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(Not ruled out: my god-awful teaching.) </p> Julie Meloni on "Classroom time allocation" Wed, 29 Sep 2010 13:18:55 +0000 Julie Meloni 195@ <p><em>Replying to @<a href=''>jbj</a>'s <a href="">post</a>:</em></p> <p>It's interesting that you find your students significantly more challenged in those areas. I should have noted that I've done this at three different universities, each with vastly different student populations but none that I would consider experts...on a scale of 1 to 10 of familiarity with blogs, posts, commenting, or setting up software I'd probably peg the students at about a 3 (1 being my grandma and 10 being me). I wouldn't have thought your students all that different than mine, is all. </p> jbj on "Classroom time allocation" Wed, 29 Sep 2010 13:04:30 +0000 jbj 190@ <p>I've found that once I started providing short screencasts (usually with <a href="">Screenr</a>) of basic tasks, I got significantly fewer basic questions. So, like others, I'd provide a quick overview in class, a text-based set of instructions/expectations about the assignment, and a link to the video. Just an added security blanket.</p> <p>I will say that my students are significantly more challenged by things like blog setup and commenting than Stéfan, Julie, and Meagan's. </p> Meagan Timney on "Classroom time allocation" Tue, 28 Sep 2010 22:12:26 +0000 Meagan Timney 183@ <p>I agree with Stéfan and Julie. I'm also teaching using blogs this year (using Julie's model), and the students seem capable of setting up a blog, learning to comment, etc., without too much trouble. Those who need help ask for it, in my experience. And the ones who don't seem grateful for the autonomy. Even my least tech savvy undergrads have had good experiences setting up their blogs using WP documentation and the "Getting Started with your Blog" handout. Inevitably a few of them will lose a blog post because they forget to save it, which is always a good lesson about redundancy and backups. I definitely take a hands-off approach to teaching new technologies, unless, as Julie says, the point is to evaluate new tools and rip them apart to then make them better. </p> Stéfan Sinclair on "Classroom time allocation" Fri, 24 Sep 2010 15:58:04 +0000 Stéfan Sinclair 165@ <p>For reasons I won't go into here, I started creating self-guided tutorial modules with detailed explanations and some exercises. I thought students would benefit from having me teach the stuff rather than learn it on their own, but it turns out that the self-guided tutorials worked very well and allowed me to use class time for talking more about how to use the technologies and techniques covered. </p> Patrick Murray-John on "Classroom time allocation" Fri, 24 Sep 2010 15:53:28 +0000 Patrick Murray-John 164@ <p>I often find that it's easy to get hung up on anxiety about needing to teach the technology. Instead, a few low-stress tasks (write a post, include video) and just giving them support to experiment and freedom to mess up as they get acclimated to the technology works pretty well. The more students smell a teacher's anxiety about technology, the more anxious they will be about it, and the more difficult it will be for them to learn it. So, I tend to go with a 'full speed ahead / damn the torpedoes' approach, with a heavy dose of reassuring students that they are not being graded on their skills with the technology. That often helps ease their worries enough for them to dive in with confidence and learn it without taking up much class time at all. </p> Julie Meloni on "Classroom time allocation" Fri, 24 Sep 2010 13:31:26 +0000 Julie Meloni 150@ <p>Agree that technology should be taught in the context of whatever else you're teaching (and, just to hammer that point home, <em>I would never teach technology just for the sake of teaching technology</em> unless it is, say, specifically a class about evaluating new tools and ripping them apart to then make them better). I'll answer this question in terms of my basic use of technology in the classroom, which is having students blog throughout the semester. All I care about in their blogs is that they write posts related to the prompts, and that they comment on each others' blogs. It doesn't matter to me what it looks like. </p> <p>So, to that end, I spend approximately 15 minutes one day "teaching" about how to work with blogs. Throughout the course I will integrate content from their blogs into the lectures/discussions, but we don't otherwise talk about the technology in this literature class.</p> <p>On Day 1, students get a handout that includes this text:</p> <blockquote><p> <strong>Getting Started With Your Blog</strong></p> <p>You have several options when it comes to setting up a (FREE!) blog for use in this class. If you already have a blog, that’s fine too, as long as we can tell which posts belong to this class. First I’ll go through some of the options for obtaining a blog, and then I will describe the “Blog Assignment 0” due before 5pm on [end of first week]</p> <p>If you already have a blog…</p> <p>You don’t have to change a thing unless you want to. Just make sure your blog posts for [this class] either have [class name] or something similar in the title, or are in a [class name] category for easy access.