This blog addresses the instructional and personal uses of Blogging. I’ll provide a list of resources and tutorial videos as well as web sites where software can be downloaded, along with directions on how to harness these web resources. The goal of this presentation is to provide all pertinent information that online faculty and support staff need to get started on Blogging for instructional and personal uses.
INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO FOR BLOGGING – PART I OF 3 PARTS
Blogging for Instructional and Personal Purposes
Blogs can also be used to keep online journals, document activities and projects, post articles, photographs, travel adventures, stories and research for you or your staff and/or students to view and possibly respond to based on the parameters you set for the course and the blog. If you teach with Moodle it has a built in Blog feature.
“A blog (short for weblog) is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs are defined by their format: a series of entries posted to a single page in reverse-chronological order. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or reflect the purpose of the Web site that hosts the blog.
Topics sometimes include brief philosophical musings, commentary on Internet and other social, political and/or cultural issues, and links to other sites the author favors, especially those that support a point being made on a post.
The author of a blog is often referred to as a blogger. Many blogs syndicate their content to subscribers using RSS, a popular content distribution tool.” Essentially this means when people subscribe to your blog every time you make a new post it goes out via e-mail to all your subscribers. As of now I have 557 subscribers to my Blog.
Benefits of Blogging – Best Practices
How can it enhance my teaching or online presence?
Blogging is a great tool for getting students and/or yourself to write. It’s easy to create great posts with WordPress.com or Blogger, uploading photos is easy, as is incorporating services like Flickr or Photobucket into your blog. You can also embed videos from YouTube, TeacherTube or Google and when you’re writing blogs continually save your post.
Teachers and students can incorporate blogging into the teaching/ learning process. Blogs can be used by students as an online journal that enables them to document and even illustrate things they have learned during a given activity or lesson. Teachers can put their assignments online specifying the activities that their students are required to do and links to Internet resources to help them accomplish the goals of the assignment.
Blogging allows students to independently contribute to a class web page with minimal training. Therefore the instructor can delegate and distribute much of the workload of creating a class web page to the students. The tasks of appending student work to the blog file, and publishing it to a host server, are distributed among the individual students.
In other words, once the blog is initiated and team members are enrolled, the class web page “manages itself.” The instructor’s workload for updating the class web page with the blog method is dramatically lower than with the traditional method. In summary, the blog method of posting student work online is easier to initiate, train, maintain and revise than the traditional method of creating and maintaining an actual web site.
Instructional Design Process – Implementation
1. Decide just how you want to incorporate Blogs into your online or hybrid class or for your personal/professional use.
Don’t incorporate blogging into your course if it is NOT going to contribute to student learning and/or reinforce the course content that your students are studying.
2. When you are ready to begin Blogging if at all possible demonstrate the steps to create a blog at WordPress.com for example or have them watch the screencast video linked at the bottom of this resource.
3. Once students have created their blogs and posted a welcome message and possibly a picture and short biography about themselves it is advisable to write down all their Blog URL’s and post (link) them to your Blackboard or Moodle. The External Links section of Blackboard is an excellent place to post these Blog links.
4. Once all your student have a blog for their course start off by giving them a small assignment. This assignment should relate and reinforce what they are learning such as a writing, research or journal exercise.
5. For blogging to be a viable component to your classes it is important for you the instructor to post comments (suggestions / feedback) to all your student blogs so they feel like you are reading (assessing) what they are posting.
The following are some examples of my student ePortfolio Blogs and Student Spotlights
Hands-On Time – Blog the Workshop
Let’s create a Blog.
Go to www.wordpress.com – Click sign-up now
Once you have created your blog go ahead and post your welcome and I will demonstrate how to upload a picture and other media.
“A popular Web video sharing site that lets anyone store short videos for private or public viewing. Founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, it was acquired by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion. YouTube provides a venue for sharing videos among friends and family as well as a showcase for new and experienced videographers. Featuring videos it considers entertaining, YouTube has become a destination for ambitious videographers, as well as amateurs who fancy making a statement of some kind.
Videos are streamed to users on the YouTube site (www.youtube.com) or via blogs and other Web sites. YouTube provides specific code for playing each video that can be embedded on a Web page of a third-party site.”
