Here we are at the end of Week 3. For a while I was getting frustrated because I guess I was expecting this course to be a bit more didactic, more directly how-to. This is partly because of my difficulty with the alien language of social science; but also of course because we are all in a kind of practical panic – what am I actually going to DO in September??? But as I have relaxed into the course style, what I have found very useful is picking up a list ideas and tools to play with and test-drive. Experiences so far:
- Padlets. At first I didn’t like these much – too vague and unstructured. But gradually I have warmed to them, precisely because they are quite a low-key way for students to participate – feels less formal and structured. I think this could be a useful way to find out what’s troubling students, that we need to pick up in the next lecture / workshop
- Learn Discussion Boards. I have tried this in the past. My experience in the past is that MOOC students (on Coursera) love the Forums; but regular Edinburgh u/g students aren’t interest at all. But I am thinking that they might find padlets looser and more fun.
- Pebblepad. I don’t see our students getting into this at all. Too heavy duty, vaguely moralising, too much of a straitjacket.
- Blogs. Well I have been doing my own blogs for years, mostly as an outreach tool. But the question is, can they be a useful part of teaching a course? For example as a nice chatty way to build a friendly teacher presence? Or to encourage students to start them? I think the learning curve is a bit steep to expect the students to do this – but its good to be able to point out to the students that they have this opportunity. It doesn’t make sense to make student blogs for a specific course I think; they should maybe be career-long things.
- Thinglink. Looks fun but I don’t think it will work for my Phys/Astro courses.
- Yotribe. Not on the list for this course so far, but I am really interested in this. Discovered as part of a research project (LSST). Basically you set up a room which a large number of people can join, but then you move your avatar round a 2D space and join smaller conversations a few people at a time. Really fun and very easy.