Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Module 4: The Three Cs - Communication, Collaboration, Content

Tools for Communication -
  • Chat - Several different email suites, such as Gmail, have a chat and group chat feature
  • Email - Sending emails to individuals or groups of people is a great way to communicate and preserve a copy of the communication. These days it seems that every school district or educational institution has their own email suite. Free email accounts can be created through services such as Gmail or Yahoo. It costs a small fee but Gaggle is a great service for K12 students.
  • Edmodo - Social networking becomes academic networking.  Students and teacher can access Edmodo for free and privately.  Edmodo is a microblogging platform to communicate online.  Through Edmodo students and teachers can also share and store files.  Students can post directly to the class account or the teacher page, but not to each other. It is very easy for teachers to monitor student activity as well.
  • GroupTweet - GroupTweet enables Twitter users to communicate and collaborate privately.
  • ooVoo - With ooVoo, users can access 2-way video chat and 6-way text chat for no charge.  The site has the ability to record and send short video messages.
  • Skype - Another free video chat services enables up to 5 people to chat with video and up to 25 people to chat with audio. 
Tools for Content -
  • Vyew - A free collaboration platform that can be used for webinars, online conferences, real-time learning and instruction.   All activity can be tracked and logged. a great tool to use to deliver content.
  • EditGrid -  A free web-based application that works similar to Microsoft Excel. Some of the features of EditGrid include sharing, collaborating and publishing capabilities.
  • Keep and Share - Keep and Share is a free group file sharing system that allows for content to be shared and stored.  The accounts are password-controlled and secure. 
  • Stixy - Stixy is a free platform that works like an online bulletin board or whiteboard.  The workplace is perfect to share content and collaborate with other people.
  • Twiddla - Twiddla is a free platform that is ideal for online meetings and co-browsing. Groups can mark-up and comment on webpages, images, and other content.
Tools for Collaboration -
  • Wikis - Wikis are free collaborative platforms that allow for members to add, modify and delete content generally using a rich-text editor.  A personal favorite is Wikispaces
  • Writeboard - With this free collaborative writing software, groups can write, edit, track change and roll back to previous versions.
  • Mikogo - Mikogo is a free desktop sharing software that is ideal for online meetings, web conferences, presentations, remote support and collaborative efforts.
  • Wridea - Groups can collaborate and share ideas with this brainstorming tool that organizes and categorizes ideas on different pages, has unlimited storage and allows users to comment on topics and ideas.
  • ReviewBasics - ReviewBasics was a free online service that allows groups to collaborate and edit different types of content.  Users are able to share, annotate, and markup images, videos, and documents. The service is no longer offered for free, but for a small fee it can be accessed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Module 3: Assessing Collaboration

Collaboration is an essential skill for today’s society.  We do not live in a world that is full of individual geniuses; we live in a world that is dependent upon the collective minds of many (Laurette, 2008).  Collaborative learning through distance education is a way to prepare students for jobs where they will be required to collaborate in a variety of ways.  Randy Nelson speaks about what schools need to do to prepare students for the new models in the work place. One of the questions that arises is how should students be assessed for their work and participation in a collaborative learning community?  The answer is through a variety of methods. 
Dr. Siemens states assessment should be fair and direct based on stated outcomes (Laurette, 2008).  One effective way to do this is through the use of rubrics. Rubrics clearly define expectations set by the teacher and shared with the student.  Students who have a clear understanding of what is expected of them are able to perform better with a higher level of self confidence (Palloff and Pratt, 2005). Online tools that can be used to create rubrics are Rubistar and Teach-nology.
Self and peer assessments are examples of other effective ways of assessing students (Laurette, 2008).    This gives students an opportunity to reflect on their own contributions as well as the contributions of others in their group.  Evaluating and reflecting on one's collaborative activity and doing a self assessment is an essential part of online learning (Palloff and Pratt, 2005).  Dr. Parsons and the University of Dundee worked with the Blackboard Learning System to create a software program that allows for self and peer assessments.  This software program is now an embedded feature of Blackboard.

At times a group may run into problems with an individual who does not carry his or her weight.  Instructors have the opportunity to be proactive by setting the stage early on, clearly outlining expectations and modeling behavior.  Instructors should also frequently monitor participation and send an e-mail or make a quick phone call if there is a concern.  Often times a simple e-mail will help diffuse a small problem before it becomes a more complicated mess.  Providing students with conflict management and conflict resolution tips is another way that instructors can help students (Palloff and Pratt, 2005).  The University of California has a Conflict Management Skills site that has resources including a free downloadable book on Mediation and Conflict Management Book. 


Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Assessment of Collaborative Learning. Baltimore: Author.
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Module 3: Learning to Storyboard

In order to create a video presentation for class on Motivating Students Through Online Games, my instructor wants a storyboard to be created and presented for feedback. I have never attempted to make a storyboard before, but am open to any and all feedback. I will be updating this post when I add on more or make changes. Thank you in advance for taking the time to view my storyboard and *extra* thanks to anyone who comments!