You Tube is an amazing video content resource for instructors from all disciplines. Like the internet, there is a lot of mediocre or just plane bad content out there, however there is also a wealth of excellent instructional video that you can embed into your online classes. As online instructors we also must act as editors (facilitators) and search for the very BEST video content on the web then incorporate it into our teaching strategies. Adding video content also enables us to tap into other learning styles (visual & audio) in our online classes. The main issue over and above finding and embedding viable instructional video content in YouTube or Teacher Tube is to assess that students are both using it and learning from it. Video clips are a great way to kick off a discussion in the discussion forum or to reinforce the key points from a weeks lesson. For thousands of teachers, YouTube.com is more than a modern day video store — it’s a chance to redefine traditional education by engaging students in a format more tailored to the Modern Age.
Instructional Design Process – Implementation
1. Decide where you want to embed You Tube videos into your online course and how you want to use it and possibly assess that students are learning something from it.
2. Go to www.YouTube and search for the subject matter that relates to your course content. For example I teach Art Appreciation and each week I search for a video (video’s) that reinforces and illustrates the chapter from my text such as Prehistoric Art, Egyptian Art, Greek Art, etc.
3. It’s important to preview these clips to make sure you find the very best (highest quality) videos that relates to and reinforces your course content.
4. Once you have identified the video you want to place in your course you will notice the embedding code on the right of the You Tube video and copy that code. Then go to your Blackboard (or Moodle) and paste it into either your discussion board post, announcement, assignment and/or course documents. You MUST make sure the HTML toggle is activated on the text editor <> before you click paste into and submit.
5. Once you do this you will see the YouTube video box embedded directly into your discussion board post or where ever you decided to place it. I sometimes embed it in both the discussion board and announcement page to make sure all the students see and view it.
Other Instructional Video Resources
Show some examples of how instructional videos are embedded directly into both Blackboard and Moodle.
Linking video’s vs. embedding (Demonstration)
Click Here for Screencast on HOW TO embed video directly into Blackboard.
Step-by Step on HOW TO create your own YouTube account where you can create your own videos and enhanced podcasts and upload them into YouTube. I do this for almost all my classes. This can be for quick video announcements or more sophisticated productions.
There are many benefits to being an Itunes U college, however the process and set-up can take from 6 months to a year depending on your IT staff. Having a college specific Itunes U site enables each department and course to have their own folder on Itunes that can store podcasts and enhanced podcasts that students can download to their MP3 players.
Itunes has a built in RSS feed so whenever the instructor uploads a new podcast or video podcast it downloads directly to all the students who have subscribed to that instructor’s Itunes U folder.
You can either produce your own instructional media and upload it into Itunes U for your students or if you are NOT an Itunes U college there is a vast amount of viable instructional content that you can download and incorporate (embed) into your course blackboards.
I will demonstrate both ways of doing this and then workshop participants can search for appropriate podcasts in Itunes and save as MP3’s and embed into their classes.
Instructional Design Process – Implementation
1. Decide just how you want to incorporate Itunes U into your online class. Don’t incorporate podcasts and enhanced podcasts into your course if this type of rich media is NOT going to contribute to student learning and/or reinforce the course content that your students are studying.
2. Make sure you have Itunes loaded on your computer and then go to Itunes and click Itunes Store – then Itunes U. Once you have located Itunes U you are ready to search for the podcast or enhanced podcast / video that you want to embed into your Blackboard or Moodle Class. There are thousands of FREE lectures and various educational resources in Itunes – you just have to find the ones that best relate and compliment the material you are teaching your students.
3. Once you find that excellent podcast you will notice a button that says free – get. Click the button that says get and the podcast will download to your computer.
4. Once it has completely downloaded to the Itunes on your computer take your either drag it to your desktop OR right click and copy it to your desktop. You will see and MP3 or MP4 file on your desktop. This is the podcast that you will upload to your Blackboard or Moodle class.
5. Now go to your Blackboard and open the text editor where you want the students to access (listen to or watch) this podcast. Click on the 3rd icon bottom left of the text editor (see below) and upload that MP3 or MP4 if it is a video or enhanced podcast with pictures. This may take a minute depending on how large the file is.
6. You can set the width and height of the viewing box if it is an enhanced podcast ( stay with the defaults) if it is an audio files. You can also click autostart and loop if you want the podcast to start as soon as the students open the folder or item.