Teaching with Blogs Best Practices

Blogs have become common tools for communicating and collaborating online. While setting up a blog takes only a matter of minutes, effectively incorporating blogs into online teaching requires purposeful planning and structuring of activities to leverage the power that blogging brings to the learning environment. This presentation I gave at the 2009 SLATE Conference shared the experiences of incorporating instructor and student blogs into an online course as well as practical recommendations for those considering utilizing blogs in online learning. Sample instructor and student blogs as well as activities designed specifically for blogs were reviewed.

In addition to recording the session using a FlipVideo camera and sharing via Vimeo as well as a podcast in iTunes, I also experimented with live streaming the session using Twitcam. My colleague, Stephanie Richter, moderated the live stream / Twitter comments. The interactive online handout contains all the links, screen shots, and examples that I shared and/or referenced. Enjoy!

Cite this presentation as:

Rhode, J. F., & Richter, S. L. (2009, Oct. 16). Blogger beware: Teaching with blogs best practices. Presented at the 2009 SLATE Conference, Chicago, IL

Mobile Internet Use Increasing Rapidly

“An April 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows that 56% of adult Americans have accessed the Internet by wireless means, such as using a laptop, mobile device, game console, or MP3 player. The most prevalent way people get online using a wireless network is with a laptop computer; 39% of adults have done this.”

“The report also finds rising levels of Americans using the internet on a mobile handset. One-third of Americans (32%) have used a cell phone or Smartphone to access the Internet for emailing, instant-messaging, or information-seeking. This level of mobile internet is up by one-third since December 2007, when 24% of Americans had ever used the internet on a mobile device. On the typical day, nearly one-fifth (19%) of Americans use the Internet on a mobile device, up substantially from the 11% level recorded in December 2007. That’s a growth of 73% in the 16 month interval between surveys.” . . .

Wireless internet access using other devices, though much less common than with laptops or handhelds, has a foothold among some Americans. The April 2009 survey found that:

  • 45% of adults have iPods or MP3 players and 5% of all adults have used such a device to go online.
  • 41% of adults have game consoles and 9% of adults have used it to access the Internet.
  • 14% of adults have a personal digital assistant (PDA), and 7% of adults have used it for online access.
  • 2% of adults have an e-book (i.e., a Kindle or Sony reader) and 1% of adults have used it to get online.

The complete study is available at http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/12-Wireless-Internet-Use.aspx

What opportunities does an increased access to the Internet on mobile devices afford teaching and learning in higher education? Leave a comment with your ideas!

Feed My Inbox: RSS to Email

While RSS is nearly ubiquitous across the Web today, many people unfortunately are still unfamiliar with how feed readers can save time and be used to stay updated on news from favorite sites. For those who aren’t ready to use a feed reader, they can still reap the benefits of having news from RSS-enabled sites delivered to them via email using a free service like FeedMyInbox.

FeedMyInbox is a very simple service that attempts to bridge the gap between feeds (RSS, XML, Atom) and email. Click here to read more how it works.

I’ve signed my 87 year old grandma up to receive updates from our family blog to her email address using FeedMyInbox. For anyone who isn’t yet ready to make the jump to an RSS reader, give FeedMyInbox a try.

Have you found another RSS to email tool that you recommend? Leave a comment with your suggestion!

Using Forms in Google Docs

Google Docs includes a very easy-to-use forms tool that can be used for simple online surveys or other basic data collection activities. Here’s a quick introduction to using forms in Google Docs:

How might use of the data collection features of the Forms tool in Google Docs be helpful in an education context? Beyond online surveys, what other applications come to mind? When would you not want to use a Google Form? Leave a comment with your ideas!

Strategies for Managing the Online Workload

One of the foremost concerns of online instructors is that teaching online requires more time than the traditional face-to-face classroom setting. The Strategies for Managing the Online Workload (SMOW) video podcast offers a collection of short descriptions, tips, techniques, and methods developed and used by experienced online educators to manage their time more effectively in the online teaching environment. *Note – The free iTunes software is required in order to download and view the video podcast episodes.

Here’s a video introduction to the podcast by Larry Regan, Director of Instructional Design and Development, Penn State University World Campus:

Additional contributions to this collection are welcomed. If you have an idea of how to save time when teaching online, contact Larry Ragan at Penn State University at lcr1@psu.edu for additional information on how to add your idea to this collection.