Skip to main content

Learning Web 2.0

My students are not as tech-savvy as I assumed. No only are they not on the bleeding edge of technology, they suffer from the standard inattention that all students have.

Online courses aren't as forgiving as "traditional" courses, which means the normal problems students have become more serious. For example, not reading an assignment calendar in a "physical" classroom can result in a late paper, but the student generally has several ways to at least get partial credit. Online, my course accepts late papers for two days... and that's it. Done. The paper is no longer merely late -- it is a zero.

In a traditional class, my reminders would be verbal. Online, they are "announcements" that most students don't seem to read. Reminding students to check the calendar doesn't seem to take hold. Assignments are missed anyway.

The online system requires Java for some features. When a student was having problems uploading files, she waited to tell me until after the assignment was late. If students worked ahead (I can dream), then this problem would have been solved in advance. But, most students procrastinate. Online, if something goes wrong, that's a much bigger problem.

I have done what I can to help students be more aware of how the system works, what the deadlines are, and where to locate supplemental materials. As my wife reminds me, there is only so much I can do.

No wonder students struggle online — you do need more initiative and discipline. It's a tough lesson for some students. We'll have to see how the zero grades influence the class.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Slowly Rebooting in 286 Mode

The lumbar radiculopathy, which sounds too much like "ridiculously" for me, hasn't faded completely. My left leg still cramps, tingles, and hurts with sharp pains. My mind remains cloudy, too, even as I stop taking painkillers for the back pain and a recent surgery.

Efforts to reboot and get back on track intellectually, physically, and emotionally are off to a slow, grinding start. It reminds me of an old 80286 PC, the infamously confused Intel CPU that wasn't sure what it was meant to be. And this was before the "SX" fiascos, which wedded 32-bit CPU cores with 16-bit connections. The 80286 was supposed to be able to multitask, but design flaws resulted in a first-generation that was useless to operating system vendors.

My back, my knees, my ankles are each making noises like those old computers.

If I haven't already lost you as a reader, the basic problem is that my mind cannot focus on one task for long without exhaustion and multitasking seems…

MarsEdit and Blogging

MarsEdit (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Mailing posts to blogs, a practice I adopted in 2005, allows a blogger like me to store copies of draft posts within email. If Blogger, WordPress, or the blogging platform of the moment crashes or for some other reason eats my posts, at least I have the original drafts of most entries. I find having such a nicely organized archive convenient — much easier than remembering to archive posts from Blogger or WordPress to my computer.

With this post, I am testing MarsEdit from Red Sweater Software based on recent reviews, including an overview on 9to5Mac.

Composing posts an email offers a fast way to prepare draft blogs, but the email does not always work well if you want to include basic formatting, images, and links to online resources. Submitting to Blogger via Apple Mail often produced complex HTML with unnecessary font and paragraph formatting styles. Problems with rich text led me to convert blog entries to plaintext in Apple Mail and then format th…

Screenwriting Applications

Screenplay sample, showing dialogue and action descriptions. "O.S."=off screen. Written in Final Draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A lot of students and aspiring writers ask me if you "must" use Final Draft or Screenwriter to write a screenplay. No. Absolutely not, unless you are working on a production. In which case, they own or your earn enough for Final Draft or Screenwriter and whatever budget/scheduling apps the production team uses.

I have to say, after trying WriterDuet I would use it in a heartbeat for a small production company and definitely for any non-profit, educational projects. No question. The only reason not to use it is that you must have the exclusive rights to a script... and I don't have those in my work.

WriterDuet is probably best free or low-cost option I have tested. It is very interesting. Blows away Celtx. The Pro version with off-line editing is cheaper than Final Draft or Screenwriter.

The Pro edition is a standalone, offline versio…