POT Wrapup & Summary

Week 1 –Introduction

I did a fine job of introducing myself for week 1.

Week 2 – Thoughts on other Teaching Blogs

I responded well to the assignment of browsing others blogs and even listed ones I especially enjoyed.

Week 3 –Week 3 POT update & More Thoughts on Week 3

There was significantly more information to respond to on week three. It took me two separate posts.

Week 4 – Synopsis of Week 4

I had addressed many of the week 4 questions in my week 3 posts, but I did add a few more ideas for a week 4 post.

Week 5 – Thoughts on Week 5

After week 4 I began using some visual images within my posts. I like how they give a bit more interest to the text. I also included some different heading sizes for the fonts in my posts.

Week 6 – Prezi with Audio

I do enjoy Prezi, but I did not post much else this week other than a Prezi with sound.

Week 7 – Thoughts on Pilar’s Video & Collaborative post

I really enjoyed Pilar’s video on community. My post also includes a lack of community I am experiencing at one of the campuses where I work. My second post for this week is the collaborative assignment similar to one I might post in a rock history class.

Week 8 – Week 8

This week provides me with many tools to investigate further during break. I, however, am not a big fan of Google +

Week 9 – Week 9

The Ko and Rossen readings on syllabi is interesting and I have already incorporated many of their ideas. I really enjoyed the Second Life event, but may hold off on using this right now for a class.

Week 10 – Week 10

This is the first term I have used a course blog and I include some thoughts on it in this post. I also created a mini web site in Google sites, but I actually prefer Wix and will have to play with it further.

Week 11 – Week 11

Week 12 – Well, here I am. Thrilled to have completed 12 weeks already, and with a HUGE basket of toys, tools and fun applications to explore over the holiday break. Thanks to everyone; Lisa, Jim, Ted, Vanessa (my mentor), Clare and anyone else who has helped me as I have stumbled through the first half of this course. I may get frustrated at times, but fortunately my Scottish determination (stubborn, pig-headed-ness) prevails.


Week 13 – Week 13

I experimented with embedding a annotated Flicker image, but due to barriers in WordPress I was not able to use  mbedder with the blog. I did post my image and included the annotations in my blog post.

Week 14 – Week 14 part I, Week 14 part II

I split week 14 up into two posts. The first post I added audio narration to one of my class lectures using Audacity and Camtasia. I feel much more comfortable with these technologies now and I am not as freaked out about hearing my own voice in recordings.

The second have of week 14 I embedded an Audioboo message and an Eyejot video. I have used both of these in my course already and will continue to use them in future semesters.

Week 15 – Week 15

I found the mind mapping experiment very time consuming, and at this point I still don’t see a use for it in my present courses. I do want to continue to use it for my own planning and brain storming over the summer. There is a free app for iPhones that allows you to create simple mind maps. It is helpful when I am out and about and get some inspiration. Often I just take a voice memo at these times of inspiration, but one cannot just begin talking into their phone at every opportunity, so the app is handy.

Week 16 – Week 16

I chose a traditional type and picture post for week 16 on the topic of who are our online students. I really enjoyed this week and the readings and video helped me see differences in my own perspective on the online experience. There were many helpful tips for both student sanity and instructor sanity. In addition, learning how to create a well organized FAQ section for my course was extremely valuable. I will continue to add questions to my FAQ throughout the upcoming semesters.

Week 17 – Week 17

I chose to create another Prezi for week 17 and this time I added audio using Audacity again. The tips on organization were wonderful, and this is a week I often look back on because of the solid reminders here on keeping my sanity.

Week 18 – Week 18

I created a short Voki video and a narrated picture-only slide show for this week’s investigation of LMS/CMS’s. I am on the Moodle bandwagon, but some campuses require the use of Blackboard. I also found Kelly Trainor’s video on hybrid courses very helpful. The previous week’s information on building a central course format in blackboard can come in very helpful with campuses that require blackboard for the LMS/CMS. I had some questions regarding instructor ownership within the perimeters of a LMS/CMS.

Week 19 – Week 19

I chose a traditional typed post for this week. This week was a reflection and investigation of hybrids and/or blended courses. My biggest concern is managing large class sizes within a blended environment. I have since read and viewed some additional material with some great suggestions for designing an effective hybrid course. This is a work in progress for sure, but I feel more prepared for the challenge now.

Week 20 & 21 combined – Week 20 & 21

I also chose a traditional typed post for weeks 20 and 21. These weeks seemed like variations on a similar theme. After watching the video on the history of Ed. Tech I now realize how little I really know about this vast and rapidly changing world. It is at this point that I realized that the baby steps I took in the beginning of the course were still needed. The info on PLE’s was interesting and I am inspired to organize my PLE over the summer. The concept of instructor as curator was right up my alley as I could also relate it to the role of symphonic conductor. I also proposed my project in this post.

