Teaching Effectively Online - Discussion area.

Those in the "Teaching Effectively Online" class have been asked to leave a message here, to show they arrived.  Please give your thoughts on your candid reaction to this Ning, and the Ning resources you've explored in the lesson. (I've attached an optional 2 page reading, which was recently posted via our class listserv. "Potlatch is coming back.") 


Those in the "Social Media for Educators" class are invited to interact here as well. We're all educators and informality rules!




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I have used a Ning with one other class and have  found it easy to upload photos and make comments. In exploring some of the Ning websites, I did sign up for English Companion and Classroom2.0. I wish there was one sign in so you didn’t have to keep duplicating the info for each Ning.

Classroom 2.0 does seem like a very busy site, but I am going to look at the English and history resources. One of the best things about Nings is that the discussions are divided into so many areas and you can find a discussion group that is right for you.

After exploring the Classroom 20 ning, I felt it was too busy.  It was hard to find what I was looking for and I felt visually over-stimulated.

I really appreciate the layout and organization of this Ning.  It is very easy to navigate....very intuitive.  It also appears to be very easy to add content to.

I have been in classes before that use a ning.  As a tool, I find that they offer many options for participant contribution.  It is nice to be able to upload a variety of content as well as have the opportunity to participate in class discussions.

I found Ning to be easy to navigate through.  It made me think of how I could use this in my teaching.  I have forums built into each class but this would add so much more and it is easy enough to use that the students would participate in discussions and make the class that much better for all the students.  The problem i would have would be having to pay for the site.  I would search to find a free version that does the same stuff.

This is the second Ning group I belong to. The first is the proposed DR. program EDL at UAA. I think this site is effective. I like Edmodo social network for teachers better. www.edmodo.com

My initial candid reaction...I like Ning. I think it is easy to use and to navigate, yet also has numerous applications included within it. That is an important characteristic of a collaborative tool of this nature, because the technological skill set of members will undoubtedly vary while the desired outcomes and uses of the tool can still be complex.

This Ning is put together well and is easy to navigate. As we are looking for the best format in which to create online classes I see definite advantages and may consider how to create the class from a site like this.

I found the video A Few Minutes In The Life Of A Sign Language Interpreter, The Class... humorous. I worked with a hearing impaired student for 1.5 years who was late in receiving a coclear implant. He was catching up on learning language in general, but the ways in which you would see adults and teachers interact with him at times just amazed me. Luckily this student had a good sense of humor.

This is the first exposure I have had to social networking. My wife and kids keep me up to date with facebook through their accounts, I’ve been just an onlooker. I can see where this type of tool can be very useful in fostering discussion amongst students. Whether its building camaraderie, discussing  problems, sharing insight or asking questions, Ning (or its many counterparts) could be very valuable. I think a weekly visit to a site like this would really be helpful. But I also see the need to keep things directed and focused in order to avoid wanderings and ramblings.

With regards to the potlatch article, there is nothing like shared meals to foster community building. I’ve seen it with communities, schools, churches, teams, staff meetings…  something about potlatches bring people together. Sadly, I’ve seen a recent hesitancy from some to join in on these activities, though. Maybe a personal concern about food preparation… I don’t know. I LOVE ‘em!

So far I really like the format and the ease of use! 

I am really impressed with Ning.  I like the layout because it is user friendly and easy to navigate.  The features allow several ways for groups to discuss and share ideas.  I feel the Ning layout is similar to Facebook and Twitter which makes it exciting for students because many social networking sites are blocked at schools.  Ning gives educators a safe exciting place for students to share learning.  


I dropped out of the class from about July til now, but I'm back and ready to get the second half completed.

Gwendolyn Hill said:

Not sure how to compare this to other social networks.  The only other social network is use is FB and it is pretty much a world of its own.  I like that this is a space to interact on a topic/theme I am so fond of but so far I feel like I am just floating out there in cyberspace.  Not much interaction for me yet.  No friends.  Do others even see my posts if they are not friends?  I guess it is probably up to me to initiate friend requests.  Maybe this weekend I'll deal with that.  I know also this is a hugely busy time of year for teachers--report cards, etc.  So that could be why there are so few posts from anyone right now. 

This Ning seems to be a nice resource for a contained group collaboration/social interaction.

At this time I am thinking if and how the implementation of this tool would be a positive add-on to my courses. Somehow it reminds me of Edmodo, and other social media tools and sometimes I feel that I am keep hoping from one tool to the newest, not always with a purpose beyond the the fact that it's a newer tool.

Sooo... although this seems to be a cute tool, I will think about it, if I do really want to use it or not at this time :)


Lesson 4 - Reflections

The topic of this lesson is very relevant to me, being an online teacher, because of the important role of the interaction in the increasing engagement and consequently positive outcome of an online class. I have been reading several academic articles lately on this topic, and every time there is the strong emphasis on the importance of the connection felt by students with their instructor. At first I was really surprised because I thought that the connection should have been directly with the subject studied, but I was wrong!

I have looked at the presentation of  "Chinese Pod" and it sounds interesting. I will definitely check it out and see what the "free subscription" entails. I am mainly interested in seeing the structure of their course and the types of activities and assessment program used.

In my case I am a "one (wo)man show" in the creation of my courses, creating content, assessment, graphics, animation, and so forth.... and I am always eager to learn more from experts in all these fields.

While I was watching the promotional video though I was thinking about two topics of reflection:

  1. Is this tool promoting learning or acquisition of a language?
    This is not a semantic distinction, but a substantial difference in the outcome on the long term. An important strategy for the promotion of acquisition of a second language, is reading, and I am not sure how much of this is offered by this program.
  2. This tool appears to be offering an "independent learning experience", but I am not sure about the assessment program, how it works and who is in charge of it... would a learner become connected with an instructor at some point?

Anyway, there is curiosity about this new tool for sure, but a little of skepticism as well :)



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