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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Wheel of Orgo

I am currently teaching an organic chemistry class CHEM 243, which involve a lot of synthesis (coming up with steps to convert one compound into another). When I taught this course a few years ago it was usually in a small room and I was able to interact with students around a table fairly easily. This term the course is in an auditorium and students tend to sit as far away as possible, which makes interaction very difficult.

Yesterday I tried a game that I invented a few years ago to teach synthesis interactively. Instead of a chalkboard students used the tablet PC I use to record my lectures. I was concerned that doing this in an auditorium would be difficult but most of the students came down to the first row and participated.

Here is the link to today's session of Wheel of Orgo.

I would like to hear from other educators who use game formats to teach.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Drexel RSS Club first meeting

We had our first RSS club meeting yesterday. A few students and one faculty (Kevin Owens from chemistry) attended. One of the issues brought up was finding a place to start and the confusion with seeing XML when an RSS feed link is opened. So I demonstrated how to use Bloglines to copy and paste the URL to subscribe. The nice thing about RSS is that it doesn't require that much learning before it snowballs.

We also talked about podcasting and kicked around a few ideas for setting up some more blogs in CoAS. It was nice to see that there was one experienced user in the group to share her experiences with the neophytes.

The "negative image" of blogs came up. Apparently some people have been burned by bloggers who created fictitious account of their lives and now don't want to have anything to do with blogs. I think the way to squash that meme is to keep putting out useful and authentic material. Having Laura Blankenship on Wednesday talk about Blogging in Science is another step in that direction.

Our next RSS club meeting will be on Friday April 22 at noon. RSVP bradlejc@drexel.edu if you wish to attend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Low Threshold Applications

Andy Wheeler brought Low Threshod Applicatons to my attention. It is a site that collects simple and cheap or free applications of technology in education. The latest post is about using digitized recordings to comment on student writing. This is something that we have been kicking around lately with our English faculty with online courses.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Introduction to RSS for teachers

Here is Will Richardson's RSS Quick Start Guide for Educators.

It explains in simple terms what is RSS, why it is useful and a few examples of how it can be applied in the classroom. Specific recommendations and links are included to get you started right away.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Moodle vs Blackboard

I have had a few discussions with our faculty about Moodle, the open source course management system. Here is a comprehensive and quantitative comparison between Moodle and Blackboard.

Kathy Munoz and Joan Van Duzer separated a class into two groups of students and then measured several parameters related to student performance and satisfaction. This is a great starting point for anyone considering experimenting with Moodle.

Thanks to Trey Martindale for citing the link.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Duke ipod ideas

For those of you who are thinking about podcasting and other ipod uses in education, here is the Spring Program for the Duke ipod project.

Although there is some mention of podcasting, many of these uses are based on students making recordings. Of interest to our English faculty, the course on banned books makes use of student peer review using audio comments. It will be interesting to follow developments there.

Our own podcasting initiative this term is proceeding well so far:
BIO201 Human Physiology (Jane Huggins)
CHEM241 Organic Chemistry I (Jean-Claude Bradley)
CHEM243 Organic Chemistry III (Jean-Claude Bradley)
CHEM789 Experimental Design and Statistical Chemistry (Kevin Owens)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Drexel CoAS E-Learning Lecture: Blogging Science

Drexel CoAS E-Learning Lecture:
Blogging Science: How Science is Spun in the Blogosphere

April 20th at 11:00
Location: 2019-2020 Macalister

This talk will focus on looking at the differences between the way scientists, the media, and political bloggers write about scientific topics. It will show how scientists both serve to correct mistakes and fill in blanks and foster debate while at the same time, sometimes slipping into the same rhetorical mistakes that some of the political bloggers make. Issues of credibility and how the blogosphere functions as a venue for getting research ideas out into the mainstream will be discussed.

Laura Blankenship is the senior Instructional Technologist at Bryn Mawr College, responsible for coordinating all support services for technology and teaching. She has a Master's in English Literature and has taught college writing and literature courses for 8 years. She will be teaching a course at Bryn Mawr in the fall called "Web of Influence" which will focus on the political and sociological effects of blogging.

Please RSVP to bradlejc@drexel.edu

open source in education

There is currently a trend in education and research for open source content. But navigating these waters can be tricky. For example, I was pleased to come across the Directory of Open Access Journals but I was surprised to see the Journal of Educational Technology and Society listed. Having published there previously, I didn't think it was fully open source.

The DOAJ defines "open access" as "the right of users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles as mandatory for a journal to be included in the directory. The journal should offer open access to their content without delay." However, JETS's copyright policy does not allow distribution of content, which is a problem for instructors who wish to incorporate outside content in their open course materials.

The appearance of the Yahoo Creative Commons Search is very encouraging for making it much easier to find re-usable open content.

OurMedia may prove to be an important source for open content as it grows. The site offers free file hosting, enabling an easy mechanism to share content and allow others to use it.

Seminar on surveys and quizzes tomorrow

Passing along an announcement from IRT:

This month's WebCT Brown Bag Lunch session will be held this Wednesday,
April 6, in Korman-116 from noon-1 p.m.
We will be talking about using WebCT to administer Surveys and Quizzes in
your courses. Also, we will talk about using Respondus software to create
your questions easily and then publish them right into WebCT.
Space is limited so reserve a spot by emailing us at webct@drexel.edu.
Please plan to join us, bring along your lunch; IRT will provide the sodas
and a dessert.

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