Week 23 – Week 23

My project for week 23 is a Prezi. I am more comfortable with this fun presentation tool and and I am rather proud of my final project for this POT course. I included some image of myself and my family since the over-arching lesson I have learned in this course has been about how I view all aspects of higher education and my role as a facilitator/sharer/instructor. Of course the tools and great advice for online teaching got in there as well, but without my self reflection I would only have a big bag of tools. It has been a wonderful experience for me.

Here we are already at week 24. All I have left to complete is the survey, which I promise Lisa, will be the very next thing I finish. It will be feel strange to not check on the Pedagogy First page daily. I hope all these great resources remain here for us to reference in the days to come. Thanks for a great course!!

Week 22 sharings :-)

Dean Shareski’s video:

Is it really possible that “share” is part of his name? How perfect!

[Image Source]

My most favorite part of kindergarten was show-and-tell time. No wonder I became a teacher. My mother and a dear friend I have known since kindergarten used to tell the story that each time I would get up for my turn to share something in kindergarten I would fiddle with my little girl dress and ultimately end up flashing my underwear to the entire class. Hopefully this is not too much information about me. I have no memory of this element of my sharing. All I remember was how much I loved this activity and I couldn’t wait until it was my time again to share. I still feel this way. I cannot wait until I get to share my new insights and findings with my classes each week. After viewing Dean Shareski’s video I am now filled with ideas on ways to have the students participate in some sort of show-and-tell project pertaining to where we are in the class.

My show and tell photo is my musical family. Pictured are: Harold Proppe Jr. on organ, Paul Proppe on guitar, Hal Proppe III on kazoo, & Jean Proppe on spoons, ca. 1967 – Photo taken by Roberta Proppe


It honestly was not until I began this course last fall that I started to actively create my own personal learning network. The first for me was subscribing to RSS feeds through Google Reader, to which I am now addicted. Next was joining Diigo, which was one of our earliest tasks as part of the POT course. I hope to organize my finds better so I can incorporate them as part of my courses. I already have a channel on Youtube that I use almost every week for my courses, so I may begin by using this as part of a resource for students to use in my courses.

I receive inspiration and ideas at strange times during my weekly routine like during a bike ride, during a walk to the lake, in the shower, preparing dinner, chatting with friends over dinner out. I view my PLN as an extension of these types of brain storming/inspirational experiences, so I imagine my frequent voice memos on my phone are part of my PLN. Now if only I can remember where on the phone they are saved! *scratches head* After I find them, my PLN resources on Diigo, Youtube and my RSS feeds can provide me with material to bring these ideas to life.

Chap. 14 in Ko and Rossen:

Great wrap-up chapter in Ko and Rossen!! I especially appreciate the “case” study of a new online instructor. I am also relatively new and have experienced waking up in a cold sweat as I realize some key element for my course I have forgotten to either include or activate. Most times students are forgiving and understand that we are all creating this new learning world together. Phew!

I cannot agree more strongly on the importance of participating in classes, seminars and programs like the POT program for continuing my education in this rapidly changing web world. As you all will see in my final project Prezi, I have learned quite a lot through this valuable course. I am excited to participate in other similar programs for teachers in the future.  This quote struck me as very real and not overly egg-headed at all: “At conferences you can find gurus galore delivering keynote speeches with smug aplomb, peering into the future with laser-like eyes. We think it is wiser to remind ourselves that even Bill Gates, in 1993, didn’t regard the Internet as a serious pretender to his desktop throne” (Ko and Rossen) None of us really knows what unique and exciting tools will be available to us in the future. That is what is so exciting about this type of teaching, it is always changing, evolving and forcing us to be better “sharers” (teachers).

[Image Source]

Ko, S. S., and S. Rossen. Teaching online, a practical guide. Taylor & Francis, 2010.

Combined Weeks 20 and 21

After the readings for both weeks 20 and 21 I decided to post on them together since they seem like extensions of the same theme.

