It’s Was a Very Nice Party

Has it been 3 months already?  (Well, two months (I’m pretty sure November doesn’t count ;)).  Let’s take inventory . . . .

Bright Beginnings:

There I was, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!  So involved, so not overwhelmed by the rest of my responsibilities! 😀  Overall, I would characterize the first 5 weeks as successful and involved.  I was reading everyone else’s posts, commenting and doing extra work.

Week 1 and an Extra Post on 1st Teaching Experiences:  Straightforward–I think I introduced myself fairly well.  In fact, my initial post was better than my usual because I used images.  One thing I have yet to really fold into my post writing process is the integration of links and images.

Week 2 and Google Bundles Tutorial: I had a lot of fun with this post.  I don’t know that I’m right, but I’ve always had a tendency to go to the extreme and work back towards the middle, finding my actual comfort zone.  This winter I’m putting my money where my mouth is and doing a truly distributed course.  Wish me luck.  Overall, I thought this was a post that really engaged with the main topics of the course, was directed, and had a clear focus.

Week 3: Here I attempted to look at the work I’ve done in the past, where I want to be, and what I need to do to get there.  I think this and the Week 2 post were two of my best.

Week 4: I decided to do my post using the technology introduced for the week: Prezi.  I really like Prezi.  Immediately after this, I used it to present to a group of Chairs and the Dean of my college and I thought it produced a very clean presentation.  However, I also think I failed to use it in this post in a way to help me organize my thoughts.  Using it to produce a presentation, while figuring out the way Prezi works meant my presentation was underdeveloped and under thought.  Still, the experience was a good one.  For the presentation above, I sketched out my Prezi ahead of time and refined it as I built it on screen.  That process, moving from paper to digital did, I think, help me clarify my ideas.

Week 5: An exploration of my own feelings about syllabus design.  I especially appreciated the idea of an interactive syllabus.  I had never thought about it in this particular way–embedding the course so fully in the syllabus itself and making the syllabus the main access point.

In the Wilderness:

Then– suddenly!–I had lots of other work to do.  So, I started being more selective.

Week 6:  I’m saving this for next semester as I plan on experimenting with this over the winter.  Check back later for more details!

Week 7 and Thoughts on Commenting: And again I turned my thoughts to distributed whatsnames.  This was an attempt to talk about the pluses and minuses of different combinations of centralized control and distributed activities in response to the reading and Pilar’s presentation.  Unfortunately, the overall image of the hub was a bit muddied.  I’m not entirely convinced that it doesn’t work, but it needs some definite refinement.

Perhaps the biggest loss I had in not being around for Weeks 7 and 8, however, was not taking part in the commenting across blogs.  This is precisely the kind of thing I think is important!  My goal next semester is to stay continually involved with discusses on other student’s blogs.

Week 8: I admit I got excited reading about a loose grade book.  And I find myself at my best when I’m solving a practical problem (or talking about really abstract, non-concrete issues–it’s the Jekyll and Hyde in me) and this gave me a perfect chance to think about how to make this work.  I admit that I really enjoyed putting together this post and I think it was good practice for applying the lessons of the course to this point: put technology to work for you!

Week 9:  Poor, poor Second Life.  Will I ever give you a fair chance?  Well . . . yes.  I’m actually very fond of the idea of using Second Life to teach.  My only real concern is actually backed up by personal experience: technical specifications.  I can barely run Second Life on my computer.  It wasn’t always this way.  Back in the heady days of college during Second Life’s birth I could run it just fine, but the specifications are far too high now.  Which means large numbers of my students wouldn’t be able to use it!  However, I’m going to see if I can find a workaround over the next few months and then take a look around!

Scrambling Back:

Finally, it was time to deal with my absence, bring myself up to date and catch up.  That was . . . yesterday and this morning.

Week 10: This needs to be developed further, but it’s definitely an interesting topic.  What difference does the means and format of discussion have on the discussion that takes place?  Definitely a theme to develop next semester.

Week 11/Week 12: And . . . copyright.  Since I just wrote this last night, I don’t have much more to say.  These weeks were useful in beginning to understand just how murky the waters of copyright are in some places, but also in figuring out what is pretty cut and dried in terms of individual copyright.  Very useful.


What was my engagement with the material like?

I prefer to find some central idea and focus in on that, so I certainly didn’t react to every piece of information assigned (or found).  However, I think overall most of my posts remained on target and demonstrated some engagement with the material.  Where I fell down (aside from the assignments that I need to complete later) was when I went into a post without my central idea full formulated.  For instance, Week 7, where I tried to develop some image of the classroom as a hub, was just not thought out enough.

More importantly, however, how does looking over my work from this semester impact my goals for next semester?

Goals for Next Semester:

  1. Participate more strongly in the community (comment more; learn to use Facebook effectively)
  2. Write more consistently focused posts
  3. Set aside specific time for the course

And I’m done . . . I look forward to catching up on 200 posts! 😉

Comments 2

  1. avatar Lisa M Lane wrote:

    It has been great working with you this semester, Brandon! And I have the same “yes, it’s wonderful, but what about….” reaction to SL.

    Very much looking forward to anything else you have to share. 🙂

    Posted 06 Dec 2011 at 1:37 am
  2. avatar Brandon wrote:

    @Ditto Lisa. Despite my lack of posting during November I really enjoyed the material coming in from everyone.

    Posted 07 Dec 2011 at 1:07 pm

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