Teaching

The New iPod … Are We There Yet?

I haven’t really been spending much time writing about stuff Apple releases … tons of other people do that — and do it much better than I. At any rate, I listened like everyone else to Steve telling us over and over again that we didn’t want a video capable iPod … then, he told us we did need one and gave us one — all in the same day.

I have to say that now that I see it, I am impressed with it. You can go read all the tech specs yourself, but what is really important here is that opens another set of opportunities for teaching and learning. I have said it before that you cannot walk across campus and not see every other student with white ear buds. Granted these aren’t yet video iPods, but it won’t be long. When that starts to happen, I can go from podcaster to videocaster and actually show my students a thing or two. On the flip side, they can do the same. By using the class blog, RSS enclosures, a video assignment, and a subscription I can now auto receive their work, watch it while I walk (or eat lunch, or whatever), and use the rating system to grade it. I do like it.

I can see this having a potential impact on hybrid/blended class and pure distance education classes … shipping assignments via a cross platform application like iTUnes (or a web site) and allowing students to download portable lessons on the fly. I don’t know about you, but I have seen very slcik Keynote presentation that have been turned into killer voice-overed QuickTime files that do a great job of teaching. I know there are things like Breeze out there, but the ability to quickly produce a learning experience that is filled with video, audio, and stills is interesting. It is actually getting close to the enclosure bundle concept. At any rate, here is hoping there is some killer context for the next great thing. BTW, I need one.

Sloan Semester, Part II

I am scheduled to teach IST 110 during a special eight-week semester under the Sloan Semester project. I am one of two faculty at PSU who have come forward to teach courses so far. I am very happy we are participating … you can’t imagine the administrative overhead it seemed to cause. At any rate, being a part of it makes me proud. Also making me proud is that my alma mater, West Virginia University, is also participating. It looks like they are offering something like 15 courses. Good work WVU! I received what I believed to be a world-class education at WVU and it makes me so happy to see that there will be opportunities for others to experience that.

BTW, since I am teaching a special section of IST 110 (if anyone registers), I’ll want to try some different things. One thing I know I will focus attention on is how recovery efforts were bolstered by so many web 2.0 technologies — flickr, wikis, google maps, etc. While FEMA and other Federal responses were crawling around trying to figure out what to do, so many people jumped in and used information technology to help. I am sure focusing web 2.0 on that context will yield some amazing student perspectives. As always, I will share those and will encourage you all to join the conversation. I’ll keep you posted.

The EDU Bar Talk Podcast

I’ve been doing podcasts for quite some time … I had a podcast called From the Basement for close to 8 months last year … it was myself and several guys from the Solutions Institute sitting around having a few drinks talking about various items. It just got out of hand, so we sort of disbanded.

This week I got some very smart people from PSU together to sit down and try again. This time we went to the Nittany Lion Inn, setup our gear, and did a way too long podcast. It is about education, technology, beer, life, you name it … it is long, but you might find some of it interesting. Check it out! It features Cole Camplese, Chris Millet, Kyle Peck, and Brian Smith.

This first one was really a dry run and more to show the participants how easy it is to get lost in beer and talk. Great fun and we are working on a format that will really be great. For now, we are calling it the EDU Bar Talk podcast … sort of a rip off of the great Car Talk radio show. At any rate, go ahead and have a listen. We will probably be moving it to its own server soon, but for now jump over to the old FTB site and check it out.

First Day of Class

Last night was the first day of class … we actually did a ton of stuff for the first day thing. I am sorry my posts have been few and far between — and completely focused on the course, but I have been working at trying some very different things this semester, so its been like designing a course from the ground up.

At any rate, the students all did hands on stuff — we got bloglines accounts, setup del.icio.us accounts for everyone (decided on a class tag), and they got into the blogs@110 and posted their first post. We went over how to subscribe to feeds and how to create custom ones in the blogs … I think a good majority got it and may even use some of this stuff all semester. I’ll be posting thoughts about the course and the progress here from time to time … I will also try to get back to writing about other stuff on a regular basis, but for now I will be posting over at the blogs@110.

Working on the Course

After a little drama over my classroom was taken care of, I have been spending some time getting my course site setup. I am calling the space, the Blogs@110 … not sure what else to call it. Right now I have a basic shell of stuff put together and all my students have accounts (even if they don’t know it yet). Given the fact class actually starts Tuesday at 6 PM, I need toget the rest hammered out. Yikes. At any rate, the site is up and running, so go take a look … Oh, and let me know what you think.

Social Bookmarking … In Courseware?

I was spending some time with one of my colleagues here today, Bill Rose, discussing social bookmarking. He hadn’t heard of the concept and we were just discussing the basics … I showed him how de.licio.us works and he got excited … we kept talking and we started to wonder if we could really put it into place for our Online IST courses. If we could add an open source social bookmarking tool (know any good ones?) as service within our Edison Services toolset and let students click a simple “remember this” link on any page of a course and bookmark it. From there, they could do the simple tagging that goes along with this stuff — that makes sense to them. That could lead to all sorts of good things — shared resources, note-taking capabilities, and so much more.

After doing some quick google work I did find one open source tool, de.lirio.us based on the Rubric framework. I can’t figure out how to get it running, but when Millet gets back from the Gathering of the Vibes festival his non-profit, helpingmusic.org is assisting with this will be sitting on his plate. Does anyone out there have any ideas on how we could make this work? And any good ideas for lessons built around a semester long tagging exercise? One thing I was thinking at the minimum was having all my students this fall get an account and tag resources with the course number (110) and do weekly peer reviews of each other’s links. Just some thoughts I didn’t want to misplace. Any other ideas or pointers for me?

Update: I got an open source tool, scuttle running. Take a look, create, an account, and drop a few bookmarks (with tags) in so I can see how this will play out. Jump over. Thanks!

The Enclosure Bundle

I may have written about this in the past, but I thought it was timely after just reading a nice piece called the Podcast Theory Gap by Susan Smith Nash … it got me thinking again about podcasting and what I will be doing this fall. I also just listened to Lessig’s Free Culture talk from OSCON 2002 again and re-realized how powerful well designed mixed-media (dare I say multimedia?) pieces can be if done well.

What I am planning to do is create a series of Enclosure Bundles throughout the semester. The concept of the bundle is to place an audio file, a PDF of a case, some slides, an assignment, and other items into a package, zip it up and deliver it via RSS. The pieces will add up to some sort of educational experience that I am hoping will provide some level of educational value. My students last fall weren’t really into the podcast thing (here is a link to when I introduced it to them), but I have a feeling if I can bring some more depth to my enclosures, they will enjoy them. Hey, they might even learn something. Has anyone been doing this?