Cayuga provided Angel training today for our online, hybrid, and web-enhanced courses. Two bits of information that struck me as useful. The first was not a surprise.
- Angel will be replaced within the next couple of years with another LMS. Since Blackboard purchased Angel and is likely to replace it with one of its products, more discussion needs to happen. And I’d encourage everyone with experience in online learning to take part.
- The second was an excellent reminder for those “writing” with new media or looking to add select widgets to your webtext. To find the perfect app, the Map of the World 2.0 can be browsed using the Mosaic or searched more strategically using the application reviews.
Kairosnews posted the following music video yesterday. It’s a student project by Chandler Birch, Josh Stephens, and David Perkins out of Taylor University published to YouTube on November 26, 2010.
After playing the video a few times, I find it persuasive through two means: 1) it taps into the irritation people feel for Blackboard Inc because of their LMS’s complexity and confusion, and 2) the music isn’t half bad. As one comment said, “My kids don’t even know what [Moodle] is but they won’t stop singing your song.” The creators can’t hide that this is a student project, but using the most of their resources, they still clinch some of the moving features for this music genre.
Do you find it persuasive? Do you find it persuasive if you’ve never used online course tech?
I’ve written elsewhere that if one looks, there are lots of open source options for online learning.
Here are a couple of new media videos to consider. The first explains what Google sees as the next step from email, but they’re really talking file-sharing and e-committees.
The second is similar to what we’ve seen before, making the case for social networking as legitimate communication.
Social Media Revolution
Filed under: History, invention, New Media, postprocess, rhetoric
“It’s not about timing. It’s not about keeping it short. It’s about relevance.” –Mike Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Kansas State University
Wesch is right. Information is not scarce. But even in an information age, knowledge making can be. Writing is more than a container for knowledge; it can help processing, development and production of new knowledge. For this reason, writing to learn and examining expression might present an attractive study for college students. Students crave forums for expression; they want to be heard. Learning information alongside learning to persuade is powerful and rewarding. Personal purpose and goals make information relevant, but understanding that we have to talk to one another within different social structures is some of what rhetoric and writing provides in its educational long-term.
If we accept the Academic 2.0 argument about the importance of teaching the “how” and not merely the “what” of information, we embrace the importance of writing and rhetorical studies. We can then work to implement communication activities beyond the lecture and can accept communication’s interdisciplinary habits in addition to its residing within the domain of the English department.
That said, community college students often face a wider digital divide than assumed under Web 2.0 arguments. It’s incorrect to assume all students have been naturalized to blogs, wikis, mashups, or mobile networks. This is not to say community colleges give up. The opportunities to write and research with these technologies are likely to accelerate, and ignoring the latest developments because not everyone knows them will only widen the technological divide. However, it is important to acknowledge what many (considering that the majority of students in the country are community college students perhaps I should say “the majority of”) freshmen are not digital natives. And if their professors must immigrate to the digital too, there is a tendency to go with what is most comfortable: chalk and talk, lecture and note take, and read/discuss.
While I see nothing wrong with these classroom approaches in general, academia needs to consider seriously Wesch’s earlier observation that The Machine is Us/ing Us, for our media platforms rewrite how we compose and make language (and therefore knowledge).
Or as one of the comments under the Academia 2.0 video says,
Academia is dead! learning can be done faster and better outside of universities, renting an office space and committing yourself to learning a subject has far less distractions...
Community colleges’ missions center on learning and job training, so I say, Why not put the media machine into the curriculum? It’s influencing how people gather information and make personal, civic, and business decisions. Academica can become more relevant if entry points to the network are practiced in and outside the classroom.
So blog on…
Rationale for using Web 2.0–In the humanities, Classical Greece gets a lot of attention. Western civilization leapt forward democratically and culturally in part because writing interacted with speaking to produce new ideas and fuel debates. Plato favored speaking and doubted writing much like some people treasure books and paper but doubt webtexts today. But just as writing interacting with oral language produced some of Western culture’s greatest thinking, web-network communication like Blogs and Wikis may be pushing us toward a new explosion of knowledge. Since many students are not digital natives to technology, they need opportunities to immigrate that we can provide as they learn course content.
2009 Full-time Faculty Survey (excludes English) on Writing Expected at Cayuga
Class Management (one-to-many)–The most familiar way to use a blog is similar to a classroom lecture or a syllabus where the teacher communicates unidirectionally with his or her students.
- Have your students forgotten the titles of the required books or lost the course syllabus?
Engage Web 2.0 & Many-to-Many Communication Networks–here, we may not be able to compete with the interactivity of social networking, but we can…
- Encourage interactivity and student expression beyond the classroom.
- Collaborate in groups.
- Use student material for discussions.
Audience Questions? (Ask yourself, what would you like to do with Web 2.0 tech?)