Monthly Archives: April 2014

Exciting Opportunity


This past Thursday my college had a faculty in-service day. While most of the day was filled with pointless meetings, our two break-out sessions (taught by various faculty members) were wonderful. The first one helped me understand the tenure portfolio and process much better. The second I learned about an exciting opportunity I have for creating a course. All of the students at our community college are required to take a IDS capstone course. It is a 1 credit course, and it provides them a chance to synthesize the various skills they have learned across multiple disciplines. In addition, it provides the college an opportunity to assess their learning and their writing through the culminating essay. (This essay is not graded by the faculty member teaching that course; instead, it is graded by a collaborative group of faculty that convene each semester for this purpose.)

So the opportunity…the capstone course is meant to be engaging and relevant, and therefore the focus of the course can be anything really. Faculty members create their own version of the course and submit a proposal for it. The main requirements are that the course meets 3 of 7 college-wide learning outcomes and includes at least one learning outcome from at least three different clusters (kind of like departments). I had heard of this course before this in-service day, and during this semester, started formulating an idea of what I would like to do with the course, partly based on things I have learned in my Computers and Composition class. However, I had no idea the logistics of the course or how to proceed. Now, I know that, and having attended, I have additional ideas of what to focus on in my course.

My idea for the course is “Using Social Media Professionally” or “Using Social Media to Create a Professional Image & Network.” I’m still working on the exact title, but that is the gist of it. Usually most people have the courses last five weeks, which I will propose as well. Some are offered F2F; some are online; others are hybrids. I hope to make my version a hybrid course. Each week we will focus on a different aspect of social media and how it can be used to create a professional persona. The first week we will focus on the overall notion that social media can be beneficial for work-related reasons and not just socially. The main social media sites I will focus on in this course are Twitter, WordPress, Diigo, LinkedIn, Google (Profile, sites, plus), and maybe Facebook.

So this week I will complete the paperwork for this course proposal, and hope that I can still get it added to the Fall schedule. I might be too late for that. If so, I hope it is approved for Spring. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Videos in the Classroom

I wrote a post a couple months ago about creating videos for your class using well-known programs such as Camtasia or Jing. An even easier idea though is using videos already created by others to enhance your lesson, content, or classroom. One of the most frequent video sites I use in my classroom is YouTube. Just in the last four to five years, YouTube has progressed from being a site where people upload funny videos of their kids or pets to a valuable resource where one can find videos with tutorials and lessons (as well as funny clips of course). Honestly, almost every topic I have ever covered in class, I have been able to search YouTube and find a video relevant to my lesson or discussion.

Since we are teaching in the Digital Age, it is relevant to incorporate multimedia presentations in our lessons, which is what most educational YouTube videos provide. In addition, today’s students relate to videos, and if students can relate and connect to the information, then they are more likely to remember it. Furthermore, in the last two to three years, I have discovered many textbook authors or publishers are uploading videos to YouTube to offer additional resources related to their textbook. If you want more ideas of how to incorporate YouTube into your classroom, check out this blog post by Edudemic.

I will leave you with this YouTube video offering ideas for using YouTube in the classroom:

Social Bookmarking

Have you heard of Delicious or Diigo? If so, then you are probably familiar with social bookmarking. If not, then this video should help you understand the concept better:

I first learned about social bookmarking in a library class I took in 2012. Here is the review I wrote back then comparing these two social bookmarking sites:

I love that both sites provide a way to bookmark your favorite sites that you can access from anywhere. Also, I like that you can follow other people’s bookmarkings, which can make easier to find new great websites and information. Each bookmarking site had some pros and cons in my opinion. For Delicious, I enjoyed that the layout was clean and simple, especially if you used the stacks. I also liked that it seemed to be free of ads. However, it seemed to be missing many features that I really enjoyed in Diigo. I was impressed how Diigo had a toolbar that allowed you easy access to bookmark, highlight, and even capture part of the webpage. Perhaps, Delicious had this and I missed it. Another feature of Diigo that I enjoyed was the “groups” feature. I noticed Delicious had a “feeds” feature, but I had trouble figuring out how to use it. The Diigo group feature was easy to use and the one group I selected “teacher-librarians” had many amazing sites already bookmarked. Also, it seemed Diigo was more school and education focused when I did general searches for library and technology related things. As a whole, both of these sites are great, but I do prefer Diigo for now.

Now, I must confess I have not used either of these sites since that class; however, the classes I am presently taking, I am reminded again how useful these social bookmarking sites can be. During this semester, I did research online for both classes. Many times I emailed myself links, when in fact, I should have been using my Delicious or Diigo account. Now that I have rediscovered my accounts I plan on using myself in future courses. In addition, I want to explore the idea of teaching my students to use these sites when doing research. Hopefully after doing that they will see how beneficial these sites can be and use them for other reasons as well.

If you have never used a social bookmarking site before, I suggest trying it out. It will give you access to your favorites no matter what computer or device you are using. If you have used these before, I would love to hear what you like or dislike about them, as well as ideas of how to use them with students.