide introductory information. This has been well-received and helps make the course a bit more personal.
One tech tool I had not really used very much at all before this class was Twitter. I had, probably 18 months ago, set up a “personal” twitter account in an effort to “follow” my teenagers, but after a few days never tweeted nor looked at my account. One main reason for me was simply time.
For this class, I set up a new account (@unfroberson) that I could use for professional purposes. I quickly began to follow various professional organizations and professionals of interest. I have attempted to follow on a regular basis and have tweeted on occasion. I still find it a low priority for me and difficult to remember to check. I have a twitter app on my iPhone and iPad but still don’t go to Twitter frequently.
I do see the potential value as one way of communicating with students. I believe I would find it useful in at least communicating announcements to students and using it to send reminders to students throughout the week. I think it could help me achieve one of my instructional goals in maintaining open communication with my students. I intend to use twitter this summer in a graduate course I am teaching. I will, similarly to this class, ask students to set up an account and follow me as well as one another and some professional course-related organizations.
My Diigo Use
Diigo was something new I learned from the Tech Tools class. I’ve always been one to seek out new tools, new software, new online things to use in class or during presentations. I had used Delicious before but not consistently. Diigo is an online tool that allows you to share knowledge. You share bookmarks and content with others.
I’ve already begun preparing for a summer graduate course I am teaching on Teaching Online. I’ll use Diigo to share bookmarks of tech tools and DL information for my students and will also have my students use Diigo to do the same. I also intend to create lists for other classes and aspects of my work/life to share content with others. I will also create a group within Diigo for the class during the summer to allow for group only sharing.
My Diigo account can be found at : http://www.diigo.com/user/unf_roberson
This blog will be used primarily for the Tech Tools class.