There’s nothing wrong with being predictable. For example, whenever I take one of Dr. Yuen’s courses, I can predict a few things:
1) I’ll learn some new technologies that I’ll end up using extensively outside of class
2) I’ll learn more about theories and methods of technology in education
3) I’ll be invited to fill out an online questionnaire
4) I’ll be incredibly impressed by how well the class is put together and run
IT860 has been no exception to this pattern (well, #3 remains to be seen). I’ve gained at least passing proficiency with ScreenCastle, Splashup, VoiceThread, and Scribd, which I believe I will use in the future, and Mixxt and Diigo, which I’m using to good effect right now. Our textbook has been a good one (not surprising, considering that Dr. Yuen co-edited it), and despite the fact that I have been by far the most critical of some of the chapter authors, I’m glad that we are using it.
As soon as I found out what social network site (Mixxt) that Dr. Yuen had found for us to use in IT860, I immediately created a Mixxt site for the Gulfport section of my IT201 class. It helped to keep everyone on the same page, and to give them easy access to assignments and updates, since they live so far from me. It would be going too far to say that the class was a “hybrid,” and we certainly didn’t use the Mixxt site to the extent that Dr. Yuen has, but I truly believe it was a real help to both the students and me.
Another thing I particularly like about this class is the way that the assignments are meant to cover multiple topics. For example, our ScreenToaster assignment involved screen capture tools, social video uploading (YouTube), and the requirement that we select and master an additional Web 2.0 tool (since we have to know it well enough to create a tutorial on it). Our Second Life assignment involves giving a mini-conference presentation on a topic related to Instructional Technology. I chose Augmented Reality, which is also the subject of my term paper (and is something I find quite interesting).
It’s been interesting to work with my classmates, though I do have to admit that I don’t feel as connected to them as I have in other online classes. I think this may be because our discussion forums served, in fact if not in intention, as a place to post our assignments and our chapter summaries. There was not really much discussion or interplay between the students in that respect. I think that forum discussion topics that are more aimed at stimulating discussion (things that people might disagree on, and discuss intellectually, rather than chapter summaries, which are largely going to be similar and uncontroversial) would have helped stir this interaction more.
Again, all in all, I’d rate this class very highly . . . but that’s no surprise.