Monday, August 30, 2010

5 Strategies for Using Wikis in the Classroom: Engaging Students in Technology Projects that Support Learning

Educators are constantly seeking new strategies for using Wikis in the classroom. This is especially true for teachers who have formulated some ideas; however, they are still looking for additional ideas. Even teachers who have been using this technology for quite some time are on the lookout for new ideas. Regardless of being new to Wiki or a veteran, new strategies and techniques for engaging students are just around the corner.

Wikis are one of the easiest Web 2.0 applications on the Internet to use, no downloading of software required and works just like a word processing program. The use of this technological tool has grown tremendously in the past years with more than 180,000 in classroom use today (Wikispaces for Educators Website, June 2009). They are free for educators, advertisement free, and have controlled access to ensure student information remains private.

Read more at Suite101: 5 Strategies for Using Wikis in the Classroom: Engaging Students in Technology Projects that Support Learning

5 Strategies for Using Wikis in the Classroom: Engaging Students in Technology Projects that Support Learning

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Administering Blogs

To administer a blog [huh?  what’s a blog?  [see this video] in Blackboard [see annotated PDF on Blogs in Blackboard User Manual] choose BLOG from the *Interactive Tool* option.  You can also access it from the *TOOLS* menu.
You can either select an existing blog or create a new one.b1.jpg
Set the blog options to make the blog available for students.
Once the blogs are administered, (don’t forget the assignment sheet which explains what you want them to do and potentially a rubric to explain the grading procedures), you will be able to see all of the blogs and even given prompts when new student entries are made.

You will be able to respond to blog entries individually and then assign a grade once the project is  complete.
So, now you know the technical side of blogs, check out Educause’s “7 Things you Should Know about Blogs” for more information.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Administering Wikis

In addition to blogs, Blackboard also introduced Wikis (huh, what’s a wiki?) for classroom use.  For more information on wikis, check out Educause’s “7 Things You should know about Collaborative Editing”.
Choose WIKI from the *Interactive Tool* option.  You can also access it from the *TOOLS* menu.
Similar to blogs, you can choose from an existing wiki, or create a new one.
Be sure to accurately set the wiki options. 
Students must be given guidance on setting up the wiki.
 Once entries have been made, you will see progress via the PARTICIPATION AND GRADING option.
You can view each student’s effort via this dialog box. w6.jpg

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Top 10 Learning Technology Tools

Just listed my top learning tech tools for the Emerging List of Top 100 Tools for Learning 2010 survey done by the wondrously fabulous Jane Hart [see her site]. 
[not in any order]
  1. Slideshare – Like YouTube or Flickr, but for PPT presentations
  2. Mywebspiration – powerful concept mapping tool
  3. Diigo – social bookmarking with cool sharing features
  4. Prezi– non-linear PPT…you gotta see it to understand.
  5. Google Reader – keep track of blogs
  6. Jing – record screencasts and archive them online
  7. scribd – Share documents online
  8. a.nnotate – Annotate documents and files and share them online
  9. Google docs – Edit and create documents via the web… who needs MS Office?
  10. Evernote --  An online notebook which has mobile apps to keep you connected from anywhere
If you would like to contribute to the list, click here.
See below for the 2009 list:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blackboard 9.1 comes to UDC

Go to to access the site
Blackboard 9.1 is HERE.  While not a total redesign, the latest version [see What's New] of the Learning Management system allows faculty an opportunity to interact with students in new ways.  

Many of the Web 2.0 tools which have existed outside of academia are now embedded within the Blackboard.  Blogs, wikis, journals, and electronic portfolios are just a few of the enhancements to the new system.

Click here for an annotated version of the Blackboard user's guide which has quick links to many of the new features.

Picture 26.png
The far right tab (top right) allows you to register for workshops
The Center for Academic Technology  is conducting workshops to familiarize faculty with the new features.

You can register by going to the Blackboard site and clicking on the **Training** Tab.  Seats are limited, so be sure to register soon.

Over the summer, the LRD webpage was revamped to include many new informational resources. Check it out at:

Also, the Center for Academic Technology's webage contains quite a few resources related to Blackboard.  Click on the "Online Learning" tab to access the documents.  Below is a copy of the Frequently Asked Questions page from the website:

Stay tuned to this space for more Blackboard and learning technology information . . . we'd love to hear your comments as well!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Creating Content in Blackboard

[To view the Blackboard User Manual on this topic, click here]
Blackboard has streamlined the process for creating content.  Pages which allow content creation will have the following tabs.  This post will show the contents of each tab.

Build Content

This tab is primarily for content YOU will provide.  Creating an item or file allows you to create text items (you can also upload attachments) or simply upload a file (using the file option).  This is primarily where you would post your syllabus or post other files for general consumption by students.
Be sure to categorize items efficiently, if you are going to be posting weekly readings or course notes, make a folder first, and then put the items into the folder.  Try to avoid randomly placing files in Blackboard, it confuses the students and ultimately will confuse you as well.c2.jpg

Create Assessment

c3.jpgIn addition to test and surveys (ungraded tests), the Self and Peer Assessment option is available as well as SafeAssign.
The Assignment utility is where you would set up assignments which require something to be submitted or tracked.

Interactive Tools


These tools allow you to actively engage students online.  If you don’t fully understand a tool, it’s probably best not to employ it in class until you do.  Keep an eye out for upcoming workshops in these areas.