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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Course Redesign Update: July 9 - The Crystal Ball

One of the things I've been pondering with my new "un-textbook" is how students will choose from the MANY choices they have for reading each week. In the past, I had just two options each week... and students were often undecided, so I had written a little javascript called "let the fates decide" which just popped up a text message at random ("The Fates say India!" or "The Fates say Japan!"). I know the students really liked that and actually would use it to make their choice. And hey, I believe in random, so that's cool.

So, now the question is: how to keep that element of random while at the same time promoting some active selection amongst the many available options each week...? I need a new randomizer that integrates the idea of random while ALSO providing information that the students can quickly access to see if they want to go with the random suggestion or not (hopefully they will want to investigate at least a little bit, ha ha).

You can see the solution I'm considering below: a crystal ball. I found a public domain crystal ball, used Cheezburger to create the specific messages (yes, I am a doofus; that is how pathetic I am at graphics editing... I use Cheezburger, ha ha), and then used RotateContent.com (the genius javascript creation tool built by Randy Hoyt) to make the crystal ball randomizer. Then I put that in a blog post and added links so that the students who, hopefully, don't put ALL their faith in the crystal ball can learn something about the reading options.

That sounds like a lot of work, but it wasn't. Maybe 10 minutes, although I will need to do 12 of these scripts for it to be all ready to go. I'm going to sit on this for a little bit, though, and ponder just to make sure this looks good to me before I make the other scripts.

Anyway, I was glad it was easy to do. I know the students liked the Fates in the old version of the class, so hopefully they will be fans of the crystal ball. :-)




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