Friday, February 26, 2010


This is the official badge one gets for completing the BAW workshop. After the amount of work I put into these past few weeks, I feel proud of myself for having completed the course. But "completed" may be the wrong word--there is just so much technology out there, that I continue to think that I barely scratched the surface of what's available. I'll clearly have to go back for more; I hope to see others there in the future. Finally, here's a cartoon-video that one of the participants from Russia produced about getting involved with BAW10:


That's always a word that catches the eye! One of the other participants in BAW10 sent this link to free educational resources. It looks like there are many interesting possibilities here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I'm excited that an all-staff announcement went out today about a series of workshops entitled Teaching in Social Networks--Online Workshop; it will be facilitated by George Siemens who is currently on staff at AU. The main goal is to get us using the AU Social Networking site called Athabasca Landing. It's an update of the me2u site that I am currently using for reflective blogging in my one course. This is the type of workshop I have been wanting the university to set up for some time. The faculty in the Centre for Distance Education have been doing all sorts of neat things--they teach in a largely synchronous environment--and I want them to show more clearly what those of us toiling in the UG program with asynschronous delivery can achieve.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


 An interesting tool I explored for speaking/listening exercises/quizzes is lingt. It allows the instructor to develop questions very easily--in fact it seemed too easy. After students submit their answers, the instructor  can go back in to the site and not only mark the exercise but provide oral feedback, too. I made a short sample exercise to explore the technology. It's one of the tools that I certainly intend to look at more closely; it seems to be a lot easier than many of the competitors out there. If you do the exercise, I will receive an e-mail allowing me to see how you did;-)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Voxopop is another system to allow for recordings. I found it quite easy to use, and I can see using it in situation similar to other types of podcasting. I made a recording as part of the Week 4 tasks--it's all about how I appreciate the help and support offered through the BAW group. There are certainly other applications possible with this technology--if you access the site you can see that people are using it to put opinions out there and solicit voice responses from others.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Somewhere along the way, I forgot about the various systems for meeting with students online--it's been a very busy workshop, and I'll have to get to some of the resources after the course has finished. Two of the more common ways to meet with students online are skype and yahoo messenger. Both of these can be configured to work with groups--I did participate in some group discussions and chats using both of these systems. I have also used them both to talk individually with students around the world.

Something I was not as familiar with was a virtual classroom. The one I explored as part of this course was Tapped In: I have actually set up an office on this site, but I haven't done anything else so far; however, from what I understand, one can set it up in the same way one sets up a physical office--resources, meet with students--and also set up a classroom. The last time I went to the site (it's free), someone offered to help me with the technology and set up a classroom, but at the time, I was more interested in just exploring the site and trying to visualize the potential. I did have a quick tour of the site--tours are offered. Check the notice board in the reception room for details!


I think many of us have probably used podcasts in our teaching, but we generally use podcasts that others have developed. For instance, I'm particularly fond of some of the CBC podcasts. However, we can develop our own podcasts; ten years ago we used to use tape recorders for a variety of listening exercises. I don't know about you, but my tape deck no longer works;-) In this day and age, podcasting is the way to go. Three years ago I made a podcast as part of the Blogging4Beginners course I took through evo, and I embedded it in the sidebar of one of my class blogs as a way to introduce myself to students:
Currently, I'm planning to deliver the listening materials associated with one of my courses through podcasting and replace the CDs that currently go out to students. I'm just waiting for the last publisher to give me permission ...
I used podomatic last time around, but there are a number of recommended podcasting systems:


I've never paid as much attention to wikis as I have to blogs. In part that's because I'm always looking for a way to actually use the technology in my own teaching. Because of the totally asynchronous nature of AU courses, I've had difficulty seeing the applicability. I've also noticed that when it comes to using wikis, most of us prefer to write comments than actually change or add to something someone else has written.

Nevertheless, as part of the Becoming a Webhead course, I decided I had to develop a wiki. I gave it a title as though I were going to use it with one of my classes. I put two exercises there and linked to the wiki tutorial that comes with pbwiki. One of the exercises is designed to try to show students the way to actually use a wiki--they are required to add information.

There are also some other recommended wiki hosting sites:
It would be good to hear from someone who has more experience of developing wikis.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I'm having a hard time keeping up with the schedule for this workshop; luckily I already have some familiarity with the topics this week--blogs, wikis, and podcasts. I did develop my own experimental wiki with pbwiki, but I haven't looked at podcasting since I made one three years ago and embedded it in one of my blogs.
This particular blog is hosted by blogger (the one I'm most familiar with), but there are a number of other popular hosting sites:
You may like to try these blogging services
However, I have found myself exploring a variety of other blogs this week; we have a visiting scholar from China, and she is interested in developing a blog of her adventures in Canada. it's a blog she wants to share with the people she's meeting in Canada and with family, friends and colleagues back in China. As she's an EFL specialist, I'm her unofficial mentor. We tried Blogger, but we soon realized that was blocked in China. Then we tried WordPress (a new venture for me); that was also blocked. We finally found a platform that is based in China: I couldn't help much with that, but with a few instructions, I was able to leave a comment. I have permission to share the actual blog. If you want toleave a comment, the green button is "publish", the word verification is straight forward, and the box above the post is for your name (not a title as I originally thought).

One of the really good things about the evo courses is that even if you don't have the time to do everything during the timeframe of the course, the resources are always there for exploration at a later date--we all tend to think we'll have more time at some hypothetical date in the future!