- on the Online Course Lady homepage
- in the first week Storybook Favorites assignment
- on the eStorybook Central homepage
- in the sidebar of eStorybook Central blog posts
- at the complete Myth-Folklore Storybook list
- at the complete Indian Epics Storybook list
- in the sidebar of the daily Class Announcements blog
- in the sidebar of the Writing Laboratory blog
There might even be some other places where the widgets are on display, places I don't even remember... and that is the power of distributed widgets: I don't have to go update the individual places where the widget is embedded. I just update the widget script in one place, and it is automatically updated everywhere.
So, for example, here's the 400-pixel version of the script that features Storybooks from both classes:
As I've mentioned in previous posts, I think randomization is the most powerful tool we have for scaling in online classes, whether small or medium or massive. So, for example, I use random blog groups and random project groups to make sure that there is good student-to-student interaction in class every week, and I built some magic crystal balls to help students as they choose items each week from the Myth-Folklore UnTextbook. Random also works for the archive of student Storybooks. I really want each semester's new students to be aware of past student projects, but just showing them long lists of projects is not effective. So, instead of expecting the students to come to the Storybooks, I bring the Storybooks to the students: the random widgets display a new Storybook each time they visit the class homepage or look at the class announcements, along with each time they visit the class support sites, etc. It's non-stop Storybooks ... one at a time, randomly.
Of course, I never know just what Storybooks will capture their attention, and that's fine: the power of random means they see all kinds of Storybooks and, sooner or later, they are bound to be intrigued enough to click on a link and learn more. That's my hope anyway... and the power of random means that 24 hours a day on all those webpages and all those blog posts, there are wonderful Storybooks waiting to appear by magic, bringing their stories with them.
Random: it really is a superpower! I continue to be baffled that MOOC platforms and LMS software (like the D2L BS used at my school, or our MOOC wannabe platform, Janux) do not make good use of the power of random in order to scale course content and interactions. Random is great: it means we can all get to know each other and we can see all kinds of content all the time ... but just one person or thing at a time, not all at once! Massive stuff, but on a human scale. It works! :-)
(Cartoon by Sumanta Baruah)