</p> <p>If you do not have a blog and you DO NOT have your own web site…<br /> [This is by far the most common situation.]</p> <p>I recommend creating a blog at either or If you go to either site, look on the right side of the page for a big orange button that says “Create a Blog” (for Blogger) or “Sign up now” (for WordPress).</p> <p>Fill out the forms completely and just follow the instructions. It should take all of 5 minutes. You will spend the most time trying to figure out what to name your blog.</p> <p>If you do not have a blog but you DO have your own web site…</p> <p>Your hosting provider may have an automatic WordPress installation wizard in your control panel (if you have one). Check it out and give it a try!</p> <p>If you don’t have a control panel but you want to install WordPress, go to and download the installation file and follow the instructions. </p> <p>If none of these options interest you (and if they do, I can help you if you get stuck), you can just use blog hosted elsewhere, but it seems like a waste since you have your own spiffy domain!</p> <p>REALLY BIG NOTE: I will absolutely help you with any of the steps above (or below), but I urge you to try things on your own first. For what “try on your own” means, take a gander at this blog post (specifically the bullet pints at the end) that I wrote in March 2009, called “Asking Questions the Smart Way” at <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> </p> <p>Assignment 0 (aka "2 free points for doing what you're supposed to do anyway")</p> <p>Due: sometime before 5pm on [end of first week] (the sooner, the better)</p> <p>Your Tasks:<br /> 1.Set up your blog and create a basic first post.<br /> In the administrative interface to your blog, there will be a visible link either to a button that says “New Post” (Blogger) or a link to “Posts -&gt; Add New” (WordPress). </p> <p>Don’t forget to give your post a good title. “Post #1” is not a good title (just like “Essay #1” or “Response” aren’t good titles for papers you’d turn in.)</p> <p>Introduce yourself to the class. You can do this any way you’d like, and in as few words or as many words as you’d like. Feel free to use images or links to music or video. Remember that first impressions mean a lot to a community, and this is your first impression on all of us, so really be yourself. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with the class.</p> <p>2.Send the URL of your blog to <a href=""></a>. The URL to your blog is your blog's web address, or the thing in your browser's address bar that starts with http:// (for example, <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> is the URL for the course blog). </p></blockquote> <p>That's it. If I get questions privately, it's maybe 2 or 3 people, so out of a class of 30, I would have spent time I didn't have to going over technology things. It's not that the other 28 students knew everything, but they were able to follow the instructions and fiddle around to a reasonable extent and complete the assignment. I've not had an issue with student buy-in (any different than student buy-in (or not) of any work in any class).</p> <p>So, I think my approach with regards to this bit of technology went through (at one point) Vika's questions-to-herself: "is this a good time investment? Will it save them time/effort in the long run? Will it enable them to do things they can't otherwise do?" and I combined that with what I wanted them to learn about learning about technology out of context (e.g. in a literature class, not a tech class).</p> <p>I also approached the use of Google Docs in a Freshman Comp class similarly, with outstanding results, so maybe it's a case of being able to read students and the situation and deciding on the fly what will work and what won't. Requires a good understanding of technology <em>and</em> pedagogy, I think. </p> Vika Zafrin on "Classroom time allocation" Wed, 22 Sep 2010 13:31:19 +0000 Vika Zafrin 118@ <p>I think the biggest thing for me has been, use of technology needs to be taught in the context of whatever else you're teaching, such that it's directly applicable by the students. In other words, I teach them tools that will directly, right now, help them do their academic work. </p> <p>As for class time: my primary question to myself is, is this a good time investment? Will it save them time/effort in the long run? Will it enable them to do things they can't otherwise do? If so, then it's worth teaching. I've also found it useful to state the investment bit upfront: students seem more willing to put in the effort. </p> PhDeviate on "Classroom time allocation" Tue, 21 Sep 2010 22:07:00 +0000 PhDeviate 103@ <p>How do we decide to allocate our limited classroom time resources when introducing students to new technology? 100% of my students this semester had never interacted (to their knowledge) with a WordPress blog, and I've already had to up my estimate of how long it would take them to get comfortable with the various ways I'm requiring that they interact with WordPress. When does a class "tip over" into being a class <strong>about</strong> technology as opposed to a class about something else that uses technology? </p>