I’m hoping to revive SL-NET this spring. I haven’t had time or energy to do much with it the last year because of my mother’s illness and death.
Our first activity for 2009 will be a brown bag discussion on Fri., Jan. 9, at 11:00 a.m. SLT (PST) at my castle. We’ll plan to end at noon.
I thought we could discuss Twitter and other microblogging tools: what they are, how they work, and how they can be used for classes and professional development. If you have other ideas, let me know. We can certainly pick another topic that day.
This semester I taught three second-semester freshman composition classes: one section of ENG 1020 on campus for Metropolitan State College of Denver and two sections of ENG 122, one on campus and one online, for Red Rocks Community College. For the two of these classes that were taught on campus, and the others I taught, I used Wetpaint wikis (linked in the previous sentence) to update course schedules and post assignments. In addition, I created a College Research wiki where I provided information on research and students uploaded reviews of internet research tools.
For the last research journal assignment in the writing classes listed above, the students were asked to “[d]iscuss the usefulness and effectiveness of the internet tools you used in the class: the blog [for a research journal], the Delicious bookmarks, and the wikis.”
In their research journals, students offered the following comments about the wikis:
- “The class wiki helped me stay on top of our assignments and also was very helpful when I happened to have questions about the class.”
- “I believe the Wiki was extrememly helpful for organizing the class, the schedule, and the deadlines. I was able to plan projects based on the posted schedule and also look up information I had forgotten.”
- “I did not like the Wiki so much really confusing for me.”
- “As for the wikis, I liked them. All that I really used them for was to check my assignments. The web address is easy enough to memorize and there is no logging in, making it easy access from anywhere.”
- “I also really enjoyed the class wiki because it was a nice way to always check what home work may be due, or if you missed a class you can see what you missed. If was also a good way for the instructor to not have to worry about problems in changing the syllabus and having to print off new ones. Just post the new information or dates and when someone checks to see it is the most current information and is easy to trust. I do wish and hope that some instructors will adopt this form of class involvement, I used the wiki ALOT this semester.”
- “The class wiki was great too. It was better than having everything planned out in the hard copy syllabus. With so many changes and alterations over the semester in scheduling and deadlines, it was nice to have a location that was updated and easy to look at. (I bet it was nice for you as well Professor Clark, so everyone wasn’t emailing you constantly!)”
- “The college research wiki was helpful for sure but I don’t know that I will continue to use it regularly simply because it wasn’t so helpful that it stood out to me. There are so many ways to research things and some of the researching I did on with this was just so overwhelming. I guess it would depend on what I am looking for and how hard it is to find it.”
- “The college research wiki was useful in the way that it had a lot of different search tools lumped into one. However, some of the websites listed wasn’t much help. They would be too complicated or the information needed to be checked.”
- “The Wikis were also nice, and I found them to be much more efficient and well-organized than say blackboard.”
- “The wiki’s were a great idea I must say. Everything you need and almost any question you need to be answered is right at your fingertips on the wiki sites.”
- “The wikis were the most helpful to me. I would view the ENG 122 wiki every week to check out the course schedule, the research assignment, and find the links to other sites. I think the wikis were probably the most effective tool used this semester. The fact that I actually used them on a regular basis probably helped.”
- “The wiki was very very useful. I wished that other classes of mine used the same method. Whenever I was confused about an assignment I would check the wiki, and did not have that luxury for other classes. I found myself checking the wiki several times a week in order to be sure I knew what was going on in the class.”
To protect their privacy, even though their comments are on their public blogs, I’m not including students’ names.
I will definitely continue using the wikis as I did unless I can find something better. I just need to get around to requesting that the ads be removed since I’m using them for classes.
I plan include comments on the Delicious accounts and blogs in future posts.
Members of SL-NET and other educators using Second Life (SL) have been invited by the Sloan Consortium to participate in planning and developing their two new islands in SL.
The intial meeting is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. SLT on Tues., Aug. 26, on Sloan Consortium 1 in SL.
For more information, go to the main page of SL-NET’s Ning social network.
SL-NET also has a mailing list and a group in SL:
- To join the SL-NET group in Second Life, use the Search function in SL to find the group, and then click on the Join button. There is no cost for joining.
This summer I’m teaching one section of ENG 090, Basic Composition, at Red Rocks Community College. Here’s the description: “ENG 090 emphasizes critical thinking as you explore writing for specific purposes and audiences. The course enables you to develop skills required for college-level writing while reviewing paragraph structure and focusing on essay development.”
I’m planning to use the wiki I created for the spring semester, though I’m considering having a separate one for each class this fall.
I ran across this term hype cycle for the first time in a column, “The XML Strategist,” in the April edition of Intercom, STC‘s magazine. The Gartner’s hype cycle looks like this one from Global PR Blog Week:
When I first saw the image in the column, I started wondering where different technology I use is in the cycle. In the following chart from a Gartner press release, it looks like Web 2.0 was peaking in 2006 and wikis were entering the trough of disillusionment.
In August of 2007, Neville Hobson reported that according to Gartner‘s research chief, Second Life was “moving into a phase of disillusionment.”
This semester, I’ve been using Wetpaint and PBwikis for my classes, and I have two Wikispaces wikis that I’m using for other professional endeavors. I decided it was time to compare and contrast them:
||Red Rocks Classes
|4R x T
Professional services available for fee
|Free for basic services
$99.50/yr for silver plan
$249.50/yr for gold plan
$999.50/yr for platinum plan
Charge per user per month for businesses
|Free for basic services
$5/mo or $50/yr for plus
$20/mo or $200/yr for super
$100/mo or $1000/yr for private label
||Removed upon request for educational wikis
||None for educational wikis
||Ads on free wikis
||24 styles available
||5 skins available
||4 themes available, which may be customized but knowledge of HTML and CSS required
Pages can be moved easily
|Must be created
||Must be created
Not all editing features work well in navigation bar (for example, bullets, bold, code)
Spellcheck Works very well
AttachmentsFinicky, especially links in table
|Bold, italics, underlining
Font color and style (one button)
CodeText and visual editors floating at top of monitor, preview option, finicky
Other (works for Box.net and Slideshare)
- Plan an event
- Any Google Gadget
- Address link
- Stock chart
- Recent Changes
- Recent Visitors
- Table of Contents
- # of visitors
Video, including YouTube
|Wikispaces applications (TOC, RSS, tag cloud, etc.)
Chat and IM
||Attachments: limit of 40, each no larger than 2 MB (80 MB)
||10 MB for free account
1 GB for silver
2 GB for gold
5 GB for platinum
|2 GB for free account
2 GB for plus
5 GB for super
40 GB for private label
||HTML to a zip file
||Windows .zip and Unix .tgz
Backup and export as HTML
Individual profile pages
Internal message system
|PBwiki 2.0 transition
RSS and Atom feeds
Traffic and statistics
I really like Wetpaint the best, primarily because of the following:
automatically generated navigation bar
social networking features
widgets for the services I use (like SlideShare)
The primary disadvantage is the limited amount of file storage (attachments). However, that’s easily overcome by embedding or linking to Box.net folders.
Now if I could just find a WordPress theme that would single space the text and allow for a wider column of text.
Fri., Apr. 4
12:00 noon PDT
Floria’s Castle (IM Floria Beaumont for a TP.)
We can discuss different course management systems or how to adapt a traditional course to an online or blended format.