Week 20 & 21

The various readings and video helped me form the following conclusions:

  • As an effective online instructor I am part of a synergistic and holistic team. I do not have to be all things to all people. The assistance of an effective Instructional designer is invaluable.
  • I know absolutely nothing about Canadian educational technologist and felt a bit left out of Dr. Schwier’s presentation on the history of ed. tech. Is it really necessary that I be able to name drop and identify faces in the field? This seems tantamount to mindless memorization brought up in Sanger’s article for week 21. Out of context this was a bit misguided.
  • Lanier’s article reminded me of the fearful use of algorithms in determining instructor worthiness that the state has chosen to use to evaluate all courses. The arts do not fit nicely in a business model algorithm and the perception has become that they are not necessary courses in the new statistical based higher education model for the state and the nation.
  • The definitions of Instructional Design and Educational Technology on Wikipedia also reminded me of how the use of “facts” on the web has changed. It was not too long ago that many instructors scoffed at the use of Wikipedia as a credible source for research. I in fact, did not allow it as a source for research papers. Now it is a bench mark for quick “fact” checking. I still feel caution is in order though, especially with topics on popular culture where urban myths and conspiracy theories abound.
  • I loved Lisa and Jim’s video (although the sound was a bit rough and I would have love to have been able to see all of the slides). Lisa’s use of constructivism in her discussion forums is a wonderful tool that I may even “borrow” for my history of rock courses.
  • I also adore the various PLE’s I have learned about through this course. I literally have every hard paper copy of every paper I have ever written in my discipline in a file drawer at my home. Where will all my cyber writing be saved?
  • I completely relate to Siemens’ article and concepts of curatorial teaching. I prefer to think of the teacher much like a conductor of a symphony orchestra. A symphony conductor is often thought as a tyrannical dictator who barks orders to the instrumental underlings of the orchestra. This assumption is based on the 19th and early 20th century image of the demanding, albeit talented, golden age of the maestro. However, an effective conductor does not dictate, but guides the orchestra in the desires that the original composer intended for his or her music. She does not sit with each violinist and instruct them on each and every note of their part. She informs through imagery, example and even history on how to achieve the desired sound. Multiple approaches are needed to achieve a cohesive end product. For instance, she does not instruct a wind player on phrasing the same way she will instruct a percussionist or pianist. They generate sound in a completely different manner, therefore a different method of instruction is necessary. In most orchestras a savvy maestro relies on the expertise of the “first chair” members of each section to provide the learning for their particular section, much like the constructivist learning method. Additionally, the winds, brass, percussion and strings have to collaborate together or there is sonic cacophony. A truly affective maestro uses connectivist learning constantly. Without it the symphony would be a jumble of sounds all racing ahead to be hear. Chaos!

Since I have discovered and enjoyed using Prezi in this course I plan on creating a Prezi for my final project. I would like to gain more confidence using this format before I incorporate it into my online course. I would love other ideas if anyone has anything to suggest.

Week 19 – Hybrids, Blended et al

Week 19’s entry the old fashioned way

I love the idea of completely open courses, but the problems of exam integrity still sways me to keep my exams and quizzes on a password protected CMS where hopefully only registered students can take them. I have heard horror stories of universities with large lecture hybrid courses having to check student I.D. cards upon entering to take face to face exams. That sounds horrible!

My experiences with online courses and open source course material

I teach fully online but it is through a CMS and is not open. I also keep an open blog for my face to face courses where I post the class Powerpoint slides, song lists and interesting links. Anyone can see my blog. BTW, it is from the information and philosophies I have learned from this cohort that I decided to create the class blog and post the class information there. I used to be one of the instructors who thought doing so would give students a reason to skip class, but I haven’t noticed much of a difference in attendance either way. Those students who want to skip class will do so regardless of the Powerpoint slides. I do like how this has allowed for more in-class discussion, song analysis and video viewing than in previous terms.


The text reading was very general. I would like some case studies or specific examples of hybrid or blended successes.

My concerns

I am concerned about the various hybrid definitions from campus to campus. I was approached by a dept. chair very recently about converting my face to face course to a hybrid course. I said it was an option and that I was capable and supportive of this type of change. One thing that was said was, “Once courses are offered as hybrid they can all be large lecture”. This concerns me. Large lecture is not ideal for hybrid courses, nor fully online courses. It seems that online/hybrid is an enticing way to pack more students for the buck for some campuses. How does this best serve the students?

With regards to using campus CMS’s as a repository for files and nothing else, I do this as well for my face to face courses. I have been told that if I put too much in the CMS or require students to use it that my course would have to be listed as a hybrid course in the official catalog offering and class schedule. This seems like a slippery slope and a bit of a catch 22. If I try to integrate more online activity I may get in trouble, but if I do not, I am not really using the resources at hand the best way I can. P.S. I am not a full time teacher so I am also concerned about keeping my job(s) and have to straddle the fence between best practices and job security.

As much as a seminar environment would be great for online group work as mentioned in the text, group work seems out of the question with 75+ students. I am often teaching freshmen who need lots of hand holding and instruction and it is not feasible with 75+ of them all potentially confused. I would like some ideas please??

The readings this week opened up more concerns for me than answered questions. I am now a convert to open courses on the web, but I find the balance between philosophy and college politics daunting.