August 4, 2014

Course Redesign Update: August 4... getting students started with Blogger

Okay, this is getting VERY exciting! All the huge changes to my classes this summer have been triggered by one simple event: no more mini-Ning. Since I have been using the mini-Ning as my "online class space" for the past five years, that meant I needed to find new ways for my students to blog and interact with each other as they had been doing at the Ning. It was easy to choose Blogger as the best option (given that Blogger is a part of my daily online life), and so now I have begun the big task of rewriting my Orientation assignments to take this change into account. Instead of focusing on the Ning in the first week, I need to focus on Blogger, and the very first day of class is about getting a blog up and running, and then adding a post there.

Luckily that is easy to do (Blogger is so simple to use!)... and in order to get off to the right start with how students work with images, I decided to make the first blog post an image post: Favorite Places. So, I've written up the Getting Started with Blogger assignment AND the Favorite Places blog post assignment, which meant I created a sample blog post myself: Week 1: Tucson, Cracow, Berkeley... My Favorite Places.

And here's what's funny: I went to create my post with pictures of Tucson, Cracow and San Francisco, and I wanted to include a close up of a saguaro flower since I just love cactus flowers. When I searched for "saguaro flower" at Flickr, some images came up and the one I knew right would be perfect was this image...

which turned out to be an image contributed to Flickr by none other than Alan Levine... SMALL WORLD. So, there's another OER re-use story for you, Alan: in addition to all the many things I have to thank you for, I can also thank you for the lovely saguaro flower!

Anyway, I am really happy about this assignment. Students will do an Introduction post later in the week, but by focusing just on the use of image(s) in this very first post, that will let me make sure they are feeling confident about working with images, while also letting me get to know something about them (and to get to know something about me too via my post for the assignment). I am soooooooo curious to see what places show up in their blog posts!